USPS Breaks Its Contract with Mailers

If you’re paying postage to get your direct mail into the mailboxes of prospects-stop. Stop right now! There is a great chance that your direct mail is not getting anywhere near a mailbox if what’s happening in my apartment complex is any indication. That’s because the letter carriers cannot be bothered to put mail into the mailbox in my lobby. They drop it into the recycling bin on the floor where direct mail goes to die-unseen and without any interaction from the addressee.

Why are they doing this? I often hear from postal officials that the mailboxes are too small for flyers and other flats. I carried mail for 13 years and there is a technique for putting mail into wall and cluster boxes. It’s not hard. And if the box is in fact too small for the amount of mail it gets, the USPS has established procedures for those situations. I can tell you that those procedures do not include throwing the mail away.

Carriers do this because it is easier, and it saves time. Confronting letter carriers about their job performance seems to be an unpopular task for postal supervision. In my own case I’ve had postal supervisors tell me they wouldn’t instruct the carriers to put mail into the boxes because, as one supervisor told me, “That would open up Pandora’s box”. I am left to assume that the interests of the USPS are more important than that of the rate-payers.

As a Direct Mail Specialist for the U.S. Postal Service for many years I received great training about the unique value proposition direct mail offered. Two of the key factors that made it so valuable to marketers, according to research done for the USPS in the form of Statistical Fact Book and the USPS Mail Moments Review, are its tactile nature and the level of engagement with prospects it fostered.