Monday, February 27, 2006

Don’t Write Off Snail Mail; It’s More Important than Ever

Few people rely on the US Postal Service to ferry their personal musings to friends and loved ones when a handy e-mail can do the job in mere seconds. Yet Internet-based companies like NetFlix, EBay and Amazon absolutely depend on the post office to deliver and receive goods ordered through their websites. As a result, the amount of posted mail has increased dramatically, says James Fallows in The New York Times article, “Why The Internet Isn’t The Death of The Post Office”.

Two million Internet orders are delivered each day through the mail — accounting for one-fifth of all first class mail.

Even though people may do their banking on the Internet, many still insist on having a print version of their bills mailed to their homes.

The U.S. Postal Service has even taken a page from FedEx’s book and installed scanning equipment used to track packages. For a fee it can scan envelopes and postcards and track them.

Commercial mail to residences has also increased. But companies are beginning to tailor the timing and focus of their attention to consumers most likely to want to stay informed of a company’s activities. According to Michael J Critelli, co-chairman of Mail Industry Task Force, response rates to targeted mailings are better than traditional direct mail campaigns.

There remains a strong psychological resonance with snail mail. Two-thirds of people don’t expect personal mail, but when they do get a personal letter it makes their day, according to the Postal Service survey. About 55% of people look forward to seeing what the daily mail brings, perhaps in the hope that they will get another thrill of personal correspondence.

The death of snail mail has been greatly exaggerated. If you can get your old and new delivery systems to work in tandem, you’ll build a stronger business.

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