Key Notes Volume 03 Number 09

Stamp Prices Set To Drop 2 Cents in April, Putting USPS in Sticky Situation – The U.S. Postal Service is in dire financial straits. If the price of stamps goes down as scheduled in April, it could cost the already hemorrhaging post office $2 billion per year, according to a statement released by USPS.  The planned cost reduction from 49 cents to 47 cents marks the expiration of legislation passed in 2014 that raised the price of stamps for two years in order to ease the post office’s financial woes.  The law imposed an “exigent surcharge for mailing products and services,” which raised the price of stamps by three cents to help USPS raise $4.6 billion in revenue. (If the price of stamps does drop in April, the Postal Service will get to keep a one cent increase to account for inflation.)  According to CNN Money, the last time stamp prices fell was 97 years ago in July 1919, when first-class stamp prices dropped from three cents to two cents.  Source:  NPR

Registration for the National Postal Forum Has Been Extended – The National Postal Forum has announced that registration has been extended to Wednesday, March 9, 2016.  This year’s NPF will convene March 20-23, 2016 at the Opryland Hotel & Convention Center.  The NPF is offering 120+ workshops that can be used to fulfill one of the following 4 tracks: Customer Acquisition and Loyalty; Mail Operations; Management and Professional Development; and Shipping and Packaging Solutions.  Registration for the National Postal Forum is available not at NPF.org.

USPS Area Mailing Focus Group Meetings – The Area Focus Groups serve as a vehicle for communications between customers and the Postal Service, advocating issues and supporting the needs of the First-Class, Periodicals and Standard Mail industries.  Keep up-to-date with postal related matter in your USPS Area.  Click here for the latest calendar and location near you.

Wayfair Brings Online and Offline Together With Catalog Launch – Online home furnishings and decor retailer Wayfair.com announced the launch of its catalog this week.  The 92-page catalog offers the customer a chance to browse furnishings while marrying its online and offline presence.  The new catalog will be mailed at a regular frequency throughout the year, however Wayfair disclose what the frequency would be.  It is being distributed to both prospects and existing customers.  “Wayfair is changing the way people shop for their homes,” noted Niraj Shah, CEO, co-founder and co-chairman, Wayfair. “Part of that process is helping consumers discover all of the new possibilities enabled by our online retail experience in terms of selection, price, service and inspiration.”  Source:  Multichannel Merchant

The Untold Story of How Magazine Media is Winning – At the American Magazine Media Conference (AMMC) in New York in early February, Hearst Magazines President David Carey summarized the underlying mood of the conference when he said, “Who would have thought the magazine business was such a springboard to all these other media forms?  We’re seeing that.”  It’s not a “magazine industry” anymore, it’s an industry of powerful brands that all have a print-magazine component. The print magazine is no longer the hub of the wheel, but it remains an important point of engagement with audiences and an ad vehicle that produces resilient revenue.  Source:  FOLIO:

Foolish Prognostications Aside, Print Remains Strong – If the macro trend is toward the decline of print media—especially newspapers, an industry in a state of collapse—we sometimes forget that print is thriving in certain environments and markets. This includes regional-magazine brands, and other categories as well—fashion comes to mind—as well as the affluent business-magazine category mentioned above.  At the American Magazine Media Conference last month, the CEOs of three of the Big Four—Hearst, Condé Nast and Meredith—were so defiantly bullish on the value of print. (CEO Joe Ripp of Time Inc. has been pushing hard in a digital direction in the nearly two years since Time Inc. went public.)  The point is that the macro narrative for print media is quite probably inadequate to the actual situation.  Print is not dead. Print remains strong.  And by saying that, it doesn’t make me some hidebound print native who’s refusing to change with the times.  Source:  FOLIO:

Print Plays an Increasingly Important Role in a Multi-Channel World – Print-based direct marketing is growing which is providing a huge opportunity for digital print. According to InfoTrends’ study Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services: A strategy for growth, marketers are realizing print plays an important role in a multi-channel world.  One finding from this study is that there is resurgence in the use of print catalogs. They continue to be used by marketers to target many different consumer demographics. Moreover, findings clearly show that Millennials in the U.S. and younger generations in Western Europe engage with and enjoy print catalogs.  Source:  PRWeb