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Postage went down. Are you mailing MORE?

By: Mark Rheaume

In April, the price of postage went down an average of 4.3%. What a great thing for our industry and what a rare occurrence!  Now I am going to ask you: What you have done to make sure the postal service gets the right message?

What I mean is that we all have to use this reduction in postage rates to mail more. It is not enough to simply save the money and give it back to your businesses. That is a short term “gain” that will end up costing us all in the long run. Even the most conservative mailers budgeted for a 1% increase in postage again this year. Most in the industry today felt this was prudent. After all, the last rate reduction came over 95 years ago, so there are few in the industry who remember that.

Our industry has long argued that postage is subject to price elasticity: As the price goes up, volume goes down and as the price goes down, volume goes up. Now is our chance to prove to the USPS that this is true. If we do not use this “found money” to encourage our businesses and customers to mail more, the USPS will certainly point out that volume did not rise as a result of the roll back of the exigent rates and that they most definitely need that increase back as a part of the rate structure going forward in January 2017. Inevitably, elected officials will buy into that argument and our businesses and industry will suffer. With this in mind, your efforts can make a difference. Here are a few tips to get started:

Be an Extension of the Team

It is June and you must act fast if you have not been pushing for more mail from your organizations and customers. All of those plans to mail more and run testing before exigency went into effect in 2013 should be dusted off and put into action. The money has been allocated and all you have to do is help them get the campaigns designed, planned and in the mail. Since that is what you do every day, consider yourself a part of the team and do what you can to move the mail campaigns forward.

Save Every Way You Can

Do not forget to use other cost saving tips for these mailings. For standard Mail (Direct Mail) projects, take advantage of destination entry discounts whenever possible. I usually tell people to read the postal charts horizontally (Distinguishing between the presort discounts for 5-digit, 3-digit, AADC and mixed AADC rates) and vertically (Distinguishing between entry discounts from Origin Entry (No discounts) to NDC entry ($0.033/piece) and finally to SCF entry ($0.043/piece). Those numbers are correct and save you a great deal of money. This is not complicated and your postal software can easily reveal and expose these savings opportunities to you. Work with your vendor’s support staff to access this information and learn more about this.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed

Postal logistics can seem overwhelming, but the formula is simple: if the savings of entering mail at an NDC or SCF outweigh the costs of getting the mail there—do it! Use the savings to generate even more mail and work with your organization and customers to educate them on how to take advantage of these discounts. Your efforts can make a difference to our entire industry and are needed to make sure we can keep stability and predictability with regard to postage rates going forward. Happy mailing, and thank you for your efforts!

Mark Rheaume, AccuZIP Inc., National Postal Affairs Director and partnership Liaison Officer