May 3, 2011 by Charlie Walker
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) wants to convince companies direct mail is an economical and efficient way to reach customers — and it’s ready to issue refunds to companies if their advertising campaigns fail.
“Mail Works Guarantee” is an attempt by the USPS to beef up its current 3.1% slice of the U.S. media advertising pie.
How it works: Advertisers that mail between 500,000 and 1 million pieces of direct mail over two years will be eligible for a refund of up to $250,000 in postage costs, if their campaigns fail to meet expectations.
However, the program isn’t available to everyone just yet. A trial run is being offered to 16 companies that spend at least $250 million a year on advertising (and very little of that on direct mail).
Those companies will have the price-of-postage back guarantee, for their efforts involving Standard Mail and First-Class Mail.
Each company will pay standard prices for current products, just like everyone else, and are eligible for a refund only if the experimental run doesn’t meet the expectations assigned to their company.
The trial advertisers will include industry representatives from the retail, services, food and automotive segments (among others) that spend at least $250 million a year on advertising.
What’s in it for the USPS? It’s hoping to stir up volume — and income — from businesses that don’t use direct mail (yet).
The test is slated to begin in mid May.
Info: A more detailed explanation of the trial program can be found at the Postal Regulatory Commission’s website.