3 Summary Direct Mail is a powerful way to increase sales but the key is to use it effectively. Be smart. Use the experts at West Press to get the most out of your direct mail campaign. Inside this Be Smart guide, West Press shares its years of experience, knowledge and expertise in the area of mailing. How to plan To minimize postage costs, it helps to know the United States Postal Service s (Postal Service) various services and size classifications and select the one that meets the needs of your mailing project. From there, design your piece so that the address side of your postcard or self-mailer has the appropriate space and information. Select paper and envelopes so the size, weight, thickness and rigidity of the piece comply with the Postal Service requirements. Start here Get the database Choose the Postal Service mail services Design a size within the Postal Service mail classification Decide how to apply postage Finalize the budget Identify deadline and plan out the timetable Calculate postage cost Frequently Asked Questions Glossary of common words
4 You re only as good as your mailing list. A tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it. A TV ad is blaring and no one s watching. A direct mail piece about summer camp for teenagers lands in the mailboxes of senior citizens. Think quality not quantity. Solid addresses make the difference between a big success and a disappointing failure. STEP ONE: When buying a new mailing list or modifying an existing one, have a clear definition of whom you wish to reach. Talk about your intended recipients in ways that mailing lists can be sorted: Demographics: age, sex, gender, race, income, employment status, ownership status (home, pets, cars), education, religion, language Geography: zip code, city, miles from a store Life stage: single, married, divorced, children at home, retired Interests, hobbies, past purchases Mailing lists can be sorted in many ways, and while criteria such as zip code and age may be achieved very precisely, criteria such as hobbies and interests may be achieved with far less certainty. Just because someone says they re interested in horses, does not mean they own a horse or are inclined to buy your horse-related products. STEP TWO: Ask questions of the mailing list supplier. 1 How up-to-date is the list? 2 When was their list last scrubbed of addressees who ve moved, died or changed in some way? 3 What sources do they use? 4 Has the list been NCOA checked? (A system that tracks reported address changes, and serves to minimize undeliverables.) 5 Has the list been CASS certified? (Runs your electronic list through a program that standardizes the addresses and corrects zip codes.) 6 What guarantees do they offer in case of a high number of undeliverables? By working with your mailing list provider to get quality names and addresses, you can increase the number of pieces that reach their targets, reduce your mailing costs, and boost response rates for your campaign.
5 Creating a database can be easy. Especially if your mailing list is large, but even if you have a few names, it is best to use a database software package to store and manipulate the addresses. Microsoft Access is probably the most popular off-the-shelf software package designed for databases such as mailing lists. It has built-in safeguards to ensure you don t lose data, and it makes it easy to sort and export lists in a variety of ways. For the MAC, Filemaker or Bento are comparable programs. Many people use Excel for their databases. While you can use Excel, it is not designed for databases, and requires some manual work to manipulate lists and with large mailing lists it is easy for names to drop off. Comma delimited value (CDV) lists created in Word can be used to transmit mailing lists, but are cumbersome for tracking or manipulating the addresses. When putting data into a database it s vital to be consistent in how you categorize the information. Typically a mailing list includes these fields: PREFIX FIRST Last name ADDRESS1 CITY STATE ZIP You may want fields for a Salutation (Dr. Mrs.), Title (Manager), CompanyName, or an Address2 for a suite number. Always enter names in the same manner and put only the relevant data in a field. DON T DO THIS: FIRST Last ADDRESS1 CITY STATE ZIP Ms. Sally Jones 302 E. 1st Blvd, Chicago IL Dr. William Green Geneva avenue Nashville TENN Fernandez, 9087 Brentwood St. New Haven CT Rob DO THIS: PREFIX FIRST Last ADDRESS1 CITY STATE ZIP Ms. Sally Jones 302 E. 1st Blvd Chicago IL Dr. William Green Geneva avenue Nashville TN Mr. Rob Fernandez 9087 Brentwood St. New Haven CT 08265
6 Choose the Postal Service services you need. The Postal Service has a variety of classes of mail denoted by level of service. (Do not confuse class with classification which relates to the physical size of a mail piece.) First class costs the most but gives you the most flexibility and the greatest number of services. With the discounted classes (everything below First Class ) come restrictions on how the envelope is addressed, detail of the addressee, the quantity you must mail, and the way in which you organize and deliver the mail to your post office. In general, the more work you are willing to do for the Postal Service, the more discounted price you can achieve. First Class is the way to go if:...you re mailing a time-sensitive piece one that includes a coupon with an expiration date, an announcement of an upcoming sale period, an offer with a deadline or a small mailing, or need forwarding and return services. First Class Pre-Sort is the way to go if:...you have more than 500 recipients and want the full service of First Class, and you have the labor, time and technology to sort, bar code and prepare the pieces before you deliver them to the Post Office. Standard (Bulk) Mail is the way to go if:... you have more than 200 recipients and a marketing pitch that isn t time-sensitive. Also you have the labor, time and technology to sort, bar code and prepare the pieces before you deliver them to the Post Office, and aren t worried about returns or forwarding. TO: 42 FIRST CLASS 00 TO: PRESORTED FIRST-CLASS US POSTAGE PAID PERMIT OWNER TO: PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID PERMIT OWNER 12345
7 For all classes, the Postal Service has a wide range of rules on how your mail piece must look, so pay attention to: size thickness and rigidity location of address information blank space in address area bar coding of address information Two acceptable addressing layouts 4.25" Address and barcode to go in this area 2.75" When designing your piece, keep this area OPEN auto.625" Address to go in this area 4.75" barcode to go in this area When designing your piece, keep these areas OPEN. For discounted mail, you must deliver your mail to the designated Business Mail Entry Unit: sorted in trays tagged with labels paperwork completed watch out Use of any discounted mail service requires that you purchase a permit from the Postal Service and pay an annual fee to use it, so make sure your annual mailing volume makes buying that permit cost-effective. You can avoid purchasing your own annual permit by having a mail house or printer prepare your mailings In addition to ensuring you comply with the wide range of rules and restrictions, they can use their own permits on your behalf.
8 Price Level minimum number Quick Guide to Postage Class Services included one Quick delivery Change Forwarding Return FIRST CLASS FIRST CLASS PRE-SORT 500 (letter or postcard) Registered Receipt Insured Odd sizes Quick delivery Change Forwarding Return 200 Delivery dependent upon postal volumecan be held for 7 10 days. STANDARD RATE (aka BULK MAIL) Services available at extra cost Restrictions Very few at retail rate. US Postage PAID Permit No. 123 Change Forwarding Return Address US Postage PAID Permit No. 123 Delivery dependent upon postal volum can be held for 7 10 days. Time-sensitive Handwritten or personalized materials. Unsure of mailing list Want piece to be perceived by recipient as important or valuable. Promotions or marketing materials that are not time sensitive. To minimize postage Undeliverables are discarded NON-PROFIT Small mailings Need quick delivery Handwritten or personalized materials Heavy mail pieces containing several components. No forwards, returns 200 Best for. Change Forwarding Return Address US Postage PAID Permit No. 123 For registered non-profit organizations, and those mailing on their behalf. Undeliverables are scrapped. US Postage PAID Permit No. 123 Must have address and barcode in certain location Pieces must be identical in weight and size Must be in trays, tagged and delivered to bulk mail center Cannot be irregularly shaped Use purchased annual discount permit Must accompany mail every time.
9 It s a Postcard, It s a Letter.No it s a Flat. The Postal Service has precise rules that classify your mail piece according to its size for pricing. You might consider your piece a postcard, but because it s big, the Postal Service thinks it s a letter. It pays to study the parameters for each size classification especially if you want your piece in the lowest (cheapest) one. For First Class mail, the Postal Service classifies mail pieces as one of four types, from small to large, cheapest to most expensive: Postcard Letter Large Envelope or Flat Package or Parcel The size classification together with the postage class you choose (and sometimes the weight) determine how much you ll pay, but note that for Standard mail there is no Postcard size, so what you consider a postcard, the Postal Service calls a Letter or a Flat. Postcard (First Class) A postcard is a rectangular flat cardstock piece, not folded and not in an envelope. It s the least expensive way to mail a marketing message. 4 1 / 4" 3 1 / 2" Min Max H: 3.5" 4.25" 5" 6" W: 5" 6" Thick:.007".016" watch out Any item smaller than the minimum cannot be mailed without an envelope. The cardstock must be neither too thin nor too thick. Square mail incurs a surcharge.
10 Letter (First Class) A small rectangular mail piece that is no more than ¼" thick, less than 3.5 ounces and falls within the size parameters. A Letter doesn t have to be a letter in an envelope The category includes a large postcard and a self-mailer (folded cardstock) too. 6 1 / 8" 3 1 / 2" Min Max H: 3.5" 6.125" 5" 11.5" W: 5" 11.5" Thick:.007".250" Some mail piece sizes make better use of paper than others making them costeffective for communicating a marketing message: 4.25" x 5.5" 5.5" x 8.5" 4.25" x 6" 6" x 11" Package or Parcel (First Class) Any 3-dimensional piece bigger than a Flat but less than 12" x 12" x 12" is a Parcel. 12" 12" 12" watch out Some attributes require extra postage because they make the piece incompatible with the USPS automated machinery: Square (smaller than 5" x 5" isn t mailable at all) Rigid, perhaps because a pen is enclosed Clasps, strings, buttons Lumpy pieces, that contain a promotion item. Lumpy mail, when it is not uniformly thick, can get bumped all the way up into the Package category.
11 ABC Company PO Box 321 Anytown US ******** 5-DIGIT ATTN: VICE PRESIDENT ROBERT JONES T JONES ABC COMPANY 123 MAIN STREET ANYTOWN USA POSTAGE INDICIA INDICIA ******** 5-DIGIT ATTN: VICE PRESIDENT ROBERT RT JONES ABC COMPANY 123 MAIN STREET ANYTOWN USA POSTAGE INDICIA Large Envelope or Flat (First Class) a Large envelope is a flat rectangular mail piece no more than ¾" thick. Includes most express style envelopes. The weight will determine the exact postage. 12" 6 1 / 8" Min Max H: 6.125" 12" 11 1 / 2" 15" W: 11.5" 15" Thick:.25".75" watch out If your Large Envelope is rigid, nonrectangular or not uniformly thick (lumpy mail), your piece becomes a Package. As of March 29, 2009, the USPS changed the mailing requirements for flats mailing with discount postage. Below are layout examples of what is accepted and not accepted by the Post Office. Catalog / Booklet Usually addressed on back cover Catalog / Booklet Usually addressed on back cover ABC Company PO Box 321 Anytown US POSTAGE INDICIA Top half ******** 5-DIGIT ATTN: VICE PRESIDENT ROBERT JONES ABC COMPANY 123 MAIN STREET ANYTOWN USA Bound edge Top half ABC Company PO Box Anytown US ******** ROBERT ******** 5-DIGIT TTN: ATTN: A ATTN: VICE PRESIDENT JONES ABC ANY COMPANY 123 MAIN STREET ANYTOWN USA POSTAGE INDICIA Bound edge Back Cover Back Cover Large Envelopes Horizontal format is fine top is left or right edge Top half Top half AGE POST TTN: VICE PRESIDENT ANYTOWN USA Envelope ROBER Large INDICIA ABC Company PO Box 321 Anytown US ******** 5-DIGIT TTN: ATTN: RT VICE PRESIDENT ROBE JONES ABC ANY COMP 123 MAIN STREET ANYTOWN USA Envelope Large Envelope
12 There are several methods for applying postage. You can indicate to the Postal Service that you have paid the postage for a mail piece in several ways. The price is not affected by your postage method, and each are available for First Class, Pre-sort First Class, Standard and Non-Profit. Stamp is the way to go if: You like the idea of a real stamp, you have the time (or your mail house or printer has the equipment) to pick them up from the Post Office and apply them, and in the case of First Class, you know in advance how much postage will cost Indicia is the way to go if: You want to use a discounted rate permit and can pre-print it on the envelopes. The Postal Service deducts the exact amount of postage from a mailing permit account based on what you re sending, so you don t have to calculate it in advance. TO: PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID PERMIT OWNER Meter is the way to go if: You have a meter and want to track your postage spending without the bother of keeping stamps of various denominations in inventory. The meter can be set to dispense whatever amount is required by the weight and size of your piece. UNITED STATES POSTAGE PITNEY BOWES 021A $ MAR MAILED FROM ZIP CODE Postage cost for common sizes. 4 1 / 4" " 11" 6" 45 11" 8 1 / 2"
13 Finalize the budget Service Quantity Unit cost Total Graphic Design 3 hours $80/ hr $240 Printing & Assembly 850 $.95/ each + $807 Addressing & Mailing Services 800 $.21/ each + $168 Postage 800 $.35/ each + $280 TOTAL $1,495 To get a price estimate for your project consult your printer. Plan the timetable Understanding how long each stage of the direct mail process will take enables you to get your mailing to the recipients on time. Stage Time to allow in Business Days* Database development or purchase mailing list Design mail piece Print production Address and prepare for mailing First Class mail delivery Standard mail delivery = minimum number of days = maximum number of days; *these times are approximate Some work can be done simultaneously. For example you can have your piece designed while you re developing the mailing database.
14 Calculate the cost of postage These postage rates (as of January 2012) can give you an idea of the cost of various classes of mail. Regular-sized Postcards First Class Postcard Any weight 32 First Class Pre-sort Postcard Any weight Standard Mail Postcard Not available Use Standard Mail Letter Non-Profit Postcard 3.3 oz Use Non-Profit Letter Regular Letters, Self-Mailers or Big Postcards First Class Letter 1.0 oz 45 First Class Pre-sort Letter 1.0 oz Standard Mail Letter 3.3 oz Non-Profit Letter 3.3 oz Heavy Letters First Class Letter 2.0 oz 65 First Class Pre-sort Letter 2.0 oz Large Postcards, Self-Mailers & Thick Letters First Class Flat 1.0 oz 90 First Class Pre-sort Flat 1.0 oz Standard Mail Flat 3.3 oz Other Charges Standard Mail Letter Lumpy or Rigid 3.3 oz 58.8 $1.47 Standard Mail Letter Forward Service 1.0 oz 45 Standard Mail Letter Return Service 1.0 oz 45 International (Mexico and Canada only) Full Rate Letter (Air Mail) 1.9 oz 85 Full Rate Postcard (Air Mail) 1.9 oz 85 Full Rate Flat (Air Mail) 1.9 oz $1.50 All prices are for machinable mail, meaning it s not square, lumpy or doesn t contain a rigid object, unless indicated. Non-machinable mail incurs a surcharge in all postage classes.
15 Frequently Asked Questions What is the difference between First Class mail, Standard rate mail, and Non-profit mail? First Class mail receives the fastest delivery from the Post Office. First Class mail is generally delivered in 1-3 days locally and 3-5 days nationally. First Class mail has higher postage rates than other classes with rates being based on size and weight. Certain types of mail must be sent via First Class mail, such as invoices, statements, and other personalized mail. First Class mail is also forwarded or returned automatically to the sender if it considered undeliverable at no additional cost. First Class mail is generally perceived to be of higher importance, so it generally gets looked at more closely by the recipient. Pre-sort First Class is a postage discount option if you re mailing a minimum of 500 pieces. Standard rate mail (aka Bulk Mail) delivers slower than First Class mail: 2-5 days locally, 1-3 weeks nationally. Standard mail is less expensive than First Class. Forwarding and return services are available at an additional charge. Standard mail is not recommended for time-sensitive mail or if the mailer wants the undeliverable mail returned. There is a minimum of 200 pieces to mail at Standard rates. Non-profit mail is a sub-class of Standard rate mail and is processed and mailed in the same manner as Standard rate mail. Non-profit postage rates are the least expensive postage rates. To mail at Non-profit rates, you must be a non-profit and have a completed Form 3624 on file with the Postal Service and/or have a non-profit permit from the Post Office. Examples of non-profit organizations are charities, religious organizations, colleges, and universities. Non-profit mail cannot contain any advertising, must be careful with their wording when requesting money, and must have a return address that matches the address on the Form There is a minimum of 200 pieces to mail at Non-profit rates. How do I make sure I m choosing the correct postage rate option? West Press recommends you consult with us or your mail house before starting a mailing project to discuss artwork design, paper, postage options, and postage cost. West Press has several members on staff experienced in mail piece consultation and design.
16 Can I mail at discounted postage rates even though I don t have a permit? YES if you are mailing with West Press. West Press offers the use of their mailing permits to customers at no additional cost (other than postage). If you are using another mail house for your project, consult with them before starting the project. What is a self-mailer? A self-mailer is a mail piece that does not use an envelope. Examples of self-mailers include postcards, brochures, newsletters, and catalogues. What is an Indicia? An indicia is a postal permit printed on the envelope. It can be used for postage instead of a stamp or meter imprint for discounted postage options. How often do postage rates increase? Postage rate increases can occur as often as once a year and are set to be in line with the current rate of inflation. Why is it important to use a good mailing list? Using an accurate, targeted, and up-to-date mailing list is the single most important factor in determining the success of your mailing. You should use a list that is relevant to your offer. In addition, the Post Office requires mailing list be updated every 95 days for Standard Rate and Presorted First Class mailings. West Press offers services to help you meet this postal requirement. How do I send you my mailing list and in what format? A CD, or FTP upload are options for sending in your list. Please do not send West Press your list on mailing labels if you can avoid it. The list formats preferred are Excel, Access, CSV, or Delimited formats. West Press can also accept other formats check with your account executive or a customer service representative if you have questions about the format of your list. How do I go about purchasing a list? West Press can help you purchase a targeted mailing list based on the demographics you provide. Both residential and business mailing lists are available. Postage rates are set-up in a tiered structure. What does this mean? Discounted postage rates are determined in large part by the density of the mailing. For example, if you are mailing 5000 pieces to the Tucson
17 area, you will pay a lower postage rate than if you were mailing 5000 pieces across the United States. Can I have handwritten addresses on my mail pieces? West Press offers two handwriting options for return and mailing addresses: Handwriting fonts and Real handwriting. Consult your West Press account executive or one of our customer service representatives for more information. How many pieces of paper can I put in an envelope to keep my mail piece under one ounce? The type of paper you choose and the numbers of sheets of paper affect the weight of your mail piece. An example of a popular mail piece: 4 sheets of 8.5 x 11, 20/50# paper folded for a #10 or 6 x 9 envelope weighs less than one ounce. The four sheets can be printed one-sided or two-sided. A fifth sheet will push the piece weight over one ounce. What is CASS-DPV? DPV works in conjunction with existing CASS Certified software to validate addresses. DPV allows a user to confirm the validity of address information right down to the apartment and suite number. Addresses that do not pass CASS-DPV are not assigned a zip + 4 code. These addresses will mail at a higher postage rate and are unlikely to be delivered to the recipient. Unless you are trying to clean up a mailing list and you want your undeliverable mail returned to you, we recommend you do not mail to these addresses until they are corrected. What are Move Update Requirements? Postal regulations require that any mailing using discounted postage must use one of the following methods to update mailing list. Ancillary Services Return Service Requested: the piece is returned to the mailer Address Service Requested and Forward Service Requested: the piece is forwarded to the correct address and notification of the correct address is sent to the mailer Or Current Resident is used The list processed through National Change of Address (NCOA) compares the list to the Change of Address request list on file at the Post Office for the past four years. If you have questions regarding the printing and mailing of your project, you may contact West Press for additional information.
18 What some of the words mean Ancillary Services Address Area Automation Bulk Mail BMEU Carrier Route CASS Certify* Database Delivery Time Demographic DPV* Extra services not included in your postage class that you can choose to buy and add on for your piece, e.g. Return Service An ink-free, artwork-free area on the address side of a mail piece that the Postal Service requires you leave blank for the address and bar code information. Letters and postcards can be mailed at an automation rate when prepared according to certain rules, including a barcode address. Now called Standard Mail, it refers to the Postal Service s discounted mailing options where a large quantity of identical items are mailed in bulk or all at one time. Business Mail Entry Unit or a specific central post office location where discounted mail is accepted. Refers to a very precise bar coded address describing the destination in terms of which postal carrier route it belongs in. In order to use it you typically need a very large number of pieces going to one area. This process compares the customer s database against the national US Postal Service database of addresses. This process will identify inaccurate addresses and adds the correct Zip + 4 codes. It will also standardize your addresses to the preferred Postal Service format, i.e., North will become N, etc... This is required by the Postal Service to obtain discounted presorted postage rates. A collection of information in discrete fields, e.g. a mailing list. The time the Postal Service estimates it will take your mail piece to arrive at its destination, from the time you submit it to the post office. No guarantees. Population characteristics that allow you to describe the attributes of people on a mailing list. This is part of the CASS Certification process and identifies whether an address is a Postal Service deliverable address. These addresses may be missing an apartment number, lot number, etc
19 Dummy First Class FORM 3602 Indicia Ink Jet Machinable Mail House NCOA* Pre-Sort Rigid Self-Mailer Square Standard Mail Tab A mock-up, a prototype. Sometimes you make up a sample of your mail piece by hand to weigh it and have the post office give their opinion on its mailability. The most expensive and most full-service class of mail. The official form that you or your mail house completes to accompany your discounted mail. The USPS date-stamps and returns it as your receipt for the accepted mail. A permit printed on the envelope or mail piece telling the Post Office where to get the postage payment from. A quick printing method commonly used to address postcards and envelopes for mailing. Usually in black ink. If a mailpiece is compatible with the Postal Service s equipment it is considered machinable. Nonmachinable mail pays a surcharge for requiring hand sorting or canceling. A service that prepares postcards and letters for mailing by applying postage, sorting pieces, filling out paperwork and delivering the mail in trays to the Designated Bulk Mail Center. Many printers have an in-house mail house. This process compares a customer s database against the Postal Service database of individuals who have filed a Change of Address. This will correct address changes submitted within the last 48 months. Refers to mail that you or your mail house has sorted into zip code or other order in advance of presenting it at the post office, in order to receive a discounted postage rate. The Postal Service cares if you have a rigid object, such as a pencil, inside your mail piece and will charge you more for it. A mail piece that is folded to enable it to be mailed without an envelope. The Postal Service does not like square mail pieces because they are not compatible with their automated mail handling equipment. Because they must be hand sorted, square pieces require extra postage. The Postal Service s official name for Bulk mail, it refers to the various discounted mailing options. A round sticker used to seal the edges of a folded mail piece, to ensure it doesn t open during mailing. * Please keep in mind these services do not match a name to an address. They are intended for address clean-up only.
20 More than ink on paper. West Press 1663 W. Grant Road, Tucson, AZ Tel Toll-Free Fax
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An Introduction to Mailing for Businesses and Organizations May 2008 Welcome to the United States Postal Service INTRODUCTION RETAIL MAILING SERVICES commercial MAILING SERVICES ONLINE SERVICES ADDITIONAL
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POSTAL SERVICE 39 CFR Part 111 New Standards for Domestic Mailing Services AGENCY: Postal Service. ACTION: Proposed rule. SUMMARY: In July 2010, the Postal Service filed a notice of mailing services price
Mailing Services Price Change 1 Agenda CPI cap Changes by class of mail First-Class Mail Standard Mail Periodicals Package Services Extra Services Timeline Resources 2 The Price Cap Based on Consumer Price
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REQUEST FOR INFORMATION AGENCY: Office of Information Technology RFI NO.: D1229009F1 TITLE: Countywide Mailing and Fulfillment Services CONTACT: Name: John A. Kunzman Address: 115 So. Andrews Avenue, Rm.
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Where Did My Customers Go? 2 Where Did My Customers Go? The Problem of Undeliverable-As-Addressed Mail INTRODUCTION The U.S. Postal Service said it best when it noted in its recent annual report that Nothing
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An Overview of Proposed USPS Rate Changes for April 2015 Presented by: Janet Lockhart-Jones Sacramento PCC Education Chair Curriculum Manager, Postal Education Pitney Bowes Learning and Development Session
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PostalSaver Guide for Australia 022608 2008 Blackbaud, Inc. This publication, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, or mechanical, including
Mail Center User Guide 2012 Welcome To the Mail Center Mission The mission of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Mail Center is to provide is to provide expedient, accurate, cost-effective mail services
USPS Rate, Product and other Changes Proposed for January 22, 2017 Presented by Dr. Janet Lockhart-Jones Pitney Bowes, Inc. Presenting. Dr. Janet Lockhart-Jones joined Pitney Bowes in September 2012 to
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Long Island Postal Customer Council BOOT CAMP VI Mailpiece Design Special Forces Thursday, June 9, 2011 Express Mail Express Mail is the Postal Service's premium service. It provides reliable, expedited
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Introduction Direct mail is an effective, low risk method for businesses to market to new and existing clients. It s more affordable than advertising through mass media or highway billboards and you can