How About Mail Preference Postage Discount

If you think the following idea is feasible, please support it with letters (see above).

Every year USPS would insert a mail preference check-off sheet with the IRS tax package. The sheet would list 10 to 12 categories of ad mail — computers, home entertainment, food, men’s/women’s apparel, etc. — based on a sampling of the previous year’s ad mail volume. The individual could check off interest in any (or none) of the categories. Mailers would submit mailing lists to USPS prior to a mailing. Mailers would not have access to the file since it would be confidential. USPS would place markers in the mailer’s files indicating the individuals interest in some mail and not others, or none at all. Mailers who do this would get a 1-2 cent per piece discount for lists that that have been so processed — its use would not be mandatory. No names would be added, but matching names would be data enhanced. The object would be to take a list and reduce a mailing based on the recipient’s actual preference rather than demographic guess work.

The advantage to mail recipients (like you) is that they would get far less junk mail, and the mailers would not only benefit from the discount, but would receive a higher response rate and lower mailing costs. The USPS would benefit from increased revenue (the charge for mailing non-filtered junk mail could be increased) and reduced delivery cost.

This has been suggested to the USPS and direct marketers. Both are extremely conservative with regard to anything relating to list and mailing access. Also, this idea doesn’t fit inside the normal concept of how postal discounts work — it’s hard to prove the economic benefits before it’s tried. Yet a Mail Preference Postage Discount might be a good idea for everyone involved.

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