When asked to write a blog on my experience of the 2017 National Postal Forum (May 20-24, Baltimore Maryland), I was initially concerned that it would be difficult to make a mailing conference sound interesting. But I’m happy to say that the 2017 National Postal Forum was exciting, informative and well worth attending. My personal highlights are below.
The National Postal Forum itself was well-presented by the USPS. This year the USPS unveiled many initiatives at the National Postal Forum and it was easy to tell they were excited to do so, particularly in their promotion of the new service, Informed Delivery. From Postmaster Megan Brennan’s keynote address to the numerous information sessions to the individuals walking around signing people up, it was clear that Informed Delivery would be the debutante of the ball.
Why was this such a big deal?
Well, USPS is now finally entering the digital field. Informed Delivery would provide mail recipients with digital images of their daily mail, with the potential for related images and links—all before the mailpieces are received at home. This is clearly meant to be a boost to regular mail delivery. The real hope is that Informed Delivery will further enhance the relevance of mail by increasing response rates. Current numbers show close to two million people signed up for Informed Delivery, with roughly 10,000 new enrollees each day. Forthcoming marketing campaigns utilizing Informed Delivery will demonstrate if the USPS’ excitement about this program is truly warranted.
Some other upcoming changes presented by the USPS were also well-received:
- The reopening of Mail Service Provider (MSP) enrollment into Seamless Acceptance was a hot topic. Seamless Acceptance will allow for MSPs to submit mailings to the USPS that will be auto-verified. Visibility downstream throughout mail processing will validate the accuracy of mail preparation, rate category, entry and payment. USPS verifier clerks will only conduct a random sampling of mailings.
- Informed Visibility of mailpieces, trays and pallets was highlighted by the USPS as a way to view a mailing campaign as it travels the USPS mail processing highway. The opportunity to use this tracking information in omni-marketing efforts was highly promoted.
- Changes in postage payment methods were also presented, as well as funding permits via check scanning and ordering stamps from the USPS Business Customer Gateway—all exciting potential enhancements.
Info worth bringing home
The National Postal Forum is a great time to catch up with customers, vendors and USPS leadership. I attended some of the many informative classes offered by both the USPS and other industry leaders. The 2017 National Postal Forum was an exciting demonstration of the USPS’ continued focus on streamlining the process of mail preparation and submittal while enhancing the experience of mail recipients. My takeaway is to bring this information home for implementation into the mailing options available at Specialty Print Communications.
Director Postal Affairs and Logistics