usps | pcc | insider

April 12, 2010




As it takes focused steps in a 10-year action plan, the Postal Service will “bump up value” through innovation, service, quality and information to “levels you never imagined,” Postmaster General John E. Potter pledged today at the National Postal Forum.

“You’re going to see these changes in packages, advertising mail and First-Class Mail,” he said. “As these changes roll out they’re going to make mail even more attractive.” Potter said new ways for mail to spur customers’ businesses will help USPS beat projections of a 15 percent drop in volume over the next decade.

“Mail will continue to have a great deal of value for businesses and the American people in 2020,” Potter said at the NPF, the mailing industry’s annual educational event and tradeshow. “An organization delivering 150 billion pieces of mail in 2020 is more than any other post in the world today and will be a very large business.”

Confident that the country needs and wants a strong and viable Postal Service, Potter outlined major steps to provide more flexibility in the marketplace. These include expanding retail access into non-postal locations, securing greater workplace flexibility and getting legislation that would permit USPS to explore new products and services — all allowing it to better respond to changing customer needs and compete more effectively.

The Postmaster General said the Postal Service will not lose sight of its mission — “to serve you today and every day into the future.” USPS will continue to deliver high levels of service while cutting costs, he said. USPS will continue to aggressively manage expenses, Potter said, through network adjustments, efficiency tools and new equipment like the flats sequencer. At the same time, innovations like Intelligent Mail barcodes will help secure the future. “I am convinced the Postal Service and mailing industry have a strong, bright future ahead,” Potter said.

Potter was joined by Robert Bernstock, president, Mailing and Shipping Services, who said, “We are doing things differently. This starts from listening to you, our customers, and better understanding your needs.”

Bernstock said the Postal Service is looking for innovative solutions: innovative services, innovative products and innovative price incentives.

And, he says, “we need you as our partners in this process of identifying the best revenue growth opportunities. We cannot do this without your participation, your ideas, your cooperation.”

Potter and Bernstock closed the session by presenting the Partnership for Progress Award to Walmart, the nation’s leading retailer, which uses Postal Service for direct mail as well as its growing mail-order pharmacy service.



Postmaster General John Potter speaks at PCC Leadership Conference. Seated, from left, are Alixe Johnson, manager, Customer and Industry Marketing, PCC Advisory Committee Co-Chair Tracey Dunlap, and Stephen Kearney, senior vice president, Customer Relations.
Postmaster General John Potter speaks at PCC Leadership Conference. Seated, from left, are Alixe Johnson, manager, Customer and Industry Marketing, PCC Advisory Committee Co-Chair Tracey Dunlap, and Stephen Kearney, senior vice president, Customer Relations.

As the Postal Service continues to change, Postal Customer Councils are vital “conduits for reaching out into the community,” Postmaster General John Potter told the PCC Leadership Conference. “And we appreciate your help.”

Speaking at the conference yesterday, Potter reaffirmed the Postal Service’s commitment to customer service. “Our No. 1 priority is you,” he said. “You are all we’re about. If we didn’t have you, we wouldn’t exist.”

Potter says the Postal Service will not let changes distract from what’s important day to day. “If you mail with us, you’ll get delivered,” he assured customers. “And at the end of the day, there will be a strong Postal Service for years to come.”

The conference was the first major session at the NPF. It was hosted by Stephen Kearney, senior vice president, Customer Relations, Alixe Johnson, manager, Customer and Industry Marketing, and PCC Advisory Committee industry co-chair Tracey Dunlap.

“You make the mail work,” Kearney told the PCC members. “The councils are helping us deliver the future of the mail.”

PCC members were encouraged to take full advantage of the sessions and workshops offered at this week’s NPF, including peer-to-peer roundtables and opportunities for advanced certification. For those who couldn’t make it to Nashville, the national PCC program offers webinars as well as workshops-in-a-box online at

And PCC members were reminded that this year’s National PCC Day is Sept. 15, with the main program originating from Portland, OR.



Senior Vice President of Intelligent Mail and Address Quality Tom Day explains benefits of Intelligent Mail services.
Senior Vice President of Intelligent Mail and Address Quality Tom Day explains benefits of Intelligent Mail services.

The benefits and advantages business mailers can expect to reap by adopting the Intelligent Mail barcode took center stage yesterday during opening workshops at the NPF.

Speaking to an audience of 400 mailers, Senior Vice President of Intelligent Mail and Address Quality Tom Day explained how businesses can maximize their return on investment through Intelligent Mail Full Service. It not only provides mailers with start-the-clock information, it also provides free address correction information. That alone is enough to make more and more mailers adopt the Intelligent Mail barcode, according to Day.

“We’re celebrating the success of the Intelligent Mail barcode,” Day says. “To date, more than 350 approved Intelligent Mail Full Service customers have entered more than 11.5 billion pieces of IM barcode mail and filed more than 120,000 digital postage statements, generating more than $3 billion in postal revenue.”

Day walked through the progressive stages achieved with Intelligent Mail services. In the first phase, launched nearly a year ago, mailers become familiar with the basic features and functionality offered. The next phase saw an uptick in industry use, in large part to discounts offered. The third phase in March provided another major step forward, moving closer to a “pure digital world.”

“We want to get away from the hard-copy paper postage statements,” says Day. “Customers have saved up to 30 minutes with digital postage statements versus processing hard-copy postage statements. We’ve clearly seen amazing results.”

By May 2011, if mailers want these automated discounts they must use the Intelligent Mail barcode. Machines will still read the POSTNET and PLANET Code, but no discounts will be applied. That’s more than a year away, says Day. “Try it, it works.”



Eighty-one percent of consumers will buy a product after they receive a free sample, and most prefer to sample products at home, according to the Opinion Research Corp. This is the idea behind the marketing strategy of a samples co-op box that the Postal Service plans to market test early next month.

The “Sample Showcase,” to be distributed nationally on a limited basis as well as in larger quantities to consumers in Charlotte, NC, and Pittsburgh, is a box of assorted beauty, health and snack food items from multiple consumer packaged goods companies. The boxes will be branded with the Postal Service logo and include the tagline, “A selection of free product samples.”

Another strategy behind the pilot test is making sure that direct mail is the sampling method of choice. The co-op box concept, which allows candy bars to be marketed with skin lotions, for example, is expected to make direct mail sampling more attractive because it allows multiple manufacturers to share in the marketing and postage costs of the program.

“Consumer packaged goods companies are always looking for new ways to build brand awareness for their products,” said Robert Bernstock, president, Mailing and Shipping Services. “One method they often turn to is providing trial-size samples to consumers. A large and growing industry, product sampling offers the Postal Service the potential for millions of dollars of added revenue.”

The Postal Service will conduct research to determine the cost-effectiveness of the program and the value it provides to manufacturers and consumers.

“Mail is the only medium that really enables marketers to do this,” said Bernstock. “It provides access to people’s homes, and it can be tracked to determine if the samples actually convert to sales.”



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