Feb. 6 2009 02:50 PM

Current, stark economic realities force all of us to change the way we think about the tools and processes we count on to be successful. Like many of you, the Postal Service faces broad challenges and continues to explore and adopt changes to help us meet the needs of customers, who seek to acquire and retain their customers so they can sustain and grow their businesses. At the USPS, we increasingly focus on how we can add value to an already invaluable mail service. As the new Senior Vice President responsible for Mailing Services, my vision is to build on the mail system as it stands, focusing on the value of today's mail as a versatile, proven, powerful communications device.

For me, a great place to start the conversation about improving the value of mail and how we work together to do that begins with the perspective of Customer Value Propositions. So what are they? They represent promised benefits - or a set of experiences - customers will get in exchange for buying or using your product or service. It's much more than "what's in the box" or what the tagline of an ad implies will be yours. It's essential to consider in broad terms. It is important to make conscious choices of what to include or leave out of your overall value proposition.

Your customers have the final decision on whether or not your product or service best meets their needs. They'll decide based on what they get for what they spend, as well as what they might forego when choosing your Customer Value Proposition over another.

Let's talk about mail's value propositions starting with what it does best It works. It gets the job done. It can be highly targeted, and it gets read. Done right, it creates an emotional response and triggers actions while achieving measurable results. Mail is tangible, tactile and it's easy to share. Unlike many forms of advertising, it persists you can retrieve it from the counter to read again at your convenience. And, importantly, there's a remarkable and repeatable activity that happens every time you bring in the mail, sort it, open it and decide how it helps you do things you like to do - or need to do. We call it the Mail Moment, and it is a daily event, a ritual that is a part of our lives.

When mail is well-represented within your multi-channel marketing mix, you should expect superior campaign results, measurable gains in program ROI and stronger customer relationships that deliver higher rates of profitable revenue growth.

Take a moment to consider the current mailing environment and visualize where that will be in the near future. Focus on ways to encourage specific customer behaviors that we want to see change or increase. That perspective can be our guide as we continue the conversation on how to craft and enhance the value of mail and related services the industry provides. This attitude can lead to new approaches to enter, grow or harvest on more favorable terms to boost profitable growth and strengthen operational performance.

David Shoenfeld was named Senior Vice President of Mailing Services in July 2008. He reports to the President, Shipping and Mailing Services, and is responsible for the growth and development of all postal mailing products, including First-Class Mail, advertising mail and Parcel Post. These products produce nearly 90% of all Postal Service revenue. Shoenfeld has more than 30 years of leadership experience, including 20 years at Federal Express, where he rose through the ranks to become Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing.