Key Notes – Volume 04 Number 32

USPS Reports Fiscal Year 2017 Third Quarter Results – The U.S. Postal Service reported revenue of $16.7 billion for the third quarter of fiscal year 2017 (April 1, 2017 – June 30, 2017).  Revenue for the quarter was essentially unchanged compared to the same quarter last year, excluding the effect of a $1.1 billion non-cash change in accounting estimate recognized during the third quarter of fiscal year 2016. In the third quarter, letter mail volumes declined by approximately 1.4 billion pieces, or approximately 4%.  Year-to-date, despite growth in package volume, overall volume has declined by more than 3 billion pieces.  Source:  Globe Newswire

Postal Service Bets on Higher Prices to Fix Woes – After a 10-year review, the Postal Regulatory Commission appears likely to move to grant the Postal Service power to increase stamp costs beyond the rate of inflation, marking the biggest change in its pricing system in nearly a half-century.  A decision is expected next month.  The plan has received praise from financial analysts but raised the ire of the mail-order industry, which could pay millions more for sending items like prescription drugs and magazines and be forced to pass the costs onto consumers.  Postmaster General Megan Brennan hasn’t made final commitments, citing in part financial uncertainties.  Source:  Associated Press

Interactive Technologies in Direct Mail Campaigns Drive ROI – By incorporating technologies, such as augmented reality, NFC, QR codes, virtual reality, personalized video and more, mailers and marketers can save money on direct mail campaigns. However, Victoria Stephen, director of mailing services, new products, and innovation at the U.S Postal Service, believes mail can do things that other channels of communication can’t.  It’s important for marketers to understand how print fits into their omnichannel marketing strategies.  To learn more and to hear all of Stephen’s presentation, as well as a lively Q&A that addresses next year’s Mailing Promotions program, click here.  Source:  Printing Impressions

Catalogs are Back in Style – More than ever before, catalogs and brochures are driving sales to both digital channels and brick-and-mortar stores, especially when they are beautifully designed and personalized to each recipient.  Personalization, such as a cover page with targeted messaging or special offers, can generate revenues on a per-catalog basis three times greater that a static catalog.  The form that the printed piece takes can be as important as the content.  69 percent of consumers prefer to consult a printed catalog before making a purchase online, and 77 percent visited a retail store due to products or promotions in a catalog, according to another Xerox and InfoTrends study.  Make sure you have the right tools to meet the technical demands for highly creative personalization.  Source:  What They Think

What Every Non-Profit Ought to Know about Direct Mail Fundraising – The biggest indicator that someone will give to your non-profit through the mail is if they have done so in the past.  That’s why house file mailings are almost always profitable.  Your direct mail donor file is as good as gold for your non-profit.  In order to keep it that way, you have to treat it with respect.  This means that, except in rare occasions, you shouldn’t over-solicit your list by sending a letter every other week.  It also means that you shouldn’t  only send asks to your list… you need to send some cultivation mailings, like newsletters, updates, thank you letters and holiday postcards to your list to keep it fresh and let your donors know that you see them as more than just their wallet.  Source:  The Fundraising Authority

So, what’s the Big Whoop about Millennials? – Millennials are the largest generation in America, accounting for 80 million consumers, 11.6 million households with kids, and are expected to spend $200 billion dollars this year.  And by 2020, Millennials’ spending power will hit $1.4 trillion a year and that will account for 30% of U.S. retail sales, according to Accenture.  Millennials have now overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest living generation and with immigration adding more numbers to this group than any other, the millennial population is projected to peak in 2036 at 81.1 million.  By 2050 there will be a projected 79.2 million Millennials, according to the Pew Research Center.  Source:  Chief Marketer

[Bonus:  U.S. Postal Service White PaperSee what research is telling the USPS about how direct mail can help companies market to Millennials.]