Latest Headlines


———  POSTAL & DIRECT MAIL  ———

USPS Finances / Second-Quarter Results

The Postal Service has reported its financial results for fiscal 2018’s second quarter (Jan. 1-March 31).  Total revenue was $17.5 billion, up 1.4 percent compared to the same period one year earlier. Revenue from the organization’s shipping and packages business grew 9.5 percent, while First-Class Mail revenue fell 2.5 percent and Marketing Mail revenue dropped by 0.4 percent.  USPS delivered approximately 1.5 billion packages during the second quarter, up 5 percent from the same period one year earlier. The organization delivered about 14.7 billion First-Class Mail pieces during the second quarter, down 3.4 percent from one year earlier, and 18.6 billion Marketing Mail pieces, down 1 percent from a year ago.  Read more at USPS LINK

Imagining Our Future Postal System

What should the U.S. postal system look like in 2030 to serve the needs of the American public and those who use the system?  That big question kicked off the “Imagine” panel discussion at the recent PostalVision annual event held in the Washington, DC area.  The discussion could not have been more timely – President Trump just before the event had tweeted about the U.S. Postal Service and its relationship with Amazon, and shortly after the event and Imagine session, the President signed an Executive Order establishing a Task Force to review and make recommendations around the postal system. he Task Force has 120 days to conduct its review and provide recommendations to the Administration.  Read more at Postal Vison 2020

Tips for Creating the Most Effective Postcard

On two sides of 4 ¼ x 6 inch postcard, you can share a lot of information.  With targeting being the most important component of any marketing campaign, be sure your creative speaks to that audience.  Use people and lifestyle imagery versus stand alone products to enable a deeper personal connection.  Communicate to consumers like you are a friend and build a meaningful conversation with them.  Create a captivating headline (and subheads), and make sure it is prominent.  Consistent with all marketing, state the benefits versus the features of the product.  And, don’t forget to tell the consumer who you are (logo placement) and what action you want them to take (CTA).  Read more tips at Navistone

Measuring Catalog Success

Times have changed, for sure, but the catalog has endured, often bringing in big numbers for mailers.  Helping the cause are millennials, whom recent studies have shown to be very fond of their niche-aimed catalogs.  To best continue its survival, though, the measurement of catalog success must change.  Return on ad spend (ROAS), a longtime means of determining catalog success or failure, needs to be re-examined, refreshed and, in some cases, removed.  Read more at Total Retail


——— PAPER & PRINTING  ———

Proposed PRINT Act Would Suspend Newsprint Tariffs

A bill created by two senators would temporarily stop the tariffs on newsprint from Canada to allow time to study their effects on U.S. industries, in particular newspapers.  The “Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade Act of 2018,” or the PRINT Act, was created by Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine.  The PRINT Act would suspend new tariffs being imposed on imported uncoated groundwood paper from Canada, which is the primary source of newsprint and other paper used by domestic newspapers, book publishers and commercial printers.  At the same time, the legislation would require the Department of Commerce to review the economic health of the printing and publishing industries.  The PRINT Act is in response to the newspaper and printer industries saying that the new tariffs that are as much as 32 percent would jeopardize their businesses.  Read more at GM Today

PIA Applauds Introduction Of PRINT Act

The printing industry is constantly innovating and reinventing itself to stay competitive in the modern communications marketplace.  Taxing our most essential raw material drags down the industry’s job creation, economic growth, and future viability. The reality is that demand for newsprint and electronic alternatives–not unfair foreign competition–has driven down consumer use of newsprint.  That’s why PIA applauds Senators Collins and King for standing up to say “time out” on behalf of the printing and publishing industry by introducing the PRINT Act.  Read more at Printing Industries of America

Industry Survey Finds Sales And Pricing Power Continuing To Rise

The upturn is continuing for the commercial printing industry, with sales, pricing power, and confidence all rising gradually in the first quarter of 2018, reports Idealliance Chief Economist Andrew Paparozzi in the Spring 2018 issue of the State of the Industry Update newsletter.  Paparozzi noted that nearly half (48.6%) of those responding to the latest Idealliance State of the Industry Survey said they expect first quarter 2018 sales to exceed those of the same period last year, and more than half (58.1%) of those expecting growth gave at least partial credit to improved business conditions, with two-thirds—67.4%—expecting overall business conditions to be better in 2018 than in 2017.  Read more at IDEAlliance


———  DISTRIBUTION  & LOGISTICS  ———

Shaping the Future of Wholesale Delivery

In the past two decades we’ve seen one of the biggest disruptions of all time for both online and brick and mortar stores.  This was brought about by a company that started as nothing more than an online bookstore—Amazon.  It’s even created a marketwide phenomenon – the so-called Amazon Effect.  Now, the Amazon Effect is destabilizing wholesale delivery.  Its ability to significantly reduce warehousing and shipping costs has changed overall shipping paradigms.  Amazon has also dramatically altered customer demands and expectations.  Now, they want to know where their truck is on its route and how long will it take to reach its destination.  Distributors are being forced to think about stop quantities to compete with Amazon’s smaller, more frequent shipments.  Read more at Supply & Demand Chain Executive

U.S. Trucker Shortage Driving Up Cargo Costs

Trucking companies’ increased leverage is applying added pressure to cargo costs as accelerating economic growth bolsters transportation demand and exacerbates driver scarcity.  With first-quarter trucking spot rates up 27 per cent from a year earlier, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, freight expenses are crimping profits at companies from 3M Co. to General Mills Inc.  Relief isn’t in sight. The U.S. has about 280,000 fewer truck drivers than it needs, according to an estimate by FTR Transportation Intelligence.  The dearth of available trucks got worse in April as regulators stepped up enforcement of limits on driver hours.  Such pressures have prompted customers to go the extra mile to make sure they can get drivers when they need them, whether by sprucing up break areas or taking steps to speed truck turnaround.  Read more at The Star

UPS, Union Weighing Addition of Sunday Delivery

UPS is considering the possibility of a two-tier wage structure that would allow lower-paid drivers to make Sunday deliveries, which the U.S. Post Office has been doing primarily for Amazon since November 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal.  The proposal is being discussed in contract negotiations with the Teamsters Union, which represents 280,000 UPS employees including most of its drivers and material handlers.  It has caused contention among squabbling factions within the powerful union, including the removal of leaders who disagree with the proposal, the WSJ reports.  So-called “hybrid drivers” would work part time – including Sundays – and start out at the low end of the union pay scale. Some elements of the Teamsters complain that cuts out full-time driver who could make up to $74 an hour by earning double time.  Read more at Multi Channel Merchant