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Why Targeting Audiences is Crucial – The Direct Mail List

Direct Mail list blog image PamBy Pam Wellnitz, List Services

 


What is the most common use of a direct marketing/direct mail database?

Possibly the most common use of a direct marketing database is to generate a target list for a business’s direct mail campaigns.  Direct mail provides companies with the ability to target and define markets with customized offers for a demographic.

target market your direct mail list

 

Direct mail has a number of advantages, including:

Target recipients can be identified very precisely.

Because of targeting, only a desired audience will respond, enabling your business to provide service which will be of the most mutual benefit. On the contrary, let’s say you decided to run a great advertisement without any targeting. Though this may bring a lot of response, your business might not yet be prepared for a huge surge of customers at once. For a smaller company or franchise, a flood of response to an ad can potentially be more disastrous than zero response. Why? Because an

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Seamless Acceptance Automates Mail Verification Process

It’s now OFFICIAL!

“This email is to inform you that Primenet, a DMU mailer located in the Suncoast District is being on-boarded to Seamless Acceptance program effective 11/1/17.”   -USPS Mailing Standards Specialist|Suncoast District

It was a long approval process to officially begin the Seamless Acceptance process, but we did it!


PrimeNet has gone Seamless!

In most verification environments, mail is currently verified manually by a USPS acceptance associate before entry and finalization. The acceptance associate performs a cursory review, collects full service initial verification mail samples, conducts requested in-depth verifications, and finalizes a postage statement. Mail can be released only after this process is complete, and it takes time – but with Seamless Acceptance, that crucial time gap is greatly reduced.seamless acceptance diagram image

What does Seamless Acceptance mean for my company?

Seamless Acceptance will automate the verification process – streamlining and speeding up entry verifications. This results in a standardized acceptance and verification process for all mail preparers, regardless of their production process, and eliminates the need for Special Postage Payment Systems. There is a single streamlined standard operating procedure for acceptance employees to follow for verification. Manual scans will still be collected to capture weight, postage payment, and content eligibility. All gathered scans will be compared to the electronic documentation (eDoc) submitted and results will be displayed on the Mailer Scorecard.

The Seamless Acceptance process does not require in depth up-front manual verification at either the Detached Mail Unit (DMU) or the Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU). This allows PrimeNet to have a longer production cycle as only random sampling is performed at the DMU or BMEU pre-induction. Current time-consuming manual verifications, such as the Mail Piece Count Verification (MPCV), will no longer be required under Seamless Acceptance. In fact, most verifications are fully automated based on eDoc and mail processing equipment (MPE) scans. Acceptance associates will manually capture data including weight, postage payment type and content eligibility during the sampling process which will be compared to the eDoc to determine discrepancies.

With Seamless Acceptance, PrimeNet will also be able to perform our own Drop Shipment Management System (DSMS) releases and clearances alleviating the need to wait for an acceptance associate to release mailings.

All of this means that your mail will enter the postal system more quickly, which is especially important for time sensitive mailings.

For more information on how our adoption of the Seamless Acceptance process can benefit your business, give us a call at 1-800-826-2869.

 

 


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We’re Proud to Support MOCA’s Cause

As a major direct mail provider in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, PrimeNet is proud to support MOCA, the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance. We hope you will too.

Formed in 1999 by a group of ovarian cancer survivors, MOCA now counts more than 1,000 survivors as members.  To find out more about MOCA, follow this link.

MOCA 2017 Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance Fund Raiser Mailing

 

Since the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance was founded in 1999, their mission has been to:

  • Create an awareness regarding early warning signs that may be indicative of ovarian cancer.
  • Create and promote resources for support, networking and education for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and their families.
  • Unite and educate individuals, the medical community and organizations to achieve earlier diagnosis, better treatment and a cure for ovarian cancer.
  • Advance ovarian cancer research toward earlier diagnosis, better treatment, and a cure.

We at PrimeNet feel strongly that MOCA is an Alliance that can provide help and support resources to those who seek assistance, and we are proud to support their cause.

If you wish to support MOCA, please visit their donation page here.


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USPS Finance News: 2017 Year-End Results Reported

fl direct mail blog image


November 14, 2017

USPS Finances:  2017 Year-End Results Reported

“The U.S. Postal Service reported revenue of $69.6 billion for fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016 – September 30, 2017), a decrease of $1.8 billion compared to the prior year. The lower revenues were driven largely by accelerated declines in First-Class and Marketing Mail volumes.

“Our financial situation is serious, though solvable,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. “There is a path to profitability and long-term financial stability. We are taking actions to control costs and compete effectively for revenues in addition to legislative and regulatory reform. We continue to optimize our network, enhance our products and services, and invest to better serve the American public.”

Brennan stressed that the path forward for a financially stable future must also include urgent actions needed outside of the Postal Service’s control. They include advancement and passage of the postal reform provisions contained in H.R. 756 in the 115th Congress and the adoption by the Postal Regulatory Commission of a new pricing system as part of its 10-year pricing review, enabling the Postal Service to generate sufficient revenues to cover our costs.
CLICK HERE for the complete financial report.”

Quoted from USPS.COM

 

usps news for direct mail

 


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PRC Approves Proposed Competitive Rate Price Changes for January 2018

direct mail blog FL, Jack


USPS INDUSTRY ALERT:
PRC Approves Proposed Competitive Rate Price Changes for January 2018

On October 6, 2017 the Postal Service filed notice with the PRC concerning changes in prices for competitive products. Yesterday, the PRC approved the proposed changes which are scheduled to take effect on January 21, 2018.

The full order is available on the PRC’s website: www.prc.gov

 2018 proposed postage rates

The full order is available on the PRC’s website: www.prc.gov


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Minnesota Direct Mail Center, PrimeNet Promotes New Plant Manager

direct mail blog image

We are pleased to announce Scott Sabelko’s promotion to Plant Manager in Shakopee, MN. Scott has been working with PrimeNet for three years now, and has expanded his direct mail production expertise and responsibility during this time!

Scott has a management background at Mystic Lake Casino, where he worked as a Head Chef, managing of a team of 40 staff members. He has proven his fast-paced management and highly efficient leadership skills with PrimeNet, where he now leads our Minnesota team!

We are delighted to have Scott on board in this role.


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USPS Announces New Prices for 2018

U.S. Postal Service Announces New Prices for 2018
Penny Increase for the Forever Stamp

USPS-Industry-Alert

 

 


Vanessa Blog Image 2015 Hurricane Season

The USPS filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on October 6th of price changes to take effect Jan. 21, 2018. The new prices, if approved, include a one cent increase for the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp from 49 cents to 50 cents.

Postcard stamps and metered letters would also have a one cent increase. This filing does not include any price change for single-piece letters being mailed to international destinations or for additional ounces for letters.

The proposed prices would raise Mailing Services product prices approximately 1.9 percent, and most Shipping Services products will average a 3.9 percent price increase. While Mailing Services price increases are limited based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Shipping Services prices are adjusted strategically, according to market conditions and the need to maintain affordable services for customers.

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The proposed Mailing Services price changes include:

Letters, (1 oz.) – 49 cents, increase to 50 cents
Letters, additional ounces-  21 cents, remains at 21 cents
Letters (metered) – 46 cents, increase to 47 cents
Outbound International Letters – (1 oz.) $1.15, remains at $1.15
Domestic Postcards – 34 cents, increase to 35 cents

New Shipping Services product prices would increase Priority Mail 3.9 percent and Priority Mail Retail an average of 0.8 percent. As in the past, the Postal Service will not include surcharges for fuel, residential delivery, or regular Saturday delivery.

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The proposed domestic Priority Mail Flat Rate Retail price changes are:

Small Flat Rate Box – $7.15, increase to $7.20
Medium Flat Rate Box – $13.60, increase to $13.65
Large Flat Rate Box – $13.60, increase to $13.65
APO/FPO Large Flat Rate Box – $17.35, increase to $17.40
Regular Flat Rate Envelope – $6.65, increase to $6.70
Legal Flat Rate Envelope – $6.95, increase to $7.00
Padded Flat Rate Envelope – $7.20, increase to $7.25

The PRC will review the prices before they are scheduled to take effect on Jan. 21, 2018. The complete Postal Service price filings with the new prices for all products can be found on the PRC site under the Daily Listings section at https://www.prc.gov/dockets/daily. For the Mailing Services filing see Oct. 6, 2017, Docket No. R2018-1. For the Shipping Services filing see Oct. 6, 2017, Docket No. CP2018-8.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.


From USPS:

2018 Price Change Filing Webinars
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 3 p.m. (EDT)
Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 2 p.m. (EDT)

Please join Sharon Owens, VP, Pricing and Costing and Steve Monteith, VP, Marketing on Wednesday, October 11 at 3 p.m. (EDT) or Thursday October 12 at 2 p.m. (EDT) for a high-level overview of the 2018 Price Change filing. Attendees will have an opportunity to submit questions to the panel during this webinar. If you would like to submit your questions before the call, you can submit them to IndustryFeedback@usps.gov.   Details below:

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Tips for Advertising After a Natural Disaster Recovery Period

direct mail for natural disasters blue hurricane icon In the aftermath of the recent Hurricanes, sales can take a downward turn despite your perceived best advertising efforts. But they don’t have to! Why? It comes down to sensitivity and delivering the right message to the right demographic. For direct mail, that may simply mean altering your scheduled message to include post-disaster resource information as soon as an event is predicted, and an emotionally sensitive, useful follow up after mail delivery service restoration.

It’s important to think about shifting your marketing in response to serious events.

Residents in areas where natural disasters are prone to happen tend to be keen on planning ahead. Whether we’re talking about earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, brush fires or tornadoes, when they do happen, the impact on daily life can be so severe that advanced preparation is critical.

Marketers don’t typically think about this unless they are in a prone area themselves. We hope to shed some light on the issue and help you with some tips for advertising pre, during and post natural disaster.

For utilities businesses, a natural disaster boosts business activity as crews respond to outages. However, in many situations, marketers are likely to put the brakes on regular marketing efforts since marketing to customers at the time of outages can be seen as pointless. BUT natural disasters can provide important opportunities to communicate unique, relevant messages to those who are preparing for, or have fallen victim to a natural disaster. In fact, if planned and executed properly, your outreach during disaster periods can deliver a brand experience these folks will appreciate and remember.

Being proactive in your planning approach to post-disaster marketing is key to understanding the role your message can play in maintaining customer satisfaction in these tough times. This process includes:

*Understanding geographical trends so you can identify possible events that could occur in your marketing territory

*Learning how people use different channels of media during and after a natural disaster

*Considering media redirection strategies that will help open communications channels for immediate needs to minimize potential losses from advertising that has already been contracted

Here are a few considerations for a natural disaster marketing plan:

Know the geographical event areas and probability calendar.

Make sure you brush up on which areas you serve are more prone to specific types of natural disasters. For example, hurricanes are most common near the Gulf and East coasts. Central Texas to Nebraska is known as Tornado Alley, and earthquakes have the most common occurrence in Coastal California, Oregon and Washington State. Of course, each type of natural disaster will affect people differently and the recovery activity that follows one type of disaster will look very different from another. Knowing how the landscape is likely to be affected will help you come up with scenarios that can possibly occur and shape the communication frameworks that are needed to address each separately.

Disaster planning, from an advertising point of view, becomes much more important to campaigns that are typically scheduled for the months when the disasters are more likely to occur. For example: Tornadoes are most common from March to May. Atlantic hurricane season runs from late May to November. Wildfires are most common in the summer,because of heat, droughts and winds. While flooding occurs year-round, there is a bit of seasonality based on things like snow melt and coastal storms. Earthquakes, are unfortunately not seasonal, so tentative planning is crucial.

Google has a useful tool to show early watches and warnings for specific areas: www.google.org/crisismap/weather_and_events

google disaster map screenshot 2017-late-sept

Google Disaster Map Sample

Learn to adapt your media utilization to changes in consumer use.

The big ‘wild card’ a natural disaster introduces into campaign planning: consumer media usage. Most marketers have a good idea of how their target audience uses different media from day to day. But not nearly as much is known about how media use curves when disaster strikes.

Right before an event, it’s been shown that television local broadcast channel usage increases most, followed by social media and radio, accounting for over 75% of media consumption during this time. Then, during a natural disaster, TV and internet usage drops when signals cut out, while radio, mobile devices, and word of mouth increase. Mobile device usage has been shown to more than triple, mainly due to loss of power. After an event, radio is typically the first medium people turn to for information, even after power returns. But TV and internet usage quickly recoup as recovery begins.

Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter have become the go-to for millions of people, making social media a major media resource during recovery efforts following natural disasters. Approximately 76% of US natural disaster survivors use social media to contact friends and family posting images and sharing stories of their experiences.

Common hashtags seen during recovery periods include:  #NoFuel #NoGas #PowerLineDown #FoundGas #PowerOut

Companies and charities can leverage social media as an effective way to locate people in need of help. In addition to providing updates on power outages and anticipated return of service, utility companies in particular can partner with government, relief agencies and local minimally affected businesses to extend their traditional customer support and emergency response. Customers will appreciate the community message that “we’re in this together” and “here to help” long after the disaster, which will result in improved customer satisfaction and value.

Redirect your previously scheduled media.

There are a few best practices you can follow to ensure that when disaster hits, your response is relevant and effective.

Pause.

Planned marketing activities, such as media placements that are ready to deliver, may need to be put on hold. This allows you to shift your resources to marketing activities to support disaster communications.

Plan and develop criteria ahead of time to make it easier to decide which events would prompt you to cancel or pause a campaign, or interrupt a campaign with new content specific to disaster support.

Know your cancellation or change policies for media used in each campaign, as well as the process and timing requirements to replace campaign content.

Have relevant alternative messages and pre-packaged content ready to go, in case you are unable to cancel a media schedule or wish to update your advertising to highlight disaster sensitivity and useful information. Use flexible formatting for your content so that you can easily insert relevant copy into key messages.

Maintain your database of current contacts from each media vendor to ensure 24/7 vendor availability.

Have a database of contingency vendors in case your usual partners are affected by the disaster and need to temporarily close for business.

Ramp Up.

Pre-planning is critical to maintaining, even increasing communications on the fly.

Understand ahead of time, your local media options and the geographic coverage they can provide before, during and after an event. Natural disasters rarely match up with marketing and demographic schedules, so you should stay abreast of the effective coverage – and associated waste – that will occur with each media option.

Pre-negotiate rates and schedules that can be quickly activated if needed for contingencies.

Build a creative toolbox of pre-formatted messages you can adapt to varying circumstances, and be certain that your messaging is sensitive to your audience’s recovery period.

Maintain a list of relevant hashtags for your social media usage so that you can search for opportunities and extend your reach. The White House, FEMA and U.S. Department of Energy have standardized hashtags: #PowerLineDown, #NoFuel and #GotFuel to enable citizens to report downed power lines or whether a gas station has fuel. The Weather Channel has committed to publicizing these hashtags to its audience.

Develop partnerships with federal and local entities and cause-based companies to plan how you can work together to support shared agendas.

The bottom line of natural disaster advertising:

Natural disasters can arrive with little to no warning. By knowing when they may be more likely to hit, and how the public use of media changes in the moments of an event, you can be ready with a good communication plan. This may mean jumping right into action or waiting for the right moment to return to regularly scheduled marketing.

Planning ahead with your marketing will help you make informed and logical decisions when there is little time to shift your message.

 


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