J.P. Gasway

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Informed Delivery-“ Post Office to go”

As everyone involved with print, paper and mailing know, the postal service is critical to the success of each industry. Direct mail marketing, newsletters and other publications rely on mail to get the “job” done.

Did you know there is a new service called Informed Delivery? With this free service, you can preview incoming mail daily, as you will receive an email showing a gray scale image of the address size of all letter size mail arriving at your address when mail pieces are processed through USPS automated equipment. There is also the ability to track packages and leave delivery instructions if you will not be there to receive a package.

As stated in the Domtar Blueline blog (Domtarblueline.com), there is more to the program than just seeing what is coming that day. From a blog post by Tammy Tufty: The USPS Informed Delivery® program also targets consumers in a groundbreaking way, by offering them digital previews of their paper mail. It increases the time that people interact with mail, and it increases the number of eyes on mail, because multiple household members use the service. Not only does more mail reach intended audiences, Gary Reblin Vice President of Product Innovation for the U.S. Postal Service, explains, but marketers can use Informed Delivery to make mail work harder, because they can incorporate branding, coupon codes or links into their digital preview, so customers can instantly interact with their brand. Informed Delivery has been criticized for lessening the mail moment, but Reblin affirms, “It’s incredibly popular, with over 12 million users and a 72.5% open rate, as compared to email’s open rate of just over 20%.”

Informed Delivery is a game changer for many households, in how they receive and perceive mail, as well as for our industries.

You can read more about this service and learn how to sign up and use it, by visiting www.informeddelivery.usps.com, or accessing the free mobile app for iOS, Android, and Windows smartphones or tablets using The Apple App Store, or Google Play.

The Magazine In The Waiting Room

Recently, I found myself sitting in a vet clinic waiting room dealing with a bad batch of pup chow. Recommendation for dog owners... check expiration dates before buying. The aftermath is not enjoyable. However, at 8:20 in the morning it appears everyone in the vet waiting room is doing the same thing... staring at a screen and getting updates. Whether it be Facebook, a News outlet, or just texting - everyone was on their phone.

And then there is me. The paper guy. I have a 75 lb. yellow lab tucked between my legs who is terrified of the vet and of course the 4 lb. baby kitten across the room has him thinking he is a lap dog due to pure fear of the small creature. Spoiler alert - my dog is a wimp named Tank. Very fitting. Anyway, it's a recipe for disaster so I move to another seat. And as I move I notice something... a BIG stack of magazines. I don't know about you, but for me it's essentially a jackpot. Some people wouldn't call reading a 6 month old edition of Sports Illustrated a jackpot, but to each their own.

See, I remember the days of having to make the dreaded trip to the doctor or dentist without phones, tablets, or any other fancy device that provided distraction. The days when all you had were those crumpled 6 month old magazines that covered anything from sports to recipes. And it seemed my parents, particularly my Mom, would always grab one to look over and discuss. As a kid, I hated this. I read and discussed in school - no need to do that at the doctor's office in my opinion. But, time changes things I guess and as I was reading an article out of Home & Garden about how to make your yard "Pop in the spring of 17" (It's Fall season already and Sports Illustrated wasn't available), I noticed a lady next to me somewhat glancing at the article over my shoulder. I made a joke about the article, she chuckled and we started talking.

Next thing you know, the 4 or 5 of us sitting there were all talking. We talked about the weather, our pets, road construction and of course the kittens that were still making my dog shiver with fear. As we talked I noticed all phones were out of sight and people were interacting. This went on for what seemed like hours, but it was maybe 15 minutes. When conversations are enjoyable, you don't pay attention to time I guess.

One by one as everyone was called back to see the vet people would say good luck or what not as they left, but the conversation kept on with those remaining. As the last customer was called back I said my good lucks and went back to my article that I was reading prior. I didn't even get the 2nd paragraph finished before it was our turn to see the vet. As I put the magazine down, side stepped our way around the terrifying kittens and headed back to Room one I thought back to some of those doctor visits in my childhood. My parents would always be talking with someone in the waiting room. Sometimes it seemed like it was a best friend and they wouldn't even know their name. But, it always started with a magazine.

Maybe that's the point of out dated magazines in waiting rooms or maybe that's just another benefit of paper. A light read and the possibility to shoot the breeze with others. I'm sure my Mom never read the actual magazine, but I know she had a lot of good conversations over the years.

I guess you could add "Conversation Starter" to the long list of things paper products provide us... I know I will. 

P.S. The dog is fine, but still a wimp.