National Postal Museum plans exhibit telling the story of the mailing industry

On August 20, 1958, Lester and Irving Wunderman, Ed Ricotta, and Harry Kline hunkered down at the Hotel Winslow in New York and turned the U.S. Mail into one of the world’s most powerful marketing channels. The very first direct mail agency, Wunderman, Ricotta & Kline, helped launch the Columbia Record Club, the first customer rewards program (for American Express), and, ultimately, the ZIP Code. Lester Wunderman’s notion that direct marketing could rival advertising as a way to establish brands and super-charge sales also had a profound effect on the fortunes of the Post Office Department.

The Postal Museum, housed in Washington, DC’s old main Post Office near Capitol Hill, is now laying the groundwork for telling the complex and significant story of the mailing industry. A website is under construction, and the museum hopes to have a full-blown exhibit in place within the next two or three years.

Read more: (requires free registration) The Story of the Mailing Industry Is Begging to Be Told – Direct Marketing News.

Marketers Giving Mail A Fresh Look, Says Postmaster General


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 РHarland 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. Continue reading