Despite its dire financial situation, the USPS is still actively seeking new ways to grow mail volume. One area that the Postal Service is focusing on is enticing more advertisers to use direct mail. The Postmaster General announced at the National Postal Forum that 75% of advertisers don't use direct mail as part of their overall marketing efforts. In order to entice mailers to start using direct mail, the USPS designed a new program to pique the interest of companies not currently mailing. This program is Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), which allows new-to-direct-mail companies to send direct mail without having to adhere to many of the guidelines that are normally imposed on bulk mailers, such as the required use of permit accounts, certain mail preparation rules and address accuracy tools.

This has understandably caused some upset in the postal industry. Many providers see EDDM as a competitive encroachment on their business or a form of postal cannibalism. Many are reporting that they are already losing business as current mailers switch to the less bureaucratic method of mailing with EDDM. At a recent MTAC meeting, it was reported that one mailer has already lost $20 thousand per month due to a client switching to EDDM and forgoing the list cleansing they were doing with the mailing provider. However, the intent of this program is not to cannibalize, but rather to tap into the revenue potential of those that don't use direct mail.

So What Is EDDM, Exactly?
When applied in the manner in which EDDM was presented at the May MTAC meetings by Paul Vogel, USPS CMO and President of Package and Shipping Services, EDDM should be viewed as a lead generation opportunity for mailers and an enabler of additional mailing services made possible by today's software technologies. EDDM leverages simplified addressing - a form of saturation mailing that, while useful for sending out a broad message, lacks the pinpoint precision follow-up for ensuring repeat business.

Consider a new mailer, one of the 75% that are not mailing, who uses EDDM and experiences the same great ROI we know successful direct mail can generate. Excited about the response rate, and with a desire for more, they now turn their attention to a proven Mailing Service Provider who can take their marketing efforts to the next level. The MSP can offer advanced address correction using CASS-Certified software to the customer list representing those who initially responded to the EDDM mailing. They can leverage PAVE-certified software to ensure timely, predictable and ultimate delivery of the personalized piece. They can also leverage the Intelligent Mail barcode and perhaps a QR Code to measure response and overall efficacy of the campaign, thus ensuring repeat business for the MSP and the mailing industry.

EDDM is simply one of the tools the USPS is leveraging in its attempts to increase mail volume, a tool that can be used to show the ROI of direct mail and act as a bridge between direct and online mailing. Hopefully it will be used as a collaborative effort to demonstrate the value of direct mail and grow mail volumes, not as a tool that cannibalizes business from Mailing Service Providers.

We as providers can demonstrate to those new to direct mail marketing just how much more control and visibility this type of marketing provides, offering an opportunity to finely coordinate marketing initiatives in a way that is impossible through other marketing platforms. We can show them that we offer these tools as well as the tools they need to make sure they are working with the best address data possible, all of which, when combined, are a perfect recipe for marketing campaign success. When used responsibly and as a collaborative effort, EDDM is a good idea.