Talon Mailing & Marketing

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Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing October 2011 Newsletter.

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President Obama Unveils a Plan to Save the U.S. Postal Service

Overall, the moves would free up $20 billion in cash for the next few years, according to the White House's budget office.

President Obama unveiled a plan to save the U.S. Postal Service and its employees from insolvency -- a plan that includes the possible end of Saturday mail service.

The White House plan, which is part of a larger proposal to cut $3 trillion from deficits over the next decade, would first allow the U.S. Postal Service to use $7 billion from an overfunded pension account to avoid financial collapse.

It would also give the agency more breathing room by postponing a giant $5.5 billion payment due to a health care retiree fund in two weeks, as required by law.

Then it would also allow the U.S. Postal Service to bypass its regulatory commission to give it the option to raise stamp prices 2 cents to 46 cents for a first-class letter. It would also give the post office the green light to slash Saturday mail service.

Congress would need to pass the measures in the White House plan.

The White House also, for the first time, came out strongly against any efforts to allow the postal agency to void union contracts to lay off 120,000 postal workers, as proposed by the Postal Service in its own cost-cutting plans. Instead, the White House would have the Postal Service use some of the $7 billion from its over-funded pension to offer incentives and buyouts for employees near retirement.

"The plan would provide short-term relief for the postal service and take off the handcuffs to do some more of the structural reforms that are needed to get it on a more sustainable course," said a senior administration official in a briefing with the media.

Overall, the moves would free up $20 billion in cash for the next few years, according to the White House's budget office.

And if the Postal Service cuts Saturday service, raises stamp prices and makes payments to its retirement health care fund on an as-needed basis, the proposal would cut federal deficits by $18.6 billion by 2021, according to the White House's budget office.

Tom Carper, a Democratic Senator from Delaware who runs the subcommittee that oversees the post office, praised the president's proposal, saying the White House endorsed some of his own recommendations.

"The President's proposal would help the Postal Service update its business model to reflect Americans' changing communications habits and address some of the financial burdens," Carper said in a statement.

But Republicans pounced on the White House plan, especially the part about using the $7 billion from its extra contributions to the pension program.

"The President's proposal is not what taxpayers or the Postal Service needs," said Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican who runs the House Oversight Committee. "Rather than backing an effort to seek fundamental reform, the accounting gimmicks used in the plan are a thinly veiled attempt to offset continued operating losses with a taxpayer-funded bailout."


Get 'Em While They Last: 'Daily Deal' Sites Dying Fast

by Shayndi Raice, Wall Street Journal

The online business of serving up daily deals has attracted millions of dollars in venture capital and spurred dozens of clones of market leaders Groupon Inc. and LivingSocial Inc. Now the industry is starting to shake out.

Nearly one-third of all daily-deal sites nationwide—or 170 of 530—have shut down or been sold so far this year, according to daily-deal-site aggregator Yipit.com, including sites with names such as Scoop St. and RelishNYC. Even big operations such as Facebook Inc. and Yelp Inc. that could capitalize on their large audiences to build a daily-deals business have recently pulled back on the service.

The daily-deals business has turned into an "arms race," with competitors spending money to attract subscribers and hundreds of employees and making it more difficult for other sites to keep up, said David Ambrose, the 26-year-old co-founder of Salesscoop LLC's Scoop St., which was sold last month to rival BuyWithMe Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

At the heart of the winnowing is the shifting economics of the daily-deals business. Setting up a daily-deals site—in which the site takes a cut of the online coupons it offers consumers—requires just a website, some emails and local merchants willing to offer a discount. But as the industry has started maturing, the costs of running such a business have soared.

In particular, the cost of acquiring subscribers who redeem a daily deal has skyrocketed during the past two years, said executives at daily-deal websites. While snagging early adopters who were curious about daily deals initially required little marketing, it now takes more spending to get to remaining consumers and to cut through the noise created by so many competitors.

For example, Groupon, the daily-deals market leader that filed to go public in June, spent about $7.99 to acquire each subscriber who actually redeemed a daily deal in the first quarter of 2010, according to regulatory filings. By the second quarter of 2011, that figure had nearly tripled to $23.46.

Overall, Groupon spent $378.7 million in marketing initiatives in the first half of 2011, up from $35.5 million in the same period a year earlier, according to regulatory filings. Many smaller websites don't have the war chest to compete.

At the same time, daily-deal sites also increasingly have to hire more salespeople to line up coupon offers from local merchants. Groupon has 990 sales employees in North America, up from 201 a year earlier, according to its regulatory filings. LivingSocial, the No. 2 player in the space, has beefed up its sales force to 700 employees from 191 a year ago, said a company spokesman.

Groupon pays sales associates about $35,000 a year, and those salaries can jump to as high as $100,000 with commissions, according to a person familiar with the matter. Smaller sites that typically hire only a handful of sales employees and pay on a commission-only basis are hard-pressed to compete against those compensation packages, industry executives said.

At Scoop St., Mr. Ambrose said he didn't raise enough money to keep up with the escalating costs of running a daily-deals business. While investors offered as much as $10 million in 2009, he ended up taking a smaller investment of $1.2 million. By the first half of 2010, he had spent close to $200,000 on marketing and found that consumers either weren't purchasing vouchers or didn't turn into repeat customers.  Scoop St. had 50,000 subscribers when it was sold.

Meanwhile, Waleed Khabbaz, 31 years old, started working on RelishNYC LLC in October 2009 by racking up $30,000 in credit-card debt. He launched the RelishNYC site in May 2010 and RelishCharlotte, a deals site in Charlotte, N.C., a few months later.

Mr. Khabbaz put all his money toward developing the sites, leaving no funds to pay for marketing or employees. He said that he split the profit from deals with his four sales associates, so they would earn about $100 per deal.

To lure more merchants to offer daily deals on his sites, Mr. Khabbaz in June 2010 went from asking for a 50% cut of a coupon price to just 20%. Often, he wouldn't take any cut. He also tried offering smaller deals in the $4 and $5 range, but those didn't bring in enough money.

Mr. Khabbaz said that without marketing, it was "impossible" to get new subscribers and he was rarely able to attract more than 20 customers to a deal. He had about 10,000 subscribers when he shut down his sites in April.   "I shouldn't have followed the gold rush," Mr. Khabbaz said.

Even large websites have run into similar issues. Facebook said it would test its own daily-deals service in April. But it kept its internal daily-deals sales staff small before moving ahead with a bigger launch, said a Facebook spokeswoman. The company had 11 partner sites such as Gilt Groupe Inc.'s Gilt City offering deals through the social network. Yet it wasn't enough of an investment and Facebook last month said it was ending its daily-deals business.

A spokeswoman for Facebook said the company determined it would be better served focusing on other core social experiences instead of daily deals.


Five Tips For A Successful Direct Mail Promotion

by: Kaye Z. Marks

Here are five tips that will make your next direct mail promotion a winner.

These tips can aid in making your business grow and become successful. Offering all of your business products and services to people that have already been a past customer is much easier as they know your company and the quality of your products or services. These customers are likely to remember you and your business and trust you for a possible repeat purchase. Therefore, it is important to take care of your old customers. Promote your products to them continually to encourage them to visit you again.

A great way to do that is through direct mail. Simply organize a mailing list of your current and past customers and send them promotional materials. To help you create an effective direct mail promotion, here are the five tips to get you started:

• Request the address or email of your customers. It is normal to ask for an address or email address from customers to use for future marketing promotions.

• Give your customers something that is free. All clients and customers love to receive a freebie.  Never ever do a fraud offer, as this will annoy your customer that can soon lead to a failure of your business.

• Offering additional services.  This process is one of the most common ways used by most businesspersons. If you are to give or offer a service for your customers, like a free website review or informative chat with the use of a phone offering advices and guidance about anything, you can easily build up relationship with them.

• Give your customer exclusive content.  This process is another great way to attract customer registration if you offer them exclusive content, something that they can only read if they sign up and register at your website. More and more customers are willing to patronize this process nowadays, however, always be sure that they will not get disappointed and when they access your content. Make sure that you make them comfortable in joining in your site.

• Give tutorials or advice to your registered customers. Giving away some tutorials about something or giving advice will usually win the trust of your customers and they will be encouraged to purchase from you over and over again. You can also do postcard mailings to give them some heartwarming appreciation from your company.


Win N.Y. Giants Tickets!  

Talon has great seats for you to win.

We are giving away two tickets to see the New York Giants. 

All you have to do to win is be the first telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or send an email). Voice mail messages count so it's fine to leave a message.  Call Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.  These tickets are great seats and close to the field! 

  • Sunday October 9th, 2011.  Giants vs. Seahawks 1:00 PM.

Do you know of anyone else who would be interested in receiving our newsletter?  Please let us know by email:  mb@talon-mailing.com

To learn more about our company, please visit our Web site: www.talon.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.


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In this Issue:

President Obama Unveils a Plan to Save the U.S. Postal Service

Get 'Em While They Last: 'Daily Deal' Sites Dying Fast

Five Tips For a Successful Direct Mail Promotion

Ticket Giveaway!

New Clients

Mike Borkan's Links - Web sites you probably haven't seen

View Samples of Our Work

Newsletter Archives

Direct Mail Humor!


New Clients:





Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster of customers:
  • Quality EDGAR Solutions

  • West Islip Fire Department

  • Louisville Zoo

  • 3 New Lists from Statlistics


Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

Mediabistro.com - News for the Media Industry.

Fundraisingip.com - Fundraising event ideas and fundraiser companies: Find lots of ideas for your next fundraising event, like green fundraisers and unusual fundraising ideas.

Grockit.com - The best Test Prep for GMAT, SAT, ACT, LSAT, GRE, AP and IIM-CAT. Free to Try!

Areyouwatchingthis.com - They watch sports. Every game. Every channel. And alert you when to tune in.

Archivedbook.com - The easiest way to find old posts from your or your friends' Facebook profile.

Thisisphotbomb.com - Hilarious photos from everyday people that just did not work out quite right.


Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.

Newsletter Archives:

Click here if you wish to see past newsletters. 


Click on These Links to Learn More About Talon:

The Tour


Samples


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