To generate interest in its products, the Postal Service uses a variety of means such as industry events like the annual National Postal Forum and industry collaboration with groups like the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee, Postal Customer Councils, and other industry organizations. Advertising is used to raise awareness of products and services among all customer groups.
MAILING INDUSTRY DIALOG
Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee
The Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) encompasses major mailing associations and organizations working with the Postal Service to enhance the value of mail. MTAC workgroups focus on resolving specific technical issues. For example, a workgroup, Establish Service Standards and Measurements for Market Dominant Products, was formed in February to help develop new service standards. Other key workgroups completed or underway during 2007 are expected to yield additional benefits to the mailing industry. Some of these include workgroups on streamlining verification and seamless acceptance, improving address quality, and preparing for the Flats Sequencing System (FSS).
During May the Postal Service and MTAC sponsored a Flats Symposium attended by 300 participants representing mailing industry stakeholders. Participants learned about the new strategy for flats, FSS, and its impact on the mailing industry. Ongoing customer input, education, and collaboration are critical to a successful deployment of FSS, set to begin in late 2008.
National Postal Forum
The annual National Postal Forum (NPF) represents the largest mailing industry tradeshow focused on education, networking, new technology, and operational progress. It offers an opportunity to build relationships and show mailers how to use postal products effectively in the ever-changing marketplace.
This year the Forum took place in March in Washington, DC, with more than 7,300 business customers and exhibitors in attendance. Postal executives and industry leaders led discussion groups on address management, costs and pricing, and future developments. There were 13 business tracks, 13 certificate programs, and more than 150 workshops offered as part of the Postal Service commitment to continuing education. The Forum featured three symposiums on address quality, package services, and direct marketing. In addition, hundreds of companies, including 60 new vendors, exhibited the latest in mailing supplies, services, software, automation equipment, and mailing systems.
Postal Customer Councils
Postal Customer Councils (PCCs) enhance working relationships with local businesses and keep customers updated on the latest postal products and developments. More than 100,000 members belong to 200 local PCCs. The usps.com/pcc Web site, redesigned this year for easier access, contains PCC information, tools, and guidelines.
In March, the annual PCC Leadership Conference was held in Washington, DC, at the National Postal Forum. On September 19, National PCC Day took place via a live nationwide satellite broadcast from Cincinnati, OH. Postmaster General Jack Potter’s keynote speech highlighted the important role that PCCs play in keeping the mailing industry strong and mail viable for communication, marketing, and merchandising.
PCC Workshop-in-a-Box seminars and quarterly DVDs featuring updates by postal executives on current initiatives help local businesses and nonprofit organizations stay current on ways to use mail successfully. The PCC Small Business Resource Guide was published during the year to promote PCC membership. PCC Insider, a monthly eNewsletter launched in October 2006, provides the latest information on products and services, technology advances, and pricing and classification. Readers learn about developments affecting mailing operations and programs that can help them advance their business. PCCs continue to find new ways to help new customers use mail for their business needs. The PCC Mail Service Provider (MSP) program database contains more than 150 company entries, including two national providers, and offers access to the 200 PCCs across the country. Members can enroll either as local or national providers. They gain assistance with preparation, lists, printing, mailing support, supplies, and equipment. Businesses can search for MSPs by clicking on the Find Mail Service Providers link on usps.com/pcc, and then narrow searches by city, state, ZIP Code, and category.