on Jun 4th, 2012 in Products & Services | 14 comments
Following the success of the Priority Mail ® Flat Rate Box® advertising campaign, the U.S. Postal Service has decided to use the “If it fits, it ships” letter carrier (actor and comedian Mike Bradecich) as the public face for one of its newest products, Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM). The campaign’s new tag line, “Every home, every address, every time” describes the new product’s main advantage: small businesses can target every address in their local area without having to provide every name and address. EDDM is a different product than the Flat Rate Box because it’s geared toward small business customers. The Flat Rate Box is intended for both individuals and businesses. One of the new television commercials points out the value of direct mail for small businesses over other types of advertising options like billboards. This message is intended to appeal to local businesses, like restaurants and doctor’s offices, which may not advertise much to begin with and face tough decisions about where to put their limited advertising dollars. It remains to be seen whether a mass media advertising campaign is the best way to bring these small businesses into direct mail, even if supplemented with direct mail and online advertising. Check out two of the new television advertisements: Official USPS Chicken Commercial Official USPS Billboard Commercial The main message in the campaign is simplicity. Businesses no longer need mailing lists, and they can drop off their mail (up to 5,000 pieces) at their local post office instead of Business Mail Entry Units. Given the smaller audience and the larger cost for this product, it remains to be seen if EDDM will be as well received as Priority Mail, but the Postal Service appears to believe this product has potential. Revenues for EDDM since April 2011 (when the product was introduced) have grown rapidly and could increase as the economy continues to improve. The advertisements began running in April on TV and the campaign will include print, radio, and direct mail. So, tell us what you think about this new advertising campaign. Have you seen the new advertisements? How do you think this advertising campaign compares to the Priority Mail campaign? Does it do a good job of addressing the needs of small businesses?


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The fatal flaw with this approach is, instead of determining the right course of action for each mailer based on their needs, the USPS is pushing one product like EDDM as the panacea for all ills, and it is not the right way to go for most. EDDM takes current mail out of the mailstream and downgrades it, which the USPS coincidentally does not measure in it's formula for determining EDDM "success". It also casts valuable items like mailing lists and mail service providers in a bad light, unnecessarily. It is like a Ford Escort commercial that says "buy an Escort, it is way better than a junky old Ford Focus".

The ad campaign should be about the value of DIRECT MAIL as a whole, not just one product. And it shouldn't use negative messages about the other products and services to sell EDDM, even if EDDM isn't the RIGHT direct mail product for that particular mailer and mailing.

Way to go, Lisa. You are RIGHT!

I would think the USPS would be better served advertising all forms of Direct Mail, not just one product that they offer. While EDDM does have some value for some customers, it is certainly not a "one sized fits all" program. For the USPS to only push EDDM, and not all forms of Direct Mail advertising is a disservice to them as well as the mailing public. Personalized lists and targeted mailings far and away are better fits for many businesses looking to reach new clients based on the ability to target exactly those qualifications that a company is looking for, based on their current client base.

I think the USPS has assumed that no one is serving these small mailers of 5,000 pieces or less. For us, in our area, these are our core clients. Every time the USPS markets to these small mailers they get the message that they don't need our services, and/or what we provide is "too expensive". It ignores the fact that targeted mail campaigns are more successful than the EDDM "shotgun" approach but the repetitive USPS ads make it appear that the good advice we give our clients aobut targeting their marketing is wrong.

We have long-time clients who are considering EDDM as a cost-saving measure and I can't count how many potential prospects we may have lost due to this advertising. I believe the "new mailers" that the USPS is tallying up are actually mailers that have migrated away from services like ours and they aren't really "new" at all. As a mailing services provider we feel the USPS is "biting the hand that feeds them".

We have to play by all the rules to ensure our clients' mailings are accepted at the BMEU, yet we receive EDDM pieces in the mail that are not within EDDM size and thickness specifications. The retail clerks aren't bulk mail clerks so the just accept anything that comes in - this is not a level playing field. When I let my postmaster know about the pieces that are not meeting EDDM specifications I get a reply that "we noticed the mistake and it has been handled appropriately". At the BMEU when there's a mistake the mail is rejected ... but, again, at the retail counter the USPS takes the money and mails the piece regardless of whether it meets specifications or not.

Dropping mailing volumes have already impacted our ability to stay in business - EDDM just hurts us more.

I believe that EDDM creates a false picture of its 'advantages' and is not productive for the USPS as well as directly injurous to the mailing and fufullment industry that supports the USPS.

The USPS sales staff has aggresively pursued some of our existing clients who already use the saturation mail model. So far we have convinced them, with solid reasoning, that EDDM is not a good fit for their business. It's to the point though that our clients are beginning to wonder if we are acting in their best interests taking into account the USPS's generally excellent brand recognition. The bottom line is that if the USPS 'converts' my client(s) the USPS ends up with a zero sum increase in revenue at the same time materially injuring our business--and at the expense of not optimizing service to the end client.

There is no mechanism in the USPS to determine what is 'new' business driven by EDDM or a regurgitation of what the USPS already has. I would guess that the actual ROI on the EDDM promotion and development cost is actually miserable.

Nobody in our industry objects to creating more mail volume. Our shop has encouraged clients to use EDDM when appropriate. That said, the USPS sales staff is under tremendous pressure to produce and the only way to get significant numbers is to rob Peter to pay Paul and convert existing clients. Again, a zero sum exchange..at the industry's expense.

I agree with the other posted comments. The marketing push needs to focus more on businesses while emphasizing the unique advantages of mail. We in the trade want the USPS to remain viable--we are all in the same leaky canoe. Just don't take the cash out of our pockets.

The EDDM marketing campaign is deceptive and misleading. Mail Service Providers have been providing these services to customers ever since saturation postage discounts were introduced. The USPS is going into direct competition with companies like mine. We are selling and promoting USPS products and services but yet they are taking customers away from us and hurting our business.

EDDM is nothing more than snail spam. The added value of data driven mail ... the right message, to the right person at the right time is a far better use of this great channel. I think the USPS has missed the mark on this one!

I believe that small businesses NEED to reach every local home. Pizzerias, landscapers, doctors, dentists, hairsalons, grocery stores, retailers... they all benefit. EDDM can be extremely targeted for those who research carrier route demographics and apply that data to their route selections. A mailing list and the associated costs don't always make sense to mom and pop shops.

Chris, to your point, I do not think EDDM is a bad product. It totally has it's niche, as you described, and it IS the right CHOICE for some. It is the lack of choice and the bad selling practices that are an issue. As I stated in my original comment, the USPS should be advertising DIRECT MAIL, in all its unique forms. And their salespeople should be working with customers to give them the right solutions for what they need.

DITTO! Lisa, Scott, Vicki, Jeff, and the first comment from Chris. EDDM is marketed by ad-hoc "revenue drivers" in my district who know nothing about bulk mail acceptance but honestly dont need to. The mailings are presented at the retail counter to clerks who know even less about acceptance hours after the bulk mail unit has closed. EDDM has become a huge source of revenue because the SAME mailers that once presented the mailings at the BACK DOOR for the SAME PRICE but were subject to rules (I think we call it the DMM?) now plop the same mailings down on the front counter minutes before the truck leaves and have no worries about how a form is completed or if white is used if they change a number. Peter is robbed on the back dock and Paul is paid at the front counter. But oh wait. We also have to pay for an ad on TV to promote this? and employees to visit the customers to only have them switch from the back door to the front? I think we're losing money. I guess if it fits it ships all over again.

Does anyone know how I can tell an EDDM piece in the mail from one that isn't? I've been looking at the standard mail I've been getting to see if I can tell the difference, but I don't really see anything that stands out. I've been getting resident and occupant fliers for years, so that doesn't help. Would it be something that only has an address and no name? I went to usps.com but they didn't have anything on it and neither did the discussion on the postal ad on yourpostalpodcast.com. I'm just curious I guess.

I could explain how to tell the difference but there is no reason to. It costs the same as similar standard "occupant" mail. It is simply just a marketing ploy-sort of dressed up like the giant chicken on the commercial you may have seen on TV, nothing more.

One might question the wisdom of the USPS flats strategy and our $1.5 billion dollar Flats Shuffler Shredders if they were to show address formats that clearly don't need to be sorted on these malfunctioning machines. While we're hiding things...could you hide my first reply and all its typos @OIGUSPS? EDDM=Private FSS

One problem I see is window staffing has been gutted,so if they want people to use the front window they are going to have to staff the window.