USPS OIG – Marketers’ Perceptions of Informed Delivery and Informed Visibility

June 8, 2021 (RISC-WP-21-005)

  • Mailers said Informed Delivery helps create brand awareness rather than measurable increases in sales. 
  • Targeted communications efforts might help increase mailers’ awareness and adoption of Informed Delivery campaigns.
  • The use of Informed Visibility in integrated mail/digital campaigns is still minimal. 

In its 10-year plan, the Postal Service expressed an intent to enhance tools that drive greater value for the senders of mail, including Informed Delivery (ID) and Informed Visibility (IV). In this white paper, the OIG discusses marketers’ perceptions of ID and IV and their suggestions to improve these platforms.

The 40 million Americans who subscribe to ID receive images of mailpieces that will arrive at their homes soon. To facilitate mail’s integration with digital advertising, marketers caconduct ID campaigns by adding a color image and link to a website below the image of the mailpieceThe perception of ID campaigns’ features was generally positive and some marketers found it to be an effective tool that increases brand awareness. However, others contended that ID had not had a measurable impact on their sales. These users primarily conducted ID campaigns during the annual ID Promotion to take advantage of the postage discount offered. This indicates the Postal Service might promote ID campaigns’ qualitative brand value for mailers over its measurable return on investment. 

There are also opportunities for the Postal Service to increase mailers’ use of ID campaigns by educating marketing departments about ID and reaching out to marketing mailers who have not yet heard of ID. Room also exists for initiatives to make the household users of ID more aware of the clickable ID images.

The IV mail tracking application tells marketers when their mailpiece will be delivered. This may allow them to more effectively send complementary messages through other advertising channels. However, none of the marketing mailers the OIG interviewed indicated they use data from IV to support omnichannel campaign timing. Still, several intermediaries expressed confidence that IV as an omnichannel tool would ultimately develop as more intermediaries design solutions around this platform. 

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Mail advertising is a 20th century approach to marketing and is generally a waste of money. Mail delivery rarely hits a firms key market customer. The brand awareness claim is also a misleading. The product would have to align with the Post Offices primary customers (Boomers). EDDM is complete waste of money for both the postal service and firms. I would also like to bring up the concept of product brand awareness. What perception does a consumer have of a product that is delivered by an overworked postal carrier?