Key Notes – Volume 04 Number 29

Direct Mail Enhances an Integrated Strategy – Direct mail still has value even in a changing marketing landscape.  In a series of focus groups and online surveys conducted by the USPS Office of the Inspector General, marketers identified direct mail’s particular value as its ability to stand out from the many advertisements people see and hear daily.  Marketing Mail, which is how direct mail is generally sent, is valuable to the U.S. Postal Service’s bottom line as well.  It earned over $17 billion in revenue for the U.S. Postal Service in FY2016, despite declines since 2007.  The OIG recommended the U.S. Postal Service continue highlighting mail’s effectiveness, add to its industry outreach effort, and improve operations to reduce obstacles.  They also encouraged management to implement a strategy to expand partnerships throughout the marketing industry.  Read more at:  https://go.usa.gov/xNzuB  Source:  USPS OIG

Why Can Mailboxes Only Be Used for U.S. Mail? – Because it is against Federal law to put anything in a mailbox, “on which no postage has been paid.”  If a person is caught doing so, they could be fined up to $5,000 and an organization could be fined up to $10,000.  This is called the “Mailbox Restriction Law”, which does not exist in most countries.  In addition, in the U.S., people receiving mail must pay for mailboxes, which have to meet government specifications, or provide slots in their front doors through which postal carriers deliver mail.  The USPS says it wants “to ensure the integrity of our customer’s mailbox,” meaning only postal workers are allowed to place or remove mail from our mailboxes.  Source:  Oxford University Press

Paper Remains the Preferred Technology for Productive Learning – Despite technology’s prominence in the 21st century, when it comes to education and productivity, students and parents still prefer the oldest technology, paper.  In fact, the clear majority of parents (96 percent) feel that paper is essential to learning.  The recently released, Paper and Productive Learning:  The Third Annual Back-to-School Report from the Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB), reveals that 93 percent of college students and 87 percent of 7-12 grade students believe that paper is an essential part of being able to achieve their educational goals.  The Paper and Productive Learning report exclusively shares the results of a survey conducted by IPSOS, which surveyed over 1,400 students and parents in the US.  Source:  Two Sides

Things You Didn’t Know About FedEx – It’s easy to quickly conclude that FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) is just a smaller version of United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) and that the two companies are essentially interchangeable, except for FedEx’s greater emphasis on express deliveries.  However, a closer look at the facts reveals some key differences.  As the name suggests, FedEx is best known for its express deliveries, but in the last decade, it’s made more income from its slower, less expensive ground deliveries than it has from its express segment.  Also, FedEx operates separate air and ground networks.   Source:  Madison.com

The Coloring Book Bubble Has Burst – The adult coloring book craze is dead.  Coloring books with grown-up themes were the hot item of 2016 for both brick-and-mortar bookstores and for retail sales of magazines.  Now many stores have grown wary of the category, as sales plummet and inventory stacks up, according to book-industry sources.  Recently, Barnes & Noble management reportedly told its buyers to put the kibosh on bringing in any more adult coloring books, “with rare exceptions.”  Other retailers are predicting their 2017 book sales will be down versus last year because of the coloring book crash.  Source:  Dead Tree Edition

Amazon Expanding Treasure Truck Distribution – The Amazon Treasure Truck offers specially discounted flash sales on selected items.  Customers get notifications via the Amazon app when the truck is going to be nearby – and then they meet up with the truck and pick up with their purchase.  In a notice posted on its website, Amazon was very coy about the Treasure Truck’s road trip, saying only that the fleet is “crisscrossing the country to some secret destinations.”  Source:  Post & Parcel

USPS Update Post Office Box Program – The Postal Service recently redesigned Post Office Boxes Online (POBOL), usps.com application.  The application allows customers to request payment reminders via email, view the status of their POBOL accounts online, set up automatic payments, and view their online payment histories.  Source:  USPS Link