Postal Fail and the Value of Email Messaging

Every year I receive a new year’s greeting from Austin Bliss. It is always a calendar that I relish keeping (all year long) because it allows me to mark important dates and it is easy to tuck into my notebook (the paper kind). I never received a greeting card from Austin this past December but finally received an email message from him with the following message:

Hey Sundeep-

Guess what I got returned in the (postal) mail today… the holiday card we mailed you! Imagine… it only took the post office ~100 days to determine the postal address we had for you was incorrect and notify me. Crazy!

Sorry you didn’t receive a formal ‘happy holidays’ from us in December, but I wanted to at least let you know the sentiment was there. Please do send me your correct postal information, so we can be sure to do better next year!!

Hope all is well.


It took about 100 days, the post office never even sent me a notification, and I am sure no one apologized to Austin either! It finally took an email from Austin to let me know.

I just came back home from a week at the SES conference in New York to a stack of more than 30 direct mail pieces from my mailwoman. Only two messages were important: one, a card saying thank you and the other, a tax form. Interestingly, the tax form had a “hook” where they told me that I could easily convert the paper they are mailing me to an email message. Every other piece of paper was thrown into the recycle bin!

There were a lot of people who talked about the demise of email marketing because of mobile and social media. But email today is very important. It can be a very personal channel that can carry a relevant message.

Here are five reasons why email will rule.

  1. Email is the quickest way you can get in touch with your list.
  2. Email can be completely personalized based on recipient preferences.
  3. Email messages are secure.
  4. Email can keep your costs down.
  5. Email is environmentally friendly.

Can you imagine how much more powerful email would have been if the United States Postal Service had officially embraced this channel? A stamp of approval from the U.S. Postal Service would have helped them earn revenue and it would also lead to a number of significant benefits to both consumers and brands.

Consumers would be more apt to accept something with an official seal of approval. Similarly brands would be forced to ensure that a consumer was truly opted in to receive an email message. Imagine an inbox with significantly less spam. Phishing attacks would now become a federal violation, thus raising the sanctity of email messaging.

Brands would be able to track delivery of messages and have the ability to personalize.

The key to success with your email marketing is to get your consumer to pay attention to what you are sending her and also to get her commitment to a digital channel.

At SES, we talked about improving email marketing effectiveness by getting personal with consumers. Think about taking the five reasons why email will rule listed above and working those into your consumer messaging streams. Your goal is to be sincere, be personal, and convert the consumer to paying attention to your email.

If you would like a copy of a simple letter that you can send your consumers where I have summarized these five reasons, you are welcome to use what I have written here.

Mailbox image on home page via Shutterstock.

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