Key Notes Vol. 02 No. 04

Direct Mail Study Reveals Key Insights on the Medium’s Subconscious Influence – Britain’s Royal Mail MarketReach conducted an 18-month comprehensive study into the value of marketing mail combining new and traditional research methods including ethnography, neuroscience, quantitative, interviews and analysis. The Private Life of Mail report has unveiled some strong statistics that support the use of physical mail for marketing communications. The report says that while digital media has has changed the advertising world, it has not changed basic human nature: “What digital media hasn’t changed is people. We are still physical creatures that thrive on human contact and stimulation. Giving, receiving and handling tangible objects remain deep and intuitive parts of the human experience. In the never-ending stream of two-way virtual communication, sending a direct sensory experience of your brand can mark a pivotal moment in the customer journey.” Source: Marketing

Catalogs, After Years of Decline, Are Revamped for Changing Times – In this digital age when filling a shopping cart requires little more than clicking on a screen, the printed retail catalog keeps vying for a place on the coffee table. From Anthropologie to American Girl, Pottery Barn to Patagonia, retailers are still relying on direct mail even as they spend considerable resources on improving their websites to accommodate the steady increase in online shopping. Some of their catalog forays, however, barely resemble the traditional merchandise book. These days, retailers are employing devices like adventure tales and photo spreads of wildlife to catch a shopper’s eye, hoping to secure purchases online or in a store. After years of decline, the number of catalogs mailed in the United States increased in 2013, to 11.9 billion, according to the Direct Marketing Association, a trade group. While that figure is about 60 percent of what it was at its peak in 2007, some analysts say the recent 1 percent rise in mailed catalogs, coupled with the care retailers are putting into them, may signal something of a renaissance. About 90 million Americans make purchases from catalogs, according to the Direct Marketing Association; nearly 60 percent of them are women. Consumers who receive catalogs spend an average of $850 annually on catalog purchases, according to the American Catalog Mailers Association. Source: NY Times

USPS Files to Increase Some Shipping Prices – In a notice filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the U.S. Postal Service seeks to keep Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail services at their current prices. It is part of the Postal Service’s ongoing pricing strategy to capitalize on strong package growth. Priority Mail is the Postal Service’s flagship Shipping Services product and is a convenient and fast way to send documents and packages requiring expedited transportation and handling. Also, unlike other shipping companies, the Postal Service is not implementing new dimensional weight charges with this pricing proposal, continuing its commitment to deliver the best value for customers. The PRC will review the prices before they are proposed to become effective on April 26, 2015, to determine if prices are consistent with applicable law. For more information click here. Source: Postal Reporter

AR in the Enterprise: Opportunities and Challenges – Microsoft’s preview of the HoloLens headset put augmented reality (AR) back in the public eye. It’s still months from becoming a real product, has design issues to solve, and could wind up stumbling like Google Glass, but for now, it’s revved up discussions about just how businesses can take advantage of next-gen augmented interfaces. AR’s ability to combine real-world images with the vast amounts of online data in real time promises to change the way work is done across many industries. Fighter pilots, for example, have long used AR in heads-up displays and, more recently, in their helmets. Doctors increasingly use AR as a visual aid during minimally invasive surgical procedures. Many challenges, of course, still stand between the technology itself and mainstream adoption over the next two to three years, but AR clearly holds promise in the enterprise. [Don’t forget the USPS has a 2015 Promotion targeted at AR.]   Source: Gigaom Research

New Postmaster General Started as Letter Carrier – Megan Brennan began her career with the U.S. Postal Service in 1986 as a letter carrier in Lancaster County, PA. On Sunday, she will assume the organization’s top office as its 74th postmaster general, becoming the first woman to hold the job. “I am deeply honored and humbled to take on this role at such an exciting time for the organization,” Brennan said in a statement. “The Postal Service plays a vital role in America’s society and economy and I’m looking forward to strengthening that role and meeting the demands of a rapidly evolving marketplace in the years ahead.” Source: PennLive

The USPS Long Life Vehicle – That boxy little mail truck in your neighborhood actually has a name. It’s called the LLV, which stands for “Long Life Vehicle” and it, along with 142,000 other LLVs, are responsible for moving most of the 523 million pieces of mail every day. But their long life is coming to an end as the USPS is going deeper into debt [OIG report]. With over $40 billion dollars in unsecured liabilities, the USPS is struggling to prioritize the replacement of its aging fleet. Considering the amount of wear and tear these trucks endure, the LLV really is an amazing testament to the durability of American engineering. However, unlike Forever Stamps…THEY’RE NOT BUILT TO DELIVER FOREVER. Click here to see an amazing infographic including thoughts on future battery operated vehicle. Source: Great Business Schools