I was in a local store over the weekend and was amazed at what I saw: Christmas decorations! A Christmas tree was standing right next to rack of discounted Halloween items! It is not even November! What happened to Thanksgiving? Every year we see the holiday sales start earlier and earlier. Everyone wants to get the first shot at customers, this is the time of year that can make or break a company. Americans spend more money in the fourth quarter then we do any other time of the year and it is not only at retailers. Of course we spend on holiday gifts but we also update our houses for the guests that will visit, we travel more and we have more parties; spending money all along the way.
Companies will spend millions of dollars over the next few months mailing catalogs, fliers and coupons to get buyers into their stores or onto their websites. They will spend weeks or months planning out mail campaigns to create special offers, target specific people, design and print and mail unique pieces. They will pack the shelves with products and have staff waiting to serve the customers. After all this meticulous planning nothing can go wrong, can it?
What if the mail piece doesn’t get there when you need it to? Something as simple as a delayed mail piece can ruin the entire effort. Companies could lose thousands of dollars in sales each day, if not more. Don’t let this happen to you and your profits; follow the mailing cycle through delivery and point of sale. The USPS can give you detailed information of the whereabouts of every mail piece as it moves through their system. It starts with the tracking and reporting of Pallets and Trays and finishes with the scans of each individual mail piece (IMbTracing). Use this data to be informed and successful.
Be ready to react to delivery issues, or better yet, take charge of your mail. It can tell you which areas delivered early, on time or late. Use it to coordinate multi-channel contacts. Be prepared for fluctuations of activity when mail delivers in waves or all on the same day. The data is great in performing back end analysis with responses. The data can open doors to new ideas and strategies for your marketing campaigns; you just need to dig into it.
This year, we have seen many ups and downs in the timing of mail delivery. The USPS is closing facilities, but they are also getting more efficient by using the same tracking data I just mentioned. There are other outside factors contributing to delays that we don’t always consider. Right now for example, we are being hit with a lot political mail. We are coming down to the wire of not only the Presidential race but many local elections as well. Politicians are getting their message out through mail and in some areas delaying delivery of your marketing pieces. Following the elections, the influx of mail will be family holiday cards, nearly two billion of them in a few short weeks! These big swings in mail volume impact the delivery and results of your mailing. With the success of your next mail campaign riding on the back of the postal system, you need to be fully informed so you can react and get your message to your customers. Don’t wait for the customers to come to you, take charge and make sure you get to your customers.