AgentMarketing

USPS brings snail mail into a digital space

The Postal Service aims to digitize your mailbox with new venture: 'Informed Delivery'
  • More than 67,000 participants are set to receive USPS's new service, Informed Delivery.
  • Informed Delivery is USPS’s attempt to bring value to the mail for consumers and marketers.
  • Informed Delivery essentially allows you to receive a digital preview of what's in your mailbox -- which might give marketers an analytical sense of what's important to consumers.

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Beta testing is live with over 67,000 participants, and the USPS hopes that its new service, which scans incoming mail pieces into a daily email, will unlock hidden marketing opportunities for businesses striving to connect with consumers through the screen and via direct mail.

Informed Delivery is simple

Customers sign up for the service in approved markets, and each morning they will receive a digital preview (of certain qualifying mail) that shows what will be in their mailbox when they get home.

That’s right; you get to preview your letter-sized mail all with your cup of morning brew. There is a smartphone application that corresponds to the program that promises to make managing your mail an easy task.

Apparently the USPS already takes pictures of all the incoming mail already, as its method to scan barcodes (think how you use a barcode scanner on your smartphone). This is the USPS’s call to action to bring more value to the mail for both consumers and marketers.

This “smart mail” will eventually evolve and offer basic graphics and links from related marketing efforts embedded in the daily digest.

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Snail mail analytics

Consumers will be given incentives to sign up for this program and participate with links, and publishers can load up previews, video and other pieces of content to get the payoff of additional analytical information about what exactly is important to consumers.

This program has future potential for those in the housing industry who are looking to get more out of direct mailing programs.

The key question will be if enough consumers will sign up for the service to create any additional value for marketers — that is, in combination with the growing frustration of small business owners trying to use digital and print marketing tactics effectively against a distracted audience.

Is this the future of print marketing?

One has to ask: is this the solution? Or will this be one more thing diluting the attention span of consumers? No fees have been discussed yet, but the USPS might attempt to sell back the data profiles to brands, businesses, etc., interested knowing even more about their customers as the program grows.

There will be plenty of cookies to be shared around for interested parties, which will create a new source of income for USPS in the future.

Currently, the program is being beta tested in New York and portions of Washington, D.C., and Virginia. The USPS has plans to make the program available nationwide in 2017.

What do you think? Would you sign up for this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting for listingdepot.com.

Email Rachael Hite.