USPS risks print industry "distrust" with direct mail trial

The US Postal Service risks distrust among its supporters in the printing industry, with a new initiative designed to promote the use of mail as a marketing channel among small businesses. A major industry group has written to the US Postmaster General, Patrick Donahoe, complaining that the a new USPS Direct Mail Hub pilot programme is promoting a select few printing and mailing companies, while excluding others.

Printing Industries of America, which describes itself as the world’s largest trade association for printing companies, said the US Postal Service was leading the nation’s small businesses to make use of only a “very narrow” selection of direct mail suppliers.

The pilot, available via the uspsdmhub.com website, seeks to simplify the direct mail process by offering small businesses the necessary tools and partners to run a promotional campaign.

But the PIA said potential mailers were only being encouraged to use Florida-based printer-mailer Directmail2go.com,
or California-based printer portal DirectMailQuotes.com, while there was also a database of local printers which it described as “very narrow”.

Distrust

Michael Makin, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh-based industry group, which represents 10,000 members, backed the desire by the Postal Service to simplify the direct mail process for small businesses.

But in his letter, he urged the Postmaster General not to exclude other printer/mailers that could also provide such capabilities.

“Unfortunately, favouring some providers over others feeds the distrust of the Postal Service among our members; many will view this as a demonstration that the Postal Service is not considering fully the success of its long-standing partners,” he wrote.

“There are fine printing companies in every city in the country ready to assist direct mail advertisers.”

USPS Direct Mail Hub was launched in July, to be piloted in Austin, Texas, and in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.

The companies providing services through the Hub were selected via a competitive process. Targeted particularly at small businesses that have not previously used the mail to promote their services, as with the summer’s other USPS initiative designed to encourage advertising mail volumes – Every Door Direct Mail – it has drawn criticism from USPS partners who believe it is competing for their existing custom.

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1 Comment

  1. Steve Falk

    We have a similar issue here in Canada. The Post Office is not only creating a list of Partners but then sets up competing businesses that will challenge the “Partners” in their own area of commerce. Luckily the big corporation usually provides mediocre service when it tests these waters but it still raises concerns about how they use their client information to compete and why they are even in this area of work.

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