Advertising during the year also emphasized the convenience of online services at usps.com and free package pickup and Click-N-Ship. The holiday campaign communicated similar messages and included the Holiday Mailing and Shipping Guide delivered to every household. To assist non-English-speaking customers, the Postal Service supplied product translation fact sheets in nine languages at many Post Offices.
For small businesses, the Postal Service developed promotional kits to help postmasters identify how to build new business by matching their customers’ needs with available products. Support was also provided for city carriers under the Customer Connect program, and for rural carriers under the Rural Reach program.
Support materials were distributed to promote the new Postal Service “green” Web site that emphasizes a commitment to environmental stewardship and informs customers about ways to make mail environmentally friendly. In response to consumer concerns about identity theft, the Postal Service mailed information to every household that dispelled the myth that mail is a significant source of identity theft, and provided consumers with practical ways to treat information in their mail.
The Postal Service has achieved great success with programs that provide an avenue for employees to identify and develop new business opportunities. Employees participating in the Business Connect, Carrier Connect, and Rural Reach programs have brought significant numbers of new customers to the Postal Service. In September 2008, mailhandlers joined the effort with the “Submit a Lead” program.
Business Connect encourages postmasters, station managers, and branch managers to sell postal products and services to small and medium-size businesses. Postmasters have always been a vital part of the communities they serve. Business Connect builds on this role by providing them with the tools and training to identify new customers and revenue prospects, to make professional presentations about products and services, and to establish themselves with these customers as the primary local resource for business growth and success.
Customer Connect asks city carriers to help identify small businesses that could benefit by increasing their use of postal services. Carrier referrals are provided to Business Development Teams who then meet with the customer to understand business and mailing needs and recommend the right mix of products and services. Customer Connect continues to increase revenue and participation.
Attendees at an eBay Day seminar learn how services such as Click-N-Ship and free expedited packaging can help their online business grow.
In April rural carriers became a part of a lead generation program, Rural Reach. This lead-generation program follows the same concept as Customer Connect — rural carriers identify potential businesses on their routes that can benefit from learning more about postal products and services. As part of Rural Reach, rural carriers submit leads and share product information with key customers.
New Business Development Teams (BDTs) were launched in each district. BDTs are responsible for managing the employee generated leads from the Business Connect, Customer Connect, Rural Reach, and Submit a Lead programs, as well as selling to the small to mid-sized customer base.
During 2008, the Postal Service worked with more than 25,000 commercial accounts to develop appropriate mailing and shipping solutions around the core business needs of those customers. Over 85,000 presentations were made to key direct mail and package decision makers in these accounts. These efforts helped contribute to $56 billion in commercial sales revenue in 2008.
While account managers retained responsibility for everyday support of their customer accounts, two new sales groups were created to provide assistance with major direct mail and package business opportunities. In addition to these specialty sales groups, a Business Partner Channel sales team was developed to build revenue by collaborating with third-party service providers that can furnish mailers with a full range of options to meet individual needs.Direct mail promotions included building on and expanding Branding Through the Mailbox, an initiative that helps businesses integrate mail with other advertising and promotional media. As an example, postcards with source codes or Web addresses are a very effective way for marketers to quantify the success of any media campaign. To complement this initiative further, the Postal Service promoted variable data printing techniques that make direct mail more personal and improve response rates. In addition, a major “green mail” campaign was launched to encourage environmentally friendly direct mail techniques. From a cost perspective, mailers were also shown how to improve their return on investment by reducing undeliverable-as-addressed mail and improving address quality. The Optimizer, an electronic tool that creates postage and cost calculations for mailings based on a set of variable data inputs, was updated to help mailers see the total costs for various combinations of mailings.