Out of the Mailbox: Alternatives to Reaching Consumers At Home

Direct mail is a multimillion dollar business in the US and a usual fixture in most direct marketing programs. However, according to DMNews, the changing nature of the USPS and emerging customer communications technology have forced marketers to consider new alternatives for reaching consumers at home.

Despite the Postal Regulatory Commission denying the Postal Service’s request for a rate increase, marketers are still planning for higher postal rates in the future (the USPS reported last month that it is looking to appeal Commission’s decision), the cutting of Saturday home delivery, fewer Post Office branches, and the possibility that the USPS will be out of money in 2011.

What this means for marketers is that not only will direct mail access to consumers homes be more expensive, but marketers will miss out on the chance to influence consumers at home on Saturday, one of the biggest retail shopping days.

In an effort to diversify their media mix and decrease their reliance on US mail, some marketers are moving towards an online solution, which has been propelled by recent mobile commerce innovations such as mobile payments. However, Paul Vogel, president of mailing and shipping services at the USPS, warns that inboxes and social media messages are becoming increasingly cluttered.

Making the move from out of the mailbox and into the inbox doesn’t solve for the age-old problem of increasing advertising clutter. If marketers are looking for a true alternative, front-door marketing gives consumers the touch and feel of a direct mail piece, but without the clutter of the mailbox or inbox.

Change is inevitable for the USPS, and marketers should consider how these changes will affect their future marketing plans and place renewed emphasis on finding alternative options to reaching consumers at home.