Postal Town Hall from the NEMOA Spring Conference

NEMOA Spring Conference attendees gathered March 21-23, 2007 to share ideas on the postal increase. A catalog president remarked that the postal increase presented by the Postal Rate Commission (PRC) is “crippling to devastating” for many catalog companies.

Here’s a recap of comments made.
  • Adjust trim size to get a weight advantage. Face trim, not height trim. Adjustment to trim size may open you to co-mailing (non-competitive) with printers.
  • Make an adjustment to the paper weight.
  • Do matchbacks.
  • Utilize “Add a Name.”
  • Conduct whole list hygiene.
  • Don’t cut circulation. “It’s a death spiral.” (Many resoundingly voiced this point.)
  • Drop a Name. Supply anticipated sales per book to your list house to drop costly tiers.
  • Need to utilize Web linkage.
  • Cut gauge of wire used – thinner and lighter gauge wire may work well.
  • Slim Jims (a lot of discussion during the conference) has rebranding issues. Consensus: Let someone else do this first.
  • Combine co-mailing.
  • Drop a Name
  • Incorporate modeling to find the best solution for a 10% lift.
  • Look at overall contact strategy and depth vs. cutting back on each mailing.
  • Adjust in-home date range and trim range – explore if your catalog can be more flexible.
  • Consider the order form and percentage of orders coming via mail. Can you eliminate the order form on a sale book? One mailer saw no negative impact on his sale book results.
  • Look at contact strategy and see if you can drop forms.
  • See if your prospector catalog can co-mail with your regular book, reduce pages.
  • Ask a percentage of your file how they want to be contacted. “Give customers what they want. Could be the start of a long-term solution.”
  • Look at ink coverage on pages – can some pages go to black and white?
  • Modeling. Advance address hygiene. Replace under performing names with better names.
  • Look at your use of hot spots in the book.
  • Review DHL flats and light weight parcel rates. Might see better costs.
  • Look at the number of shipments to complete an order. Companies receive the income once but shipments cost 2-3 times more when partial shipments are made.
  • Look at each mailing that’s 5-digit bundles and carrier-route. Look at the under 3-digit mail – what’s deliverable and what’s not.
  • Test other types of paper and hide the different paper type in the middle of the book.
  • Analyze where Web orders come from – search engine, email campaign, and get that data to the marketing department.
  • Make sure your call center is grabbing promotional codes.
  • When mailing a catalog to a new buyer do an additional address correction process the first time.
Call to Action
Michael Winn, from R.R. Donnelley recommended that companies phone their representatives in Washington, D.C. Contact PRC again via www.prc.org.

We at Caugherty Hahn Communications, Inc. echo that statement. If you have already written to the PRC, write to your state representatives. Tell them what the impact the rates will have on your company, and cite other businesses in your state that will be affected.

The Envelope Manufacturers of American (www.envelope.org) has an easy-to-use contact tool to identify and email state representatives. Click on “Look Up Legislators” on the lower right of the home page.

While director of public relations at The Direct Marketing Association, Inc. (www.the-dma.org), Lisa Hahn developed the external response to the news media with the government affairs department on the impact postal rate cases would have on mailers, and worked with member companies on the use of key message points so businesses and the association was speaking with one voice.

You may want to contact many of the following executives who spoke on the topic over the three-day conference include Michael Winn at R.R. Donnelley; Mike Hayden from Alexa Marketing; Jim Calhoun, Daystar Data Group (www.daystardg.com); Kendra Dagle at DHL Global Mail (kdagle@dhlglobalmail.com); Keith Pietsch at Catalog Vision (keith.pietsch@catalogvision.com), among others.

For assistance in writing state officials, contact Lisa Hahn at Caugherty Hahn Communications at 201-251-7778 or lisa.hahn@chcomm.com.

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