Postal Service tells postmasters not to sell against newspapers

January 4, 2012

The U.S. Postal Service headquarters is telling its marketing and management team to back off comments critical of newspapers as they promote the new Every Door Direct Mail advertising option.

A spate of complaints from newspapers about postmasters and marketing reps who were "trashing" newspaper advertising when they introduced local businesses to the new EDDM saturation mail program led the National Newspaper Association to urgently seek a correction from USPS. Postal Service headquarters advised Max Heath, NNA Postal Committee chair, this week that a new directive has now been issued.

Postal employees are being directed to position direct mail as an option to be used in addition to other media, not as a replacement. USPS says:

"EDDM should be positioned as an option that can be blended or used in addition to other media resources (newspaper, television, etc.). It is not our intent to position EDDM ‘against’ other media choices. Remember when speaking that you will have newspapers and printers in your audience – and they are our friends and partners.

“Our DVD demonstrates what $3,000 can buy in media dollars as a way to educate the audience on the marketing capabilities and reach EDDM can provide for the dollars spent."

Heath expressed appreciation for the rapid response from USPS headquarters.

He said, "Every Door Direct Mail's pledge has been that it is seeking new mail volume, not trying to divert business from one type of mail to another. Our concern has been that the way this program is presented seemed to urge a migration out of newspapers' Periodicals and Standard mail issues into a direct advertising stream. That was not our understanding of this program. Now we are glad to know that USPS headquarters is trying to keep the program on track."

Every Door Direct Mail allows a small mailer to present direct mail pieces to saturate mailing routes with fewer than 5,000 pieces. They are permitted to bring the mail into a retail center without purchasing a bulk mail permit, and have the pieces delivered as saturation mail, paying the minimum 14.2 cents per piece for DDU entry.

EDDM was made possible by a Jan. 2 rule change to permit simplified addressing on postal city routes. NNA has fought for many years to extend simplified addressing from rural routes, where it has long permitted newspapers to saturate routes without purchasing mailing lists, at the request of members.

Newspapers are encouraged to use or sell EDDM themselves and to offer their printing, design and mailing services to customers to help them use EDDM. Periodicals technically are permitted to use the EDDM rule change for sampling, but they must be careful not to jeopardize their mailing privilege eligibility by repeatedly sending sample copies in excess of annual allowances. Periodicals using EDDM may not enter the mail at retail counters. They are required to bring that mail to Business Mail Entry units. And Periodicals cannot be mailed at Standard Mail rates under this program, as some have misunderstood.


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