Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing December 2009 Newsletter:
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Why The Post Office Is Freezing Postal Rates, And
What It Means For 2010.
From The Dead Tree Edition Website.
Postmaster General Potter has vowed to keep
postal rates intact next year. Here's what it means:
Postmaster General Jack Potter tried to restore mailers'
confidence in the U.S. Postal Service by recently announcing a price
freeze for most postal rates in 2010.
"The Postal Service will not increase prices for market dominant products
in calendar year 2010," Potter said in a statement sent to various
customer groups late this afternoon. He was responding to "pessimistic
speculation" that rates might increase as much as 10%.
"There will be no exigent price increase for these products," which
include First Class, Standard, and Periodicals, he said.
"While increasing prices might have generated revenue for the Postal
Service in the short term, the long-term effect could drive additional
mail out of the system. We want mailers to continue to invest in mail to
grow their business, communicate with valued customers, and maintain a
strong presence in the marketplace."
The recent release of the Consumer Price Index virtually confirmed what
had become increasingly clear in recent months -- that USPS will not be
able to impose the usual inflation-based rate increases next year.
Consumer prices have declined so much since 2008 that they will end the
year in negative territory unless the Fourth Quarter annualized inflation
rate exceeds 9%.
Mailers feared USPS would try to close its budget gap -- probably $3
billion for the fiscal year just ended, or $7 billion if you count
Congress' "forgiveness" of a bogus retirement-health payment -- by seeking
exigent (emergency) rate increases.
Potter's statement did not clarify whether he was referring to all
market-dominant rates or to the average rates for each class. Postal
officials have subsequently put out the word that "no increase means no
increase," meaning that no rates in the market-dominant classes will
But Potter's statement made clear that he understands the two dangers of
an exigent rate increase:
1) In the short run, higher rates would suppress mail volume, but, as
explained last week in Potter Doesn't Want to Hike Postage Rates in 2010,
savings from such volume reduction would be minimal. The combination of
lost business and slim cost savings could wipe out any gains from the
higher prices per mail piece.
2) An exigent rate increase would signal to mailers that the Postal
Service is unreliable and that they can no longer count on rate increases
being capped by inflation. One exigent rate increase would lead to
expectations of more in the future. That would accelerate mailers' efforts
to replace mail with cheaper electronic substitutes -- for example,
customer incentives for on-line bill payment.
So how does Potter intend to close the budget gap? He's been making
numerous speeches and giving interviews touting elimination of Saturday
delivery, which would save up to $3 billion annually, as one option. That
would result in elimination of about 40,000 career employees positions,
which could be done "through attrition because we have a lot of folks
right now who are eligible to retire and who we could incent to retire,”
Postal officials are looking into new revenue streams,
and Potter's statement mentioned that they want "to grow the mail through
innovative incentives like the Summer Sale and contract pricing."
And, inevitably, the issue of the retiree-benefits shell game will be on
the table. Officially, it's called a pre-payment of retiree health
benefits, but in actuality Congress is forcing USPS to overfund a benefits
account by more than $5 billion annually in a way that makes the federal
deficit look smaller. Without those payments from the supposedly
independent and off-budget Postal Service, USPS would have been profitable
until fiscal year 2009.
Congress may end up facing a choice between ending that accounting game
and allowing the Postal Service to eliminate Saturday delivery. Or the
Postal Service could do an end run around Congress and end Saturday
delivery on its own.
Twitter's Users Fell 7.9%.
By Brian Womack, Bloomberg.com.
"I am pro-meaningful communication. And
somewhere along the Internet highway, we fell under the spell that more
communication is better communication. Sometimes more communication is
just noise." Mark Mckinnon, blogger.
The number of Americans using Twitter dropped 7.9 percent in October from
September, marking the second monthly decline for the social-networking
site this year, according to research firm ComScore Inc.
Twitter Inc., the No. 3 social-networking site in the U.S., had 19.2
million users in October, Reston, Virginia-based ComScore said today. The
company had growth of less than 1 percent in September and declined in
August. October’s number was still up more than 13-fold from the
The month-to-month decline contrasted with a 2 percent increase for users
of Facebook Inc., the most popular social- network. Facebook had 97.4
million U.S. users last month, more than double the amount a year earlier,
ComScore said. News Corp.’s MySpace, which ranks second among U.S.
social-networking users, fell 2.5 percent from the previous month.
While Twitter’s growth among Web users is slowing, it’s attracting more
mobile-phone users and overseas customers, Evan Williams, the company’s
chief executive officer, said last month. Users of Twitter, which lets
people post 140-character messages, include everyone from Oprah Winfrey to
former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
Jenna Sampson, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Twitter, didn’t
immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Your B2B Direct Mail Response Rates With Premiums.
By: Alan Sharpe.
Premiums are an effective way to increase your
direct mail response rates.
Whether you are selling a product or service directly
through the mail, or whether you are using a sales letter to generate
leads, premiums can help you boost response, increase conversions and
motivate buyers to pay now rather than later.
A premium is simply an item that you offer to your buyer to take action.
As Dick Benson has said, “a premium is a bribe to say yes now.”
Premiums are effective because, dollar for dollar, they are better
incentives than cash discounts. Given the choice between receiving a free
Apple iPod or a $200 discount on their order, most buyers will opt for the
Here are some tips on using premiums effectively.
Aim for desirability over relevance:
The key to choosing the right premium for your audience is desirability.
If the premium is related in some way with what you are selling, that is
great, but whether your prospect desires your premium is more important
than if the premium is associated with your offering.
For example, a firm that manufactures heavy-duty fasteners could offer
prospective customers an oversize bolt in the form of a paperweight, or
they could offer a $200 gift certificate to Best Buy (the home electronics
store). The paperweight is relevant but undesirable. The gift certificate
is desirable but not relevant to the firm’s business.
The best premium, of course, is closely related to your offering, is
desirable, and makes your prospect look like a wise buyer.
Choose premiums with high perceived value:
You want your premium to look as though it costs more than it does. A
leather attaché case, for example, that has a high perceived value but
only costs you $30. Or a portable DVD player that appears worth $150 but
costs you only $40.
Test your premiums: What works
for one business buyer will not work for another. What works in one
industry will not work in another. One inexpensive way to test high-end,
expensive premiums is to offer them as “back-end premiums” that your
prospects must request. Segment your list into equal-sized groups, mail a
different premium offer to each segment, and then count your responses to
see which premium draws the best response.
Promote your offer, not your premium:
Your premium is the bribe for saying yes now. It is not your offer. And
because you should only sell one thing in a direct mail package, you
should sell your offer and give your premium away. You want your premium
to be the incentive to act, not the reason to act (after all, some people
respond to direct mail offers just to get the premium, then they cancel
Check the law: Some industries (defense,
for example), forbid their employees from accepting gifts or premiums from
vendors. So check before mailing.
Talon has great seats for you to win.
are giving away two pairs of tickets to see the New York Jets and The New York
win, be the first or second telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or email). Voice
Mail messages count so it's fine to leave a voice mail.
Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11. Winners will only receive one pair of tickets. The first
caller gets their choice of these games.
jets tickets are 15 rows from the field. The Islander tickets are
center ice and offer the best view in the arena!
Monday December 14th, The Islanders vs. The Panthers 7:00 PM.
Sunday December 20th,
Jets vs. The Falcons. Time: TBD.
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Talon Mailing & Marketing Newsletter please
Why The Post Office Is Freezing Postal Rates, And What It Means For 2010.
Twitter's Users Fell 7.9%.
Improve Your B2B Direct Mail Response Rates With Premiums.
Jets & Islanders Ticket Giveaway!
Mike Borkan's Links - Websites you probably
View Samples of our work.
Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing
roster of customers:
Mike's Favorite Links:
Some interesting links...
OperationHomeFront.com - A
great website that supports our troops and helps the families they leave
Freerice.com -A website where users
play various educational, multiple-choice games in order to raise money to
fight world hunger. I'm told the games are very educational and a learning
tool for children.
Radiotime.com - Find streaming talk
radio and streaming music radio. The best guide to every type of radio:
conservative, progressive, public, news and sports.
Editorial reviews of the worst of television ads and other forms of
advertisement. Humor and advertising industry related.
Myveryworstdate.com - The
name says it all. Very entertaining site.
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