Advertising mail is a core product for the U.S. Postal Service. It is an important way for businesses to reach their customers, but many local small businesses and others underuse or avoid advertising mail. The rules, rates, and regulations can be complex and confusing. For saturation mailings, simplified addressing allows businesses to use a simple “Postal Customer” address instead of a full street address. While the Postal Service has tested a number of simplified address products in the past, early this year it rolled out a national product available for all “flat-size” saturation mailings.
In a recently released white paper titled Simplified Address Mail: An Easier Way for Small Businesses to Reach Local Customers, the Office of Inspector General, Risk Analysis Research Center lays out the advantages of the simplified address mail concept, which could potentially bring in over $1 billion in new revenue if fully implemented. Among the paper’s key findings:
- Simplified address stems from the Postal Service’s core, hard-copy mail delivery business and could help keep mail relevant in an increasingly digital world.
- Adding profitable simplified address mail volume could lower average unit costs and make universal service more affordable for all current and potential mail users.
- Simplified address makes advertising mail easier to use and far less expensive for organizations that have traditionally shied away from directly using the mail.
- Simplified addressing has long been the standard practice among foreign posts and often accounts for a significant proportion of their mail volume. The Postal Service has been the sole exception.
The key to realizing all the benefits of simplified address mail depends on how the Postal Service implements the program. It must actively be promoted to small businesses and others and it must be made as easy as possible for customers to use.
So, what do you think? Would you be receptive to receiving advertising materials for the restaurants, stores and services in your local neighborhood?
This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).