Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing February 2020 Newsletter.
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2020 U.S. Postal Promotions Will Help Your Bottom Line
By Kurt Ruppel, Adweek.com
Why should marketers care about USPS
discounted promotions? Because direct mail is still effective.
Recent action by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC)
should whet the appetite of marketers that are looking for proven return
on marketing investment for their 2020 omnichannel campaigns. The PRC
has approved mailing promotions and incentives that encourage marketers
to integrate direct mail with mobile technology. The first of six
promotions will go into effect Feb.1, 2020, and marketers would be wise
to take advantage of them.
Marketers drive omnichannel engagement:
Savvy marketers know that direct mail plays an important role in
creating customers for their products and services. Mail is a trusted,
data-driven channel that motivates prospects to take action.
The appeal of direct mail spans all generations, with a recent USPS Mail
Moments study showing millennials spend more time with their mail than
other generations. Sixty-two percent of millennials reported reading
through their direct mail, 49% prefer to shop stores that advertise
through the mail and 40% regularly purchase items featured in marketing
mail, all stronger responses than those received from Gen X or baby
And with the advances in mail tracking, it’s easier than ever to project
when mail will arrive and coordinate it with the other channels in an
Stretch your marketing budget with
mailing promotions: USPS mailing promotions
provide discounts to mailers for trying techniques that are proven to
drive marketing success. Most promotions offer a 2% discount on eligible
postage right at the time of mailing.
With postage costs often accounting for more than 50% of marketers
direct mail spend, a 2% discount opens a range of opportunities to make
your marketing budget do more. Here are three proven ways to make the
most of your marketing budget:
Target more prospects:
With the dollars you save in postage, you can dip deeper into your model
to find customers you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to target.
Test new techniques while they’re on
sale: Always wanted to try adding a tactile
element to your mailpiece? What about incorporating an augmented reality
experience or link to a mobile-enabled website? Taking advantage of
promotional discounts can help offset the cost of using an additional
printing technique or creating a digital experience. By taking advantage
of these discounts, the USPS can help you pay for an option that may
have seemed out of reach.
Supplement your campaign with an
additional touch: Redirect your postage
savings to upgrade the mailpiece going to your most likely prospects or
simply include one more wave in your direct mail cadence.
The research is done, so take advantage:
The Postal Service wants mailers to be successful and studies factors
that drive direct mail success. They use this data when choosing
behaviors to encourage through promotions, incentivizing practices that
result in relevant mailpieces that engage recipients.
What makes mail irresistible to consumers, or at least makes them
curious enough to open it? The Postal Service loves acronyms, so here’s
one for the 2020 promotions: Tactile, emerging, mobile, personalized,
informed delivery (TEMPID).
Tactile, sensory and interactive:
Take advantage of mail’s tactile and tangible attributes by
adding textured varnish or embossing to your mailpiece. Or try a
Trailing Edge Die-Cut (TED-C) mailpiece to attract the attention of your
Emerging and advanced technology:
Integrate your mail campaigns with digital channels like augmented or
virtual reality, addressable TV, shoppable video and smart speakers
(digital assistants). USPS studies show marketers achieved three times
the return on their direct mail spend when the mail effort was paired
with a digital element compared to direct mail alone.
Linking mail to a mobile-enabled website is a great way to remove
friction from the purchasing process, making it easy for your prospects
to become customers.
Personalized color transpromotional:
Adding a personalized color element to statement mailings for up-sell or
cross-sell efforts can be very productive. Recipients open and read
billing statements, and using variable color personalization makes the
offer much more relevant and compelling.
Linking informed delivery to your direct mail campaign provides multiple
touchpoints with your recipients—both physical and digital—from the same
marketing effort. And more than 60% of informed delivery emails get
Direct mail works. Digital marketing works. Combine them in an
omnichannel campaign, take advantage of the opportunity to add a
significant discount to the direct mail segment, and you’ll move from
savvy marketer to marketing savant.
Five New Ways to Stuff That Envelope
By Craig Simpson, Simpson-Direct.com
Follow these tips and watch your response rates climb:
Postage costs make up one of the most expensive elements of
your mailing budget. That being the case, it only makes sense for you to
wring the most value out of every penny on postage you spend.
To conserve your money, it’s important to avoid over-paying on postage
when you can. For example, there’s a pretty strict weight limit of just
1 ounce on First Class mail. So, when you mail First Class, you want to
be very careful not to go over that 1-ounce weight limit. If you go over
even a smidgeon, you will end up paying for an additional ounce.
But . . .
Most direct mail sales letters are sent “Standard Mail” (also known as
Bulk Mail) – not First Class. And with Standard Mail, the weight picture
is very different.
You can put up to 3.3 ounces into a Standard Mail envelope without
paying even one cent in extra postage – that’s over 3 times the amount
you can put into a First Class mailer. That’s 3 times the persuasion
power, and you certainly don’t want it to go to waste. Why would you put
one little letter that weighs under an ounce into a Standard Mail
envelope and leave it at that?
I say, “Stuff that envelope for all it’s worth!”
So, what else can you put in your mailing package?
The possibilities are endless, but here are a few ideas ...
A “lift note”
This is a small note from someone at the company (or maybe even a
celebrity) that gives the prospect extra encouragement to buy. It may
offer personal encouragement, a reiteration of the offer, a further
description of benefits, etc. The idea is that it looks like a personal
note that’s been slipped into the envelope.
A sheet with testimonials
If you’ve received glowing comments from users of your product, print
them out on a sheet with as much identifying information as you can (at
least first name, last initial, and City and State, and photo, if
Another sheet you can add is one with the most commonly asked Questions
and Answers. Anticipate prospects’ questions and objections, and address
them in a Q&A format.
Some kind of gift “keepsake”
Include a calendar, a card with helpful reminders, a refrigerator magnet
. . . anything appropriate that people will want to save and that will
serve as a constant reminder of you (of course, put your contact
information on the item).
An order form
Even if you expect people to call to order, a physical order form is a
subtle reminder to place the order. It’s also a great place to repeat
your best sales points, your guarantee, etc.
A reply envelope
If you do expect people to mail in orders, a reply envelope is
essential. Don’t expect people to find an envelope and address it. Make
it easy on them. And if your budget allows, make it postage paid. You’ll
only have to pay postage on the orders that come in, and you may pick up
quite a few orders if people see they don’t have to find a stamp.
Any of these items will add extra printing cost as well as the cost to
“insert” them into the envelope. But they won’t cost you one extra cent
in postage, and they may significantly increase your response rate so
that they pay for themselves many times over.
Craig Simpson has managed thousands of direct mail campaigns and
grossed hundreds of millions in revenue for his clients. Simpson is the
owner of Simpson Direct Inc. He blogs at:
Don’t Turn the Page on Catalogs
By David Sharp, Associated Press
Catalogs have stabilized and may be growing
after a 40 percent decline since the Great Recession:
Catalogs, those glossy paper-and-ink offerings of
outdoor apparel, kitchenware and fruit baskets, are not yet headed for
the recycling bin of history.
Until recently, the future appeared grim for the mailbox-stuffers. A
one-two punch of postal rate increases and the Great Recession had
sharply cut their numbers. Common wisdom had everything retail-related
But a catalog-industry rebound appears in the works, fueled in part by
what might seem an unlikely group: younger shoppers who find it’s
sometimes easier, more satisfying and even nostalgic, flipping pages
rather than clicking links.
Industry experts say that all those catalogs crammed into mailboxes this
holiday season are a sign that mailings have stabilized – and may be
growing – after a decline of about 40% since the Great Recession.
New companies are mailing catalogs. And even died-in-the-wool online
retailers like Amazon and Bonobos are getting into the act.
“They’re tapping out on what they’re able to do digitally,” said Tim
Curtis, president of CohereOne, a direct marketing agency in California.
“They’ve got to find some new way to drive traffic to their websites.”
Catalog retailers slashed mailings, and some abandoned catalogs
altogether, after a major U.S. Postal Service rate increase and the
start of the recession in late 2007. Catalog numbers dropped from about
19 billion in 2016 to an estimated 11.5 billion in 2018, according to
the American Catalog Mailers Association.
The industry still faces challenges, but there’s reason for some
optimism, said Hamilton Davison, president of the mailers association.
Millennials who are nostalgic for vinyl records and all things vintage
are thumbing through catalogs and dog-earing the pages. It’s a new
demographic roughly from 22 to 38 that’s helping to breathe some new
life into the sector, industry officials say.
In fact, millennials are more likely than baby boomers to visit a store
based on mailings, according to the U.S. Postal Service inspector
Sarah Johnson says she loves flipping through catalogs at her
convenience – but gets her hackles up when retailers fill her email
“Promotion emails drive me crazy,” said Johnson, 29, of Vernal, Utah.
“When there’s a catalog lying on the table, it feels like it’s my choice
to pick it up and flip through it. When it arrives in my inbox it feels
like it’s imposing on me,” she said.
Angela Hamann, another millennial, says she prefers catalogs because
it’s easier than scrolling through webpages to evaluate a retailer’s
“It’s a great way to assess what a company has to offer without making a
bunch of clicks,” said Hamann, 37, of New Gloucester, Maine.
During the downturn, catalog retailers reduced the size of the catalogs,
slashed the number of pages and became selective about their mailings,
said Jim Gibbs from The Dingley Press, in Lisbon, Maine, which prints
and mails about 330 million catalogs a year.
But catalogs never died off, as some began predicting during the dot-com
bubble. Catalog naysayers didn’t understand that a webpage is useless
unless shoppers know about it, and catalogs are an important tool for
driving customers online, Gibbs said.
These days, retailers like Amazon, Wayfair and Walmart are boosting
their mailings, helping to offset companies that abandoned catalogs, and
dozens of smaller companies are also getting into the act, Davison said.
There’s also a trend toward postcard fliers being mailed by companies
like Shutterfly, Curtis added.
The tactile feel of catalogs creates a more meaningful connection,
Curtis said. Consumers, meanwhile, routinely delete emails or skim over
online promotions without a second thought, he said.
For some, there’s no escaping the sentimental aspect.
In Austin, Texas, tech company worker Mike Trimborn described himself as
a “nearly 100% online shopper” who sees catalogs as an “exercise in
futility.” But he waxed nostalgic when he received a toy catalog from
Amazon in the mail this holiday season.
Trimborn, 42, said his sons, ages 9 and 11, marked up the Amazon catalog
just like he marked up the big Sears catalog as a kid.
“It was such a fun experience when I was a kid. To be able to give that
to my kids was a surprise,” he said.
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2020 U.S. Postal Promotions Will Help Your Bottom Line
Five New Ways to Stuff That Envelope
Don't Turn the Page on Catalogs
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