Are your internal or external customers thinking about cutting back on how much they use the mail to communicate with their organization's customers? Here are some of the comments you might hear from people outside the mailing industry, and suggestions for gently introducing a more informed point of view

The Post Office is bankrupt. They're going to be shut down.
The financial woes of the USPS are widely reported, but often the information provided is limited to what can fit in 40 seconds on the local or national news broadcast. In truth, the situation is quite complex with components that include labor contracts, facilities, lower mail volume, and government-mandated funding requirements that are out of line with the Postal Service's current state of business. Mailing professionals are keeping a close eye on changes made at the USPS and will ensure that their customer's needs continue to be met.

The price of postage keeps going up - it's getting too expensive to mail
Compared to other business costs for essential services like transportation, insurance, and employee benefits, the postage rates that go into effect with the next increase are quite modest. By taking advantage of workshare discounts and special USPS promotions, mailing professionals can minimize the effect of postage rate increases which are capped by law and only come once a year. Efficiently filtering out unproductive names from the mailing lists will usually generate savings that exceed postage rate increases. Mail operations experts can help their customers with this effort.

We can send thousands of emails for almost nothing. Why should we use postal mail?
That is true. Email is cheap. Maybe that's why consumers receive 157 email marketing messages per day and only 2 via direct mail. There is a lot less competition in the postal mailbox and virtually every direct mail piece is handled by the recipient. With spam filters, abandoned email accounts, junk folders, and human filtering, the same cannot be said for email. A well-designed and targeted direct mail piece has a decent chance of generating an acceptable level of response. Remember that the ROI of an unseen email message is zero. And there are lots of reasons an email may fail to get the attention of the intended recipient.

Mail is old-fashioned. Everybody uses PC's, smart phones, and tablets these days.
Consumers have lots of ways to communicate today. Interestingly, they still seem to prefer the mail for some types of messages. Adoption of paperless bills and statements has stabilized, with a majority of consumers still preferring paper. And budding digital postal delivery services have struggled to achieve sustainable levels of participation - consumers are not clamoring for digital mail boxes.

When it comes to corporate identity and controlling the presentation of messages, printed documents have a huge advantage over the digital channels. Electronic messages will look differently on PC's, iPhones, Androids, Blackberries, and tablets. Even within a device category, various email clients or screens will render the message with different colors, layouts, or fonts. Some customers or corporate networks may block images in emails to improve performance, minimize exposure to viruses, and avoid data plan overages. The growth in digital platforms has made customer communications more complex, not easier. If you want to control the message and reach the most people, postal mail is a channel worthy of consideration.

We want to communicate with customers electronically, where we have better tracking
Great idea. The metrics and tracking capabilities in the digital channels are better than mail. But you've got to get new prospects to the digital channels before you can start tracking them. For unsolicited customer acquisition messaging, postal mail is rated as the most acceptable channel by consumers. It beats out email, Facebook, Twitter, and web ads. Postal mail can be sent to prospects in specific demographic and geographic groups without first securing their permission (unlike email). By including features such as QR codes or PURLs on the mail piece, tracking and lead scoring can begin immediately when prospects are driven to landing pages on the web by the physical mail piece.

The next time your customers suggest that mail isn't worth the investment, probe a little deeper. You might just find out that mail starts looking like a bargain.

Mike Porter is President of Print/Mail Consultants, an independent consulting firm that helps companies nationwide be more productive, adapt to changing requirements, and lower costs in their document operations. For more ideas about how to promote mail to your customers, connect with Mike directly at Or visit and sign up for Practical Stuff - the free newsletter dedicated to document operations professionals.