Customers can be grouped into four major categories: large-volume business mailers; business partners and service providers; small and medium-size business mailers; and households. Businesses of all types generated 86 percent of total mail volume in 2008. Compared to businesses, households represent a relatively small share of total mail sent. However, households receive two-thirds of all mail, and the attitudes and behavior of consumers greatly influence business mailing decisions. The Postal Service links businesses and households by providing a trusted, reliable means to send and receive bills, payments, statements, advertisements, publications, and merchandise.
Large-volume business mailers, numbering about 15,000 national and regional mailers, use mail to communicate with their customers and vendors for billing, receiving remittances, advertising products and services, fulfilling merchandise orders, and sending out newspapers, magazines, trade journals, and other national publications. The Postal Service maintains sales, operational, and service-oriented relationships with these complex business mailers on a nationwide level and on a daily basis.Business partners add value to mail creation in a variety of ways. There are about 3,800 managed business partner accounts helping their clients use mail to meet corporate objectives in a variety of ways. Some business partners specialize in integrated marketing strategies, direct mail copy and graphics, mailing list selection and management, or printing and preparation for entry. Some consolidate mailings for other customers and provide other mail-related services, such as presortation and transportation, filling a niche in the mailing industry by offering end-users postage discounts through workshare opportunities.
Small and medium-size businesses, generally local or regional and focused on specific market segments, use mail to communicate with their customers and vendors for billing, receiving remittances, advertising products and services, fulfilling merchandise orders, and distributing local or regional publications. The Postal Service has dedicated sales, operational, and service-oriented relationships with many of these mailers through local postmasters, business development teams, and business mail entry units.
Households are the main receivers of correspondence, advertisements, news, bills, statements, and merchandise sent by businesses. This business-to-household mail flow is the heart of the $1 trillion mailing industry. As senders of mail, households contribute roughly 15 percent of postal revenue. Households have very different product and access needs compared to the largest business mailers.
To generate interest in postal products and services, the Postal Service uses a variety of customer outreach programs, including industry events such as the annual National Postal Forum (NPF), and ongoing industry discussion and collaboration with groups such as the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee, local Postal Customer Councils, and a number of other mailing industry groups.
The Postal Service launched an "Environmailism" print ad and direct mail campaign, which included a handbook on implementing greener mail practices.
Advertising is used to raise awareness and increase use of products and services among all customer groups. Additionally, the Postal Service provides information and obtains feedback from customers through online channels like usps.com, customer satisfaction surveys, and the personal contact of employees working in Post Offices and delivering mail.
Mailing Industry Dialog
National Postal Forum
The annual National Postal Forum (NPF) is the largest mailing industry tradeshow. It focuses on education and new technology, and offers an opportunity to build relationships and effectively showcase postal products in an ever-changing marketplace. More than 6,000 customers and exhibitors attended the May NPF in Anaheim, CA. The high attendance reflects the continuing importance of mail and the industry’s engagement on critical strategic issues, such as the Flats Sequencing System (FSS), sustainability, and the adoption of Intelligent Mail®, a new process that uniquely identifies each mailpiece; it is the core of many beneficial changes to mail preparation and processing. Postal executives and industry leaders led discussions and symposiums on customer acquisition and retention, global business, and package and shipping solutions. The event included 140 workshops, 13 business/professional certificate programs, and the largest industry exhibit hall ever, where 161 companies exhibited the latest in mailing supplies, services, software, automation equipment, and mailing systems.