News

05/27/2015
The USPS Office of the Inspector General has opened the debate on if and how the USPS could or should expand its time-honored practice of offering banking and finacial services to Postal customers. From simple money orders to pre-paid gift cards, the total for 2014 was $21 billion. If the Postal Regulatory Commission allowed more services to be offered according to the OIG, over $1 billion in revenue could be generated after a 5 year ramp-up period. In this time where the USPS is under pressure to attain solvency, this seems like an appealling approach. Especially to people who might...
05/21/2015
In her keynote address at the National Postal Forum in Anaheim, Postmaster General Megan Brennan spoke of the physical/digital mail convergence the USPS is promoting. She described Real Mail Notification, a program currently in regional trials that allows people to check for incoming postal mail on their digital devices. She exhorted the direct mail industry to take advantage of existing technologies like augmented reality and QR codes to provide seamless transitions from physical pieces to digital ecosystems. There are even USPS promotions designed to reward these practices, including the...
05/18/2015
Jessica Rich, the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Affairs of the Federal Trade Commission, has communicated her office's position on the potential transfer of consumer data stemming from Radio Shack bankruptcy procedures. At stake is the potential security and use of shopper data extending back many decades for over 117 million consumers. In her letter Director Rich described the risks to consumers with regard to personally identifiable information as well as its sharing and use. The FTC is indicating that the Privacy Policies Radio Shack issued should act as guidance, and has cited...
05/15/2015
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and already a proponent of postal reform, held the second in a series of bipartisan briefings designed to understand the issues facing the USPS in the face of increasing electronic communication. Participants included the USPS Office of the Inspector General, the GAO, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the U.S. Postal Service, and representatives of industry affected by changes to the mailing landscape, which also encompasses direct mailers, brought on by digital technology. "The...
05/11/2015
The Business Database with Trade Activity, and the New Business Trigger Hotline - Businesses With Trade Activity, both from Dun & Bradstreet, are new-to-the-market prospecting tools for reaching new and small U.S. businesses. Each D&B database tracks the creation of trade lines - B2B lines of credit - as companies extend credit terms to young, small businesses, one of several telling triggers of business health and activity. Businesses with active trade lines tend to be better credit risks. The hotline takes the pulse of trade line change month to month. These files allow B2B direct...
05/11/2015
The Postal Regulatory Commission last week approved the United States Postal Service's request for rate hikes on Standard Mail, Periodicals and packages of almost 2%. This comes after two rounds of remands by the PRC seeking evidence of compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements before meeting such requests. Spokespersons for the Direct Marketing Association, the American Catalog Mailers Association and software manufacturers that serve direct mail list users have made their concerns known about the financial impact of the increases overall as well as specific concerns regarding...
05/05/2015
The oldest living person currently using an iPad is 107. She is on Facebook and likely uses email. She is at the leading edge of an inexorable demographic movement - the aging of populations, particularly in developed nations like the U.S. and Japan. According to a joint press release, Japan Post, whose CEO is nearly 80, is leading a partnership with Apple and IBM to make iPads with IBM MobileFirst-developed apps and analytics available to millions of Japanese senior citizens. The goal is to connect them with services, healthcare, community and their families. While they represent an enormous...
05/02/2015
The FCC conducted a comprehensive workshop to clarify its position going forward on what is known as Customer Proprietary Network Information, or CPNI. The FCC has rulemaking power over issues of individual’s privacy, especially as it pertains to the monitoring, collection and use of personal data over digital networks. Direct mail marketers, particularly telemarketers, must take note of what will surely become a prominent FCC role in this arena. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler began the workshop by making one point perfectly clear, stating, “Privacy is unassailable.” What followed was a detailed...
04/20/2015
The months-long process whereby the United States Postal Service has tried to gain approval for a number of price increases has reached the next plateau. In response to the Postal Regulatory Commission's second request for adjustment to previous pricing plans, The USPS has submitted its latest proposal. If implemented on May 31 as requested, increases of almost 2% will occur for Standard Mail, periodicals and package services. Direct mailers of standard mail items and periodicals as well as direct mail packages could not help but be affected by these increases. As with the most recent remand...
04/09/2015
Direct marketers need to embrace Facebook and SMS marketing if they want to reach the growing and powerful teen audience. This economically ascending portion of the millenial generation is the subject of a newly released study by Pew Research. Teen girls live on social media. Teen boys play video games. That's an oversimplification, but is a sample of the findings in the study on social media and app use among American teens. Not surprisingly 92% of those surveyed go online every day. Facebook is way out front for all teens, though internal variances occur by demographic. Email is not as...

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