This Wednesday, I had the distinct honor of speaking to the Greater Illinois Postal Customer Council on National PCC Day. In addition to meeting Paul Vogel, USPS President Digital Solutions, I was also present for the riveting address from Postmaster General Pat Donahoe. Mr. Donahoe's address paralleled my presentation on the "Marriage of Social Media and Direct Mail" quite nicely. Our sentiments were on so much of a parallel, that it made my second presentation (after the address) sound a little redundant!
Some key points from Mr. Donahoe's address and Mr. Vogel's keynote:
- The post office isn't going anywhere, and with consolidation plans, the budget is getting closer and closer to making it a profitable industry again.
- A focus on technology is going to be key going forward. Social media, QR codes and smarter integration with e-commerce are crucial areas where direct mail needs to coalesce services alongside these online avenues.
- Mail tracking is becoming more and more sophisticated, and with Intelligent Mail Barcoding, retailers and recipients can know exactly where there packages are. Certain companies already have systems in place for mail tracking from a mailer's end, and the Post Office is trying to make this process more convenient on the recipient's end.
- QR code integration is on the rise, and staying ahead of the next technological innovation will be paramount in keeping direct mail relevant. Donahoe would not elaborate on what he thought the next major innovation would be. He did, however, share that many QR promotions are on the horizon, both for this holiday season and for next year.
- Direct mail is a spoke on the wheel for marketers and mailers. Only when the gear contains all of the elements of a multichannel campaign, such as social media, email, SMS/mobile marketing and traditional marketing, will direct mail continue to be successful.
- Plant consolidation will not take place during the election season or the holiday mailing season, so that the mail associated with these events will be on the regular schedule.
Overall, both speeches were riveting and gave the mailers and marketers in attendance a number of initiatives to be excited about. My presentations went well, and my "Direct Mail is the High school quarterback to social media's cheerleader" analogy was well-received by the audience. Happy National PCC week, and play your part in helping direct mail thrive!