Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing October 2011 Newsletter.
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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
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
'Em While They Last: 'Daily Deal' Sites Dying Fast
by Shayndi Raice, Wall Street
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 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
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
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
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
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.
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
We are giving away two tickets to see the New York Giants.
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.
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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
Mike Borkan's Links - Web sites you probably
View Samples of Our Work
Direct Mail Humor!
Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing
roster of customers:
Mike's Favorite Links:
Some interesting links...
Mediabistro.com - News for the
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.
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Click on the links below to see samples.
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