Opt-out tool launched for USPS simplified direct mail service

The direct marketing industry in the United States has launched a new tool allowing consumers to opt out of the US Postal Service’s new simplified local saturation mail service, Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM). USPS has been trialling EDDM since last year, and in July filed with regulators to make the programme a permanent service.

It already has 32,000 businesses registered to use it to send flyers, coupons and other promotional material to local customers through the mail, without needing to provide lists of individual names and addresses.

And, the Postal Service aims to considerably expand the service across the country to help boost revenues and counter the financial impact of declining transactional mail volumes.

Yesterday the Direct Marketing Association launched a new suppression tool as part of its existing DMAchoice.org service, to allow the EDDM service to take account of consumers opting out of receiving direct marketing through their mailbox.

Senny Boone, the DMA senior vice president of corporate and social responsibility, said: “The expanded EDDM opt-ot service bolsters DMAchoice by adding a new component for local printers and marketers who want to do the right thing, and honour consumer choice to opt out of EDDM.

“This tool is good for business, helps consumers with their mail choices, and builds consumer confidence in the mail.”

Boone told Post&Parcel that consumers who are already signed up to its DMAchoice.org opt-out facility, and have chosen to opt out of the “other” category of mail, which includes unaddressed mail, will already be included on the list of opt-outs for EDDM.

Other consumers can opt out through the DMAchoice.org website.

The DMA said that in the EDDM service, commercial mailers provide “facing sheets” detailing instructions for letter carriers and a barcode for processing their mailings. The new suppression tool adds the addresses of individuals opting out of the service to those facing sheets, so carriers can exclude them from the delivery.

“Inexpensive and very effective”

US Postal Service figures from last week show that the Every Door Direct Mail service brought in nearly 141m pieces of mail in the three months up to the end of June 2012, with the average business mailing amounting to just over 2,000 pieces.

The service aims to provide small businesses in the US with everything they need to put together a local mailing campaign, without having to have specialised marketing expertise.

EDDM is currently based on a 14.7 cent per piece saturation mail rate, but when it becomes permanent USPS is aiming to increase the retail price to 16c per piece.

As well as allowing customers to use a simple online system to select which delivery routes are required, the EDDM platform also puts customers in touch with local printing and marketing partners to produce the mail pieces.

The requirement for mailers is that they provide enough mail pieces to reach every single door on their chosen delivery routes.

The DMA says the service is an “inexpensive and very effective way” for small businesses to advertise their products and services.

The Association noted that USPS did include a process within the service allowing businesses to exclude mail items from certain mailboxes, but said consumers have not been told how to opt out of the service, and there has been no central repository for consumer opt outs until now. USPS has in the past advised that consumers wanting to opt out of the service should contact the individual businesses sending them promotional mail to be taken off their lists.

The DMA said it is now working with USPS, local printers and marketers to encourage use of its new consumer EDDM opt-out system.

“If an individual has chosen to opt out of additional promotional mail, that choice should be honored by the mailer,” explained Boone. “The mailer can then focus their efforts and resources on those who have not opted out.”

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