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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Going postal: USPS’ "Deliver" magazine

Should the United States Post Office be in the business of promoting direct mail?

Yesterday I received a copy of “Deliver,” the USPS’ expensively produced, 32 page magazine. USPS sends the free bi-monthly magazine to 350,000 marketers.

The business world is moving to a paper-less, digital world, but the Postal Service is trying to promote the value of direct mail and other “innovative marketing tools.”

“Finding innovative marketing tools is a must for any company that needs to promote its brand and products to the consumer,” according to USPS press release announcing the magazine last winter. “Today the U.S. Postal Service is Deliver-ing a magazine for marketers about strategies and trends that are shaping the world of marketing and advertising.”

My view is that the USPS has no business trying to be in the marketing advice business, especially as their advice is grounded in the old print world, which is hardly innovative. That's just a bad use of our tax dollars. Not as bad as the USPS' huge sports sponsorship spends a few years ago, but still rather irresponsible.

USPS should take the hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on the magazine and address its real issue: how to create a new USPS business model for a world with less and less mail.

Now, back to getting my tax returns completed....


Blogger Curran Bishop said...

I heartily agree. While I respect the USPS very much for managing to be the only government agency run (to my knowledge) entirely on its own revenue, not tax dollars, it does seem a step into the past to be trying to promote direct mail. I remember living in North Carolina we'd receive advertisements from a particular direct mail company. The advertisements stated, "Why use direct mail? Well, you're reading this right now along with 500,000 [I don't remember the exact number] other people!" The interesting thing to me was that I very seldom saw them advertising anything besides themselves--I always thought, "if this works so well, why is no one responding to your advertising?" then I'd throw is in the recycling bin--just like 500,000 other people!

5:51 PM  
Blogger Perspective said...

my studio is a few blocks from the central post office near south station. we continuously receive mail for people that haven't been at my address for 5+ years. we occasionally receive mail from people in the building next door, or in another city altogether.

one of my biggest gripes is the "innovation," installation, and promotion of the Automated Postal Center, the ATM-like machine that was introduced recently. these machines are supposed to take the place of tellers, or lighten the wait time for humans. however, because the machine's interface is so poorly designed, staff members are stationed nearby to help answer questions about its use.

the first thing the postal service must do is strengthen its existing basic services, before it promotes the additional disservice of junk and direct mail.

1:03 PM  

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