on Jul 29th, 2013 in Products & Services | 9 comments
 

The U.S. Postal Service uses a variety of strategies and media – including direct mail, television, radio, and sponsorships – to advertise, market, and promote its products and services. These efforts also help to build brand awareness for the Postal Service. Some campaigns have succeeded, such as the Priority Mail Flat Rate box campaign, “If it fits, it ships®.” Other efforts have been less successful.

Over the years, the Postal Service has faced an advertising conundrum. Some have complained that a government monopoly shouldn’t be spending money to advertise. Others have grumbled that the Postal Service isn’t doing enough to promote its products and services, particularly compared to its competitors. Certainly, the Postal Service’s current financial condition restricts its advertising budget. Then, there have been concerns about how well the Postal Service has managed and monitored advertising contracts, which one of our audit reports documented earlier this year. The Postal Service took corrective actions and has new contracts in place.

Undoubtedly, we live in an age of competitive advertising. Every product the Postal Service has faces competition, even the monopoly products. The Postal Service needs to use advertising to promote its products, services, and the brand itself. The question might be: What is the most effective way for the Postal Service to advertise? Should campaigns focus on traditional media, or focus on new media, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube?

The Postal Service’s upcoming launch of an ad campaign might provide insights on the best possible strategy. It plans to kick off a nationwide multi-channel advertising campaign in August to promote its Priority Mail changes, which include a “simplification” of Priority Mail services and a name change for Express Mail. For some customers, the new longer name of Priority Mail Express, and the revised Priority Mail service offerings of 1-, 2- or 3-days might actually seem more complicated than simplified. A successful advertising campaign would reduce that confusion.

Share your thoughts on the Postal Service’s advertising strategy and its recent campaigns. How effective have they been? What changes would you like to see?

9 Comments


I believe changing the name from Express Mail to Priority Mail Express will cause confusion not only by changing the name, but with clerks at the retail counter happening to explain the difference between the two options (Express mail the old way and priority mail express). I am already confused and I work for the organization. Let's keep the old name and maybe just internally call it something different. Today's customers are already in a hurry when they visit our facilities and changes ususally cause people to have to slow down and grasp what is being said. Some customers simply want have time to learn of the Postal's Service newest advertising campaign, oh, not really new, just a name change. Not good for improving service and satisfying the customer.

The Postal Service should not change the name of the products. Too confusing.

The Postal Service should definitely advertise and promote their core services. I see nothing wrong with traditional advertising as well as social media/internet. I think sponserships of sports and the like, say NASCAR, or other racing teams should probably be reserved for times when their budget is not in the red. Not that those methods can not be successful. It just gives the wrong message to the public during hard financial times.
Do not rename a product that already has huge recognition with the public. One of the biggest failings in the postal product market is that the USPS makes their products too difficult for the public to understand. Take a lesson from Ford. Create a new vehicle but give it the name people already know and like. Do not take your lesson from the IRS by "simplifying" which makes everything more complex. Your adverising money would be better spent bringing in cusomers, rather than trying to retrain the public on how to use an existing repackaged product.

I THINK THE WAY TO ADVERTISE IS STILL WORD OF MOUTH BY EMPLOYEES. WE KNOW OUR CUSTOMERS:} WE KNOW HOW TO TALK TO THEM, WE JUST NEED TO OPEN UP A COUPLE OF CUSTOMERS A WEEK AND DO IT. I RECENTLY DECIDED TO, ONE OF MY FIRST LEADS GAVE US APPROX. $45,000 A YEAR MOSTLY EXPRESS. WHY? BECAUSE I WAS HONEST AND TOLD THEM. LET ME HAVE ONE OF OUR "EXPERTS GIVE YOU A CALL, IF ANYONE CAN WORK FOR YOU, THEY CAN". JACKPOT!

The Postal Service should continue to focus on traditional media, but at the same time increase the use of new media, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to reach Gen Y or the Millennials (1984- 2002), and current Gen Z or the Digital Generation 2003. The other companies all over the nation are doing it, so should the Postal Service!!

Call it what it is. Don't call it what it aint. It aint Priority Mail. If they want to add more clarity to the product, then call it "Overnight Express Mail" or "Next-Day Express Mail". Even the younger generation can get that. I'll bet all those thousands of clerks are gonna be doin a lota xplanin.

I agree this is the age of competitive advertising. The Postal Service has competitive products just like other businesses why shouldn’t they be allowed to advertise. They need to promote the products and, services, as well as brand itself. I believe it is a must, they have to use advertising to gain the advantage. Traditional media works and focusing on new media advertising will definitely be effective for the Postal Service. .

Whenever a company appoints a new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), it seems he/she needs to make a mark by firing the incumbent ad agency and changing brand names to demonstrate that they are doing something new. "If it fits, it ships" was a powerful Priority Mail campaign created by the Postal Service's former ad agency, that was fired by the new CMO. The new campaign is bland and the product re-branding confusing. Too bad the CMO didn't simply leave the former campaign alone, appreciating that it was working.

The various Postal Services need to be promoted and advertise its various features to the utmost so that people could know more about the service and ascertain the required knowledgeable information.
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