Neither the Internet nor smartphones can hold advertising mail down. Even with digital advertising growing at a rapid pace over the past 20 years, advertising mail has kept its same share of the market — around 10 to 12 percent.
What’s advertising mail’s secret?
Well, besides the fact that advertising mail is more tangible than digital, the Postal Service has found ways in recent years to make advertising mail more attractive. For example, the Postal Service now offers promotional discounts for mailers that embed mobile barcodes on their mailpieces. This also provides an interactive experience for the recipient and gives mail extra “pop.”
With advertising mail generating $19 billion in revenue for the Postal Service in fiscal year 2015, the organization needs this good news story to continue. But it may not unless the Postal Service acts now to further modernize its offerings and keep pace with the digital revolution, our latest white paper, Advertising Mail Innovations, finds.
The paper looks at two ways the Postal Service can innovate its ad mail offerings to engage senders and recipients in this changing advertising landscape. First, the Postal Service should continue integrating digital technologies with advertising mail. For instance, the paper highlights a potential mobile coupon platform hosted through the USPS Mobile app that would let consumers scan coupons received in the mail and store them digitally. As the use of mobile coupons grows, a Postal Service-sponsored mobile coupon platform could provide an incentive for advertisers to keep sending paper coupons.
Second, the Postal Service should work with mail service providers to provide online tools to make advertising mail more accessible to small businesses — only one-third of which use advertising mail for marketing purposes.
The ideas presented in the paper are not exhaustive, but they build on our previous work to provide examples of the types of innovation the Postal Service should continue exploring.
Share your ideas with us. Have you used the Postal Service to send advertisements, such as flyers, brochures, or coupons? If so, how was your experience? What other innovations could help ad mail grow volume?