Key Notes – Volume 03 Number 38

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January 2017 Postage Rate Hike Of 1% – The consensus view among industry watchers is that the USPS will file for a rate increase of around 1% sometime this month or early October, with implementation January 22, 2017.  The USPS is waiting for final Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers upon which it must base its rate request.  Rate hikes must be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, which earlier this year ordered the end of exigent pricing which resulted in a rate cut for mailers.  [Editors Note:  There is an outside possibility that Congress may do a lame duck session in December where passage of a Postal Reform bill could add another 2.15% increase (half of the exigent rollback) on top of the CPI.  We will keep you posted to any updates].  Source:  MAIL: The Journal of Communication Distribution

Where Have All the Collection Boxes Gone? – Mail collection boxes are practically as American as apple pie. They also seem to be disappearing as quickly as mom’s homemade apple pie.  Nationally, the number of collection boxes declined by more than 12,000 in the past 5 years.  As part of its efforts to keep its collection infrastructure proportionate to customers’ needs at a reasonable cost, the Postal Service has eliminated underused collection boxes that on average receive fewer than 25 pieces a day; it has also added collection boxes where they are convenient for customers.  The Office of Inspector General has found in an audit report that the removal and relocating of the boxes were consistently followed in some areas.  Source:  OIG 

USPS Introduces PCC Portal – The Postal Customer Councils (PCC) around the country now have a place to share information.  The new PCC portal site allows collaboration where members can connect, learn and share.  PCC’s public site offers a centralized location for you to access essential industry information. Updated regularly, it includes educational resources, membership information, the PCC locator, issues of the PCC Insider e-newsletter, as well as information about upcoming and past events.
 In the members-only PCC Portal, registered users will be able to collaborate with unprecedented ease.  Complete with discussion forums, file upload capability, and calendar tools, the Portal is an exciting enhancement to the PCC network.  Check it out here.  Source:  Postal Pro

Political Mail Volume Impact – Are you wondering about the possible impact of political and Election mail on other mail?  This question has been asked at the highest levels of operations in the Postal Service.  The USPS has received cooperation from political mailing partners regarding upcoming large volumes, with entry points and destination ZIP Codes.  Armed with this information, they will allocate resources to process all mail within the standards of the class paid.  Those resources could include, increased transportation capacity, additional personnel and extra hours.  The USPS stated customers can be assured that their mail will receive the delivery standards for the class that is paid.  Source:  USPS Business Alliances

Online Exhibit Explores Industry’s Use of Mail – The relationship between USPS and the nation’s businesses is being explored through a new online exhibit from the National Postal Museum.  “America’s Mailing Industry” tells the story of how the Postal Service and businesses have worked together for more than 200 years.  The exhibit highlights the ways USPS serves businesses by delivering their products and allowing customers to shop, communicate, conduct transactions, gain information, seek entertainment and build relationships.  Source:  USPS Link

Think Direct Mail Marketing Is Dead? Not For Millennials – Direct mail still resonates with every age group. This is among the findings from a study by InfoTrends and Prinova.  And it doesn’t just work for millennials; the response rates for direct mail remain high for all demographics.  The InfoTrends research found that 63% of Millennials who responded to a direct mail piece within a three month period actually made a purchase.  A study by the USPS reached a similar conclusion about Millennials’ interest in receiving political direct mail.  Direct mail continues to be effective for the marketers sending it and for the consumers who receive it.  The allure of digital channels should not cause marketers and catalogers to forget that direct mail remains critical to the overall media mix and can help drive cross-channel engagement.  Source:  The Financial Brand