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Marketers Giving Mail A Fresh Look, Says Postmaster General

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WASHINGTON, March 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In a keynote speech at the National Postal Forum–the annual mailing industry trade show–Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the Postal Service, today described a changing attitude of marketers toward the role of direct mail as a means of attracting and retaining customers.

“We’re seeing mail being used in some tremendous new ways–especially as part of integrated marketing campaigns,” said the Postmaster General. “All of this is leading to a reappraisal of the role of mail in the marketing mix–and we’re starting to see the beginnings of that reappraisal.”

Providing perspective on the changing media landscape and the use of new technologies to improve the effectiveness of mail for both senders and receivers, the Postmaster General and other senior postal leaders discussed trends in the use of mail and efforts by the Postal Service to spur growth in the mailing industry.

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Quad/Graphics to Expand East Coast Commingling Operations

quadSUSSEX, Wis.–()–Quad/Graphics, Inc. (NYSE: QUAD), is strengthening its market leading direct marketing platform with a multimillion-dollar expansion of its East Coast commingling center in Westampton, N.J. The expansion includes six new state-of-the-art letter sorters housed in newly leased space that will enhance clients’ postal savings opportunities and mail delivery efficiencies.

“Given the recent exigent postal rate increase, marketers are more pressured than ever to find solutions to offset their total cost of production and distribution without having to cut into important sales and revenue-generation activities such as prospecting,” said Steve Jaeger, President of Direct Marketing for Quad/Graphics. “Direct mail remains one of the most effective channels for engaging consumers and driving response and our expanded commingling platform helps marketers optimize delivery of this powerful print channel to achieve their business goals.”

The commingling process merges individual letter-size mail pieces from multiple clients into a single mailstream that qualifies for U.S. Postal Service presort discounts and dropship savings. The process appends mail pieces with an Intelligent Mail (IMb) barcode to qualify for the most advantageous postage rates while also giving marketers the ability to track their campaigns at the per-piece level. Quad/Graphics’ massive commingling volumes drive the greatest possible postal savings while speeding in-home delivery predictably and efficiently.

“Commingling makes sense for our clients,” Jaeger added. “Mailers who wouldn’t qualify for reduced postage because of the size of their mail file can realize sizable savings when part of our multi-million-piece pool.”

Quad/Graphics opened its East Coast commingling center in April 2013. To date, the center has been located within the company’s state-of-the-art direct mail production facility in Westampton, N.J. The new center – a five-minute drive from the existing direct mail production facility – will start up in April 2014 and is expected to be fully operational in the third quarter.

Quad/Graphics’ East Coast commingling center is complemented by a Midwest commingling center in New Berlin, Wis., just west of Milwaukee.

APWU Opposes USPS Proposal to Slow Down Standard Mail

APWU Web News Article #034-14, Feb. 21, 2014

apwulogoIn a filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission on Feb. 20, the APWU strenuously opposed a USPS proposal to reduce service standards for Standard Mail. The USPS has asked the Commission for an advisory opinion on the proposal, which the USPS claims would alleviate a problem with heavy workloads on Monday by permitting delivery on Tuesday of Standard Mail that now is due to be delivered on Monday.

In its Brief to the PRC, APWU points out that this is another in a series of USPS cuts in service that cannot be justified by cost savings. The changes will cut service and force mailers to incur more costs, a pattern that has repeated itself as USPS has closed mail processing facilities. The APWU also pointed out that USPS has made no effort to justify the proposed service cuts by proving that USPS will save money.

The Postal Service has argued that the so-called “load levelling” effect of the proposed changes would make it possible for letter carriers to finish their routes earlier than they now do on Mondays. The AWPU has been critical of the USPS for causing letter carriers to be out late, often making deliveries after dark, because of previous facility closures and service cuts by USPS. Large mailers and mailer organizations also have been critical of the proposed service reductions.

APWU President Mark Dimondstein said, “It is ironic that the Postal Service is trying to justify more service cuts by referring to the problem of late carrier deliveries — a problem USPS caused by previous service cuts. There is no justification for these proposed cuts. The Postal Service cannot cut its way to financial health. It must expand and enhance service, not cut it.”

Harland Clarke Holdings Corp. to Acquire Valassis

Press release from Harland Clarke:

VALASSIS LOGOSan Antonio, Texas and Livonia, Michigan, December­ 18, 2013 – Harland Clarke Holdings Corp., a leading provider of best-in-class integrated payment solutions and marketing services, and Valassis (NYSE: VCI), a leader in intelligent media delivery, today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Harland Clarke Holdings will acquire Valassis.

Under the terms of the agreement, Harland Clarke Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Valassis for $34.04 per share in cash, representing a transaction value of approximately $1.84 billion. The transaction, which was unanimously approved by both the Valassis and Harland Clarke Holdings Boards of Directors, will be effected through a tender offer by a subsidiary of Harland Clarke Holdings for all of the shares of Valassis, followed by a merger of the acquisition subsidiary with and into Valassis. Read the rest of this entry »

Mailagra.ms launches Web-to-Print, Direct Mail Platform that turns your Instagram Photos into Postcards

time-square-adDENVER, Dec. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Denver startup launches a web-to-print, direct mail platform that allows users to turn their beloved Instagram photos into invitations, announcements, and holiday cards, while eliminating envelopes, addressing, licking, and stamping.  Users simply log into Mailagra.ms using their Instagram account; select the design of their choice, cherry pick their favorite Instagrams, and then upload or enter their mailing addresses. In as little as 24 hours, Mailagra.ms can be in route to family, friends, clients and customers.  Offering competitive rates, no minimums, and quick turns,Mailagra.ms launches just in time for your season’s greetings. Read the rest of this entry »

USPS program promotes mailing of product samples

WASHINGTON , May 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — If they try it, they’ll buy it. That’s the message the U.S. Postal Service is sending to consumer packaged goods companies and other marketers with its Product Samples mail promotion.

Designed to re-invigorate product sampling through the mail, the Product Samples promotion — running Aug.1 – Sept. 30, 2013 — gives marketers a 5-percent upfront postage discount on qualified mailings of product samples. Qualified samples must be trial-sized.

Registration for the Product Samples mail promotion is now open.

“Product sampling has a long, successful track record of building brand awareness and product demand, especially if the consumer receives the sample where the product will be used,” said Gary Reblin , vice president, New Products and Innovation. “Oftentimes, this is the home, and the best way to get product samples into the home is through the U.S. Mail.”

Product sampling is ideal for marketers of consumable goods such as snack foods, toiletries, laundry products — anything that is consumed and needs regular replacement.

The Product Samples promotion also is designed to raise awareness of the Postal Service’s new Simple Samples pricing in Standard Mail. Simple Samples offers flat-rate pricing, volume discounts, less stringent mail-preparation requirements and eliminates the need for outer packaging. Customers can use a mailing list or send samples to every house on a route.

“Simple Samples offers value to consumer packaged goods companies targeting prospective customers with trial-sized product samples,” said Reblin. “Just like the consumers who try their products, consumer packaged goods companies will love Simples Samples once they’ve tried it.”

For more information about the Product Samples promotion and other current mail promotions, visit https://www.usps.com/business/promotions-and-incentives.htm.

Quad/Graphics Makes Multimillion-Dollar Investment in Mail Processing Plants

quadSUSSEX, WI, April 2, 2013 – Quad/Graphics, Inc. (NYSE: QUAD), is strengthening its direct marketing platform and solutions this year with multimillion-dollar investments in mail processing, including creating two regional commingling centers to drive greater postal savings and efficiencies for direct mail marketers; investing in a new custom web press and other equipment upgrades in its Effingham, Ill., plant; and adding print capabilities to its Westampton, N.J., plant.

“Direct mail continues to be one of the most powerful ways to drive consumer response, and we have the solutions today’s marketers need to acquire and retain customers, and grow their business,” said Steve Jaeger, President of Quad/Graphics Direct Marketing. “With these new investments, we advance our commitment to helping direct marketers maximize the revenue from their print spend while minimizing their total cost of production and distribution.”

New Regional Commingling Centers
Quad/Graphics will enhance its well-established commingling capabilities with the creation of two new regional commingling centers: A Midwest center in New Berlin, Wis., and an East Coast center at its existing direct mail production plant in Westampton, N.J.

The commingling process merges individual mail pieces together to improve presort discounts and dropship savings, reducing postal handling and delivery time. “Postage is typically our clients’ single largest production-related expense and can be as much as 60 percent of their budget,” Jaeger said. “By consolidating direct mail volume into these two new mailing centers, Quad/Graphics will help our clients qualify for greater postal discounts.”

The Midwest commingling center will start up in May in a 225,000-square-foot building in New Berlin not far from Quad/Graphics’ other Southeastern Wisconsin facilities. “In the near future, we will add copalletization capabilities to this location to further enhance postal discounts for our clients,” Jaeger said.

The East Coast commingling center will start up later this month in the Westampton plant, and will support Quad/Graphics’ nearby direct marketing production facilities, newly acquired from Vertis.

Effingham and Westampton Plant Expansions
Quad/Graphics will add print capabilities to its Westampton plant and enhance Effingham’s platform with a new custom web offset press. In addition, equipment upgrades to other Effingham presses will allow the plant to produce promotional gaming pieces, such as scratch-off products.

 

The Effingham plant’s new custom web press, scheduled to start up by the end of the summer, is a highly productive and versatile, 11-unit double-web press featuring high output and maximum flexibility for producing complex mail pieces. Unique features include duplex inkjet capability so both sides of both webs can be personalized with coupons, barcodes and highly customized messaging to drive consumer engagement and elicit response. The 11 printing units allow complex combinations of PMS colors and varnish coatings. The press is modular, providing flexibility for inline finishing such as die-cutting, gluing and UV coatings that can be set up in any order depending on the job.

Two other presses at the Effingham plant, scheduled to start up in May, will be upgraded with equipment for game piece production. Enhancements to the plant’s variable imaging and inkjet capabilities are also planned, giving direct marketers more options to drive response.

The Westampton plant is in the process of adding print capabilities to complement the plant’s existing, advanced finishing operations. Quad/Graphics will relocate several laser printers and two forms presses from other Quad/Graphics’ direct marketing facilities.

“Quad/Graphics Direct Marketing is dedicated to offering the best, most sophisticated platform and direct mail solutions,” Jaeger said. “Our goal is to continually redefine the value we bring to the marketplace and be the best one-stop resource for our clients.”

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding, among other things, our current expectations about the Company’s future results, financial condition, goals, strategies, revenue, earnings, free cash flow, margins, prospects and/or outlook and are indicated by words or phrases such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “believe” and similar words or phrases. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause actual results to be materially different from those expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based largely on the Company’s expectations and judgments and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are unforeseeable and beyond our control.

The factors that could cause actual results to materially differ include, among others: the impact of significant overcapacity in the highly competitive commercial printing industry, which creates downward pricing pressure and fluctuating demand for printing services; the inability of the Company to reduce costs and improve operating efficiency rapidly enough to meet market conditions; the impact of electronic media and similar technological changes including digital substitution by consumers; the impact of changing future economic conditions; the failure to renew long-term contracts with clients on favorable terms or at all; the failure of clients to perform under long-term contracts due to financial or other reasons or due to client consolidation; the failure to successfully identify, manage, complete and integrate acquisitions and investments, including the integration of the operations of Vertis Holdings, Inc.; the impact of changes in postal rates, service levels or regulations; the impact of fluctuations in costs and the availability of raw materials; the impact of increased business complexity as a result of the Company’s entry into additional markets; the impact of regulatory matters and legislative developments or changes in laws, including changes in privacy and environmental laws; the ability of the Company to make the significant capital expenditures needed to remain technologically and economically competitive; the impact on Quad/Graphics class A common shareholders of a limited active market for Quad/Graphics common stock and the inability to independently elect directors or control decisions due to the class B common stock voting rights; and the other risk factors identified in the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as such may be amended or supplemented by subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Except as required by the federal securities laws, the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
About Quad/Graphics
Quad/Graphics (NYSE: QUAD), a leading global printer and media channel integrator, is redefining print in today’s multichannel media world by helping marketers and publishers capitalize on print’s ability to complement and connect with other media channels. With consultative ideas, worldwide capabilities, leading-edge technology and single-source simplicity, Quad/Graphics has the resources and knowledge to help its clients maximize the revenue they derive from their marketing spend through channel integration, and minimize their total cost of production and distribution through a fully integrated national distribution network. The Company provides a diverse range of print solutions, media solutions and logistics services from multiple locations throughout North America, Latin America and Europe.

 

Quad/Graphics and USPS Redefine the Digital Mail Experience

SAN FRANCISCO, March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Quad/Graphics, a leading global printer and media channel integrator, was recognized by the U.S. Postal Service this week for excellence in driving technology innovation and supporting growth for the mailing industry. Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer, Patrick R. Donahoe presented the inaugural Partnership for Growth award to Quad/Graphics at the annual National Postal Forum. Read the rest of this entry »

Video: How Digital Catalogs are Changing Ecommerce Behaviors

Ben Choi, co-founder and CEO at Coffee Table, sits down with Tim Parry, senior content manager at Multichannel Merchant, at NEMOA directXchange 2013. In this video, Choi discusses the role catalogs – digital and paper – are playing as ecommerce drivers, the habits of cross-device shoppers, and how insight and data about mobile shoppers can be applied toward the catalog industry.

Read more: How Digital Catalogs are Changing Ecommerce Behaviors #NEMOA #video @ShopCoffeeTable.

USPS opens registration for direct mail promotions

From USPS News Link:

Doing business with USPS has become an even better deal thanks to new promotions targeting direct mailers.

With the Direct Mail Mobile Coupon/Click-to-Call promotion, business customers receive an upfront 2 percent postage discount when they integrate mobile coupons or click-to-call technologies into their direct mail campaigns.

“Direct mail coupons that can be redeemed on a mobile device are a great way to get consumers to interact with brands and drive business results,” said New Products and Innovation VP Gary Reblin. “It’s the perfect combination for customer acquisition and retention.”

Click-to-call is a Web-based communication tool that allows consumers to make a phone call by clicking a button, opening images or text on websites, or enabling use of other Internet-connected icons such as 2-D barcodes.

Registration now is open for the Direct Mail Mobile Coupon/Click-to-Call promotion, which runs March 1-April 30, 2013.

A second promotion, Earned Value Reply Mail, provides First-Class Mail business customers with a 2-cent credit for returned reply pieces that can be used to pay for postage on future mailings.

Registration also is now open for this promotion, which runs April 1-June 30, 2013.

More information on both promotions is available on usps.com.