Key Notes – Volume 04 Number 22

Budget Proposal Calls for Big Cuts to Reform Postal Service – The White House’s 2018 budget proposal contains a number of suggested reforms to restore financial solvency to the financially ailing Postal Service.  The Postal Service has been reporting substantial losses for 10 years in a row with its most recent quarterly results showing a net loss of “only” $562 million, a significant improvement over the previous year in which it lost $2 billion.  The cuts include:  Authority to reduce mail delivery frequency where there is a business case for doing so; allow the Postal Service to begin shifting to centralized and curbside delivery where appropriate; enhance Postal Service governance to ensure sound financial management and requiring the future rate structure for the Postal Service to provide enough flexibility to ensure both the stability of Postal operations and the ability of the Postal Service to meet its statutory obligations for retiree health and pension costs.  The estimated cost savings of these reforms are $47 billion over 10 years.  Source:  Fed Smith

Amazon Patents Shipping Label with Built-In Parachute – It’s a bird, it’s a plane … oh wait, it’s my package of diapers.  Amazon customers could someday be repeating this phrase as the online retail giant this morning received a patent for a shipping label with a built in parachute to help packages make a soft landing when dropped out of the air by drone or other airborne craft.  According to the newly issued patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the parachute label could look and act just like any other shipping label, but underneath is a system of cords, a parachute, a breakaway cover and possibly a harness to keep everything in place. The package could also be loaded with sensors to make sure the package hits its landing zone and a shock absorber in case the cargo is coming in a little too hot.  Source:  Geek Wire

Is Direct Mail Dead as an Advertising Method? – Direct mail has been an advertising standby for more than 50 years, evolving as newer methods of design, printing, and mailing have developed.  There have been numerous technological breakthroughs for the strategy, including integration with digital features like personalized URLs and real-time analytics platforms, and companies are still using it to promote themselves; in fact, there’s probably at least one piece of direct mail waiting for you in the mailbox.  But is direct mail “dead” as an advertising method?  Or at least, dying? After all, purely digital advertising methods have taken over, with digital marketing budgets increasing year after year.  Is direct mail still worth considering by comparison?  If you want a positive ROI from your direct mail investment, you’ll need to think carefully about where you buy the printing, who you’re targeting, and how you’re using it in relation to your other marketing strategies.  Source:  Huffpost

Move Update – The USPS is proposing to change the method for measuring compliance for meeting the Move Update requirement to a Census based approach.  Today the USPS measures compliance at an individual mailing level using a MERLIN machine. In the future, the USPS will use scans from Mail Processing Equipment to determine addresses for First-Class and USPS Marketing Mail, letters and flats, have been updated within 95 days of the mailing date, and compliance will be measured across a calendar month.  This new process will result in several benefits including enhanced mailing visibility and improved mail quality metrics over all mailings within a calendar month, rather than sampling at an individual mailing level.  Results of this census verification are displayed on the Electronic Verification tab of the Mailer Scorecard.  Source:  USPS Industry Alerts

Mailing Organizations Call for Balanced Approach to Postal Rates – Three mailer organizations representing all segments of the mailing community and all classes of mail urged the Postal Regulatory Commission to retain the inflation-capped pricing structure that has protected captive users of the Postal Service’s monopoly services for the past decade.  The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers (ANM), MPA — the Association of Magazine Media (MPA), and The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) together submitted comprehensive comments showing how the current pricing regime has simultaneously given the Postal Service adequate revenues while protecting mailers who have no alternative to USPS for delivery of their valued mail to the nation’s homes and mailboxes.  Source:  PostCom