After approval from the Postal Regulatory Committee last month, the USPS will move forward with new postal rates for market dominant mail (first class letters, postcards and flats, and standard mail letters and flats) and competitive mail (priority mail, packages). The changes go into effect on January 21.
There will be a one cent increase to postcard stamps and metered letters. The rate change does not include any price change for single-piece letters being mailed to international destinations or for additional ounces for letters.
Per USPS: “The prices will raise Mailing Services product prices approximately 1.9 percent, and most Shipping Services products will average a 3.9 percent price increase. While Mailing Services price increases are limited based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Shipping Services prices are adjusted strategically, according to market conditions and the need to maintain affordable services for customers.”
2018 Commercial First-class letter rates:
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2018 Commercial Marketing Mail rates:
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For more information, go to USPS.com.
The term “data-driven” is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across industries, and with good reason. All marketing should be data-driven. Creating targeted messages that reflect and anticipate the needs of your customers is crucial. As we’ve said before, when contact is frequent, as it is with invoicing, the messages must be timely and relevant.
A newer customer may simply have different needs than one who has been with you for seven years. Someone already using one of your products shouldn’t see a promotion for it. Investing time in personalized incentives is worth the effort. It keeps your messaging fresh and shows your engagement in the full customer lifecycle.
With tools like OSG Campaign Composer, you can segment your customer base to analyze customer trends and history, avoiding these kind of oversights. Once you’ve set the filters and created your campaign, you can select which segment receives specific dynamic messages, envelope messaging, and inserts.
It’s also worth the effort to consider how the message is being received by the customer. In our omni-channel world, content and the technology that deploys it have to be working hand in hand.
The data keeps rolling in—you have to roll with it.
We’ve had quite a year at OSG, between growing our company and expanding our services to create a more omni-channel model. We try to give our blog a mix of technology and design insights, as well as timely updates that pertain to our industry and the postal service. Here are our five most-viewed blog posts of 2017.
For the first time in several years, the USPS requested rate increases for both its competitive (packages and overnight shipments) and market dominant products (letters and flats).
Inquiring minds wanted to know, so we told them. (And we also included a bonus explanation of statements.)
In which our Production Graphics Manager gave us a look at her day-to-day responsibilities and nailed a just-for-fun lightning round.
Spoiler: One benefit is an increase in web traffic.
Our tracking application taps into USPS barcode technology to track your inbound and outbound mail. It’s a game changer.
Outsourcing your transactional communications can have a powerful effect on your business and its bottom line, whether you opt for an EBPP solution or traditional print and mail. Here are three specific reasons to do it.
- Free up your employees’ time.
Billing can be a complex process. Using a single-source provider for all your billing and communication needs eliminates the internal day-to-day tasks that bog down employees. They can use their productivity and passion in different ways while we streamline this process.
- Benefit from the latest technologies and operational experience.
Digital, print and mail, mobile: Offering those channels isn’t enough; they must be optimized. At OSG, we use programs like MailTrek to monitor inbound and outbound mail, which improves the efficiency of your collection efforts (and ultimately saves you money). We offer dynamic messaging, which turns invoices into marketing tools and engages customers month to month.
Our solutions are also practical. With production facilities across the country, our distributive print process guarantees a quick turnaround time.
- Move into the future with us.
As technology continues to evolve, customers are going to expect an omni-channel experience—an unbroken stream of access to their information. Through new acquisitions, more robust printing processes, and additional digital solutions (i.e. OSG Letter Composer), we’ve positioned ourselves to move with customers as they engage with the world. Because this is ultimately about more than billing—it’s about communication.
It’s almost a new year. Let’s talk strategy.
As the end of 2017 races by and 2018 sharpens into focus, it’s a good time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished as a company this year. Each move propelled us toward a common goal: to build upon our transactional and customer communication solutions and to offer best-in-class service. Here’s how we did it.
- We enhanced our printing technology.
We added another Ricoh Pro VC60000 next-generation continuous feed inkjet platform to our production line. What does that mean? It means we’re an even better position to meet customer demand for high-quality, high-volume transactional documents. Fun fact: OSG was the first American company to implement the VC60000.
- We grew our family of companies.
In October, we acquired Microdynamics Group, a provider of integrated, multichannel transactional print and electronic solutions, headquartered in Naperville, IL. This acquisition not only expands our services nationally, but also strengthens our presence in the financial services market.
In December, we acquired Diamond Communications Solutions, a full-service provider of data-driven customer communications, headquartered in Carol Stream, IL. This positions OSG as a leader in the healthcare market, and propels us further in the financial services market.
- We introduced OSG’s CallVista Customer Contact Center.
To expand our omni-channel customer communications solutions, we officially launched our CallVista Customer Contact Center. This fully-staffed center offers full inbound and outbound solutions, comprehensive program management and reporting, and on-site QA and IT support. (Call us!)
- We added another signature solution to our digital communications offerings.
To put it simply, OSG Letter Composer streamlines the letter creation process, which makes communicating with customers much easier. It allows you to upload all your branding elements to one self-service program, so anyone in your company can create customer letters, regulatory notices, collection letters, and so on. No special software required.
- We made strides for even greater quality control in production.
To ensure we have consistency across facilities, Our Enterprise Quality Control Group is developing a standard systematic approach in monitoring each step of print production. This process will be essential as we continue to grow.
As 2017 winds down, it’s a good time to think about the small marketing messages you can send to customers that will help you finish the year strong and begin the next one on the right foot. Start with something simple: Happy New Year.
We realize you might not want to send out a separate card or write a clever note. That’s not necessary—just use your envelope. Our Full Color Envelope Messaging℠ allows you to print a full color New Year’s message right on the outer envelope of your invoice or statement package. You can even add an image for more impact. Since research shows that customers are more likely to open an envelope with color on it than one without, you get the benefit of knowing they’re nearly guaranteed to see both the greeting and the invoice or bill.
OSG’s Dynamic Messaging is another way of reinforcing your brand and messaging on the invoice itself. We’ve gone over the many benefits of that before, but as January approaches, consider how we can help you use it effectively throughout the next year.
Checking the mail nowadays really means checking for what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to toss without opening. In that competitive atmosphere—fighting for a customer’s attention over Bed Bath & Beyond coupons and pre-approved credit cards—sending multiple mailings a month is overkill.
OSG’s Additional Messaging Page is designed to let you communicate more with less.
The AMP makes it easy to turn a transactional document you’re already sending into a multipurpose document. It’s a supplemental page that prints seamlessly alongside the invoice or statement. (In other words, they can’t just throw it away.) This also saves you money on printing, postage, and administration costs.
The specifics of the message are in your hands. It could be a welcome letter, a monthly promotion, or, yes, an incentive to try online billing. It can be single or double-sided, full-color, and targeted. It uses OSG Campaign Composer to segment your customer base so people aren’t receiving redundant or irrelevant messages.
The options are endless, but the pieces of paper won’t be.