Key Notes – Volume 04 Number 37

CPI Released – 2018 Postage – The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the CPI data for August.  Using the Postal Regulatory Commission’s formula for calculating the Postal Service’s pricing authority on an annual basis (i.e., the CPI cap on prices), the applicable cap is 1.987%.  The Postal Service has stated it plans to file for a January 2018 rate increase, based on the August CPI and the resulting cap.  The cap is applied at the class level such as Periodical and USPS Marketing Mail.  Traditionally the price changes for some categories and rate cells will be greater or lesser than the cap.  For example, they can apply the increase at a cell level to try to bring alignment to products that are underwater or to optimize the increase from a revenue perspective.  Source:  Fairrington

Harvey & Irma Aftermath – The US Postal Service (USPS) reported they are still in “recovery mode” after the recent hurricanes.  Although some operations remain affected, USPS said that it is now “open for business where it’s safe to do so for both customers and employees”.  Keep up-to-date with the latest impact to delivery on the USPS Service Alerts page.

Resurgence of more Traditional, Tactile Medium – Just as physical, printed book sales have been rising over the past couple of years, while sales of e-books have gone in the opposite direction, direct mail has started to reassert its authority over email when it comes to successful marketing.  The DMA’s new Email benchmarking report 2017 found that while emails are being opened and read 14.2% of the time, consumers have been more cautious about clicking, the result being a reduction in the aggregate click-through rate from 1.8% in 2015 to 1.6% in 2016.  This is not good news for any marketers still putting all or most of their eggs into email’s basket, particularly when comparing these figures to some of the latest DM statistics.  Research by IPA TouchPoints found that 90% of consumers open at least some of their physical mail immediately, while a recent study by Royal Mail MarketReach says 87% of people have been influenced to buy online as a direct result of receiving mail.  Source:  PrintWeek

Billions Served – People visited post offices some 2.7 billion times in the fiscal year 2016, according to a new U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) white paper.  Up to this point, the Postal Service’s official statistic for customer visits has only included the number of transactions, which made up about a third of foot traffic last year.  A more complete foot traffic estimate could help the Postal Service better manage its retail network for the benefit of the American people.  Source:  USPS OIG

BEWARE:  Pot Ads in Mail are Illegal – Under Federal law businesses are technically prohibited from sending commercial flyers or buying newspaper advertising with pot related ads in any publication delivered by mail.  Under the current regulatory regime, anyone sending ads through the mail is liable to prosecution.  The Postal Service is required to report them to the Department of Justice.  In December 2015, the USPS announced a sweeping ban on marijuana advertising in all 50 states, declaring any publication containing ads for pot to be “non-mailable” everywhere in the country.  Congress is working with the USPS and DOJ for clarification as to whether offending publications will actually be prosecuted.  Source:  MediaPost

Main Reasons Direct Mail Campaigns Fail – Joan Plantadosi from Titan List provides three key reasons why some direct mail campaigns fail.  First, low quality mailing list.  NEVER be stingy when you buy a mailing list. The old saying is true; you do get what you pay for.  Secondly, no targeting.  For best results, only send mailers to your target audience.  Remove any irrelevant contacts and unqualified leads from your mailing list.  Lastly, bad copy.  Never overlook the importance of your copywriting. Your campaign won’t generate sales if the copy is poorly written. Your mailer’s copy should be concise and easy to read.  Source:  Titan List

PRINT 17 a Success – PRINT 17’s return to Chicago was a resounding success as 20,000 people from the graphic communications industry gathered at McCormick Place for five days of education, networking and an up-close look at the latest innovations and technologies.  GRAPH EXPO will return to Chicago next year, September 30 – October 3, 2018, and will remain in Chicago through 2020.  Source:  What They Think