ProSpeak: Class Wars in Our Mailboxes
There is a class war playing out in mailboxes across America. It’s not necessarily a socio-economic conflict, but one of technology and the ripple effect on what enters our hands via the mail. If you look inside any mailbox today, chances are its contents will look very different than just five years ago. Technology and economic factors, including the recent changes in postage rates, have conspired to change how we use, produce and respond to mail.
Technology, long the proverbial double-edged sword, has allowed us to develop innovative packages and strategies that were unthinkable just a handful of years ago. And the Internet has forced many direct marketers out of their comfort zones, and helped redefine the art and science of direct marketing. Each year we have seen its influence become more pronounced as we are drawn to the ubiquity and the seemingly limitless possibilities of this shiny, relatively new medium.
Meanwhile, the recession has caused sweeping changes in the spending habits of consumers and marketers alike. Budgets have been cut across the board, and priorities and expectations have likewise been trimmed back from “thrive” to “survive.”
Our mailboxes, long the incubators for innovation — whether be it out of necessity, curiosity or pure self-indulgence — have taken on the importance of a laboratory trying to develop an antidote, or at least a vaccine for the rise of other technology-enabled mediums.
And like many discoveries, sometimes the answer has been overlooked and is far simpler than imagined.
Mail’s changing complexion
A closer look under our marketing microscope reveals a fascinating postal phenomenon. Regardless of whether it was due to recession or economy, there has been a pronounced change in the proportions of mail classes within our mailboxes. Numbers from the USPS may focus on the monetary impact, but the class complexion — and the creative strategies employed by each — of the mail is equally as important to marketers.