The bond between direct mail and digital marketing is getting a lot tighter with the roll-out of Informed Delivery™ from the USPS®. What started out as an east coast pilot project involving 1,500 zip codes will soon expand nationwide to 31,000 by the May-June timeframe.
A Taste of Informed Delivery™
Rather than tell you what Informed Delivery™ is, let me describe it to you: Imagine waking up in the morning, grabbing a cup of coffee and then settling in at your computer to read email and organize your day. With some anticipation, you notice an email from a trusted resource - the USPS®. Click on it, and a well-organized page appears that provides you with images of ten physical mail pieces you will soon receive in your mailbox down the street. As you scroll, you notice some images are grayscale photos of envelopes addressed to you that also show you who sent them. One is from the power company and one is an image of a postcard from a friend who’s taking a trip overseas. The third one is different and more inviting. At once, you notice there are actually two images in color from your favorite online fashion store. One image is of a model wearing a new coat and a second image offers that same coat for 30% for the next few days. Click the coupon image, and the retailer’s website appears ready for you to order that new coat today. A couple of days later, you receive the original, eye-catching direct mail postcard and look with excitement at the new coat you’ll soon receive.
That was just one scenario to help you envision Informed Delivery™ and its benefits. There are many more. Here’s another: You’re “on the go” a lot and only make it to the mailbox once or twice each week. While waiting for a flight to your next destination, you catch-up and connect with home in a novel way by opening your mobile USPS® Informed Delivery™ app. Browsing through the images, you see an image of an appointment reminder postcard from your dentist that somehow you had completely overlooked. Confused, you scroll through your smartphone calendar but don’t find it. Alerted to the possibility of being a “no show” and charged a fee, you call the dentist’s office and make an appointment for another day when you’re back in town.
From the first scenario, you can see that the USPS®’s Informed Delivery™ is a consumer-facing service that integrates physical mail with digital marketing. However, the second scenario shows that there’s more in store for residences across America. For example, consider the disabled and elderly. Many have challenges making it to the mailbox without assistance. An email preview of what’s coming will be a welcomed convenience.