Trial run

The Postal Service offers several mailing promotions each year that can give business customers an opportunity to try something new.

Rachel Katich, a customer relationship manager for Hudson, OH-based Jo-Ann Stores Inc., is one marketer who has done just that.

A few years ago, she oversaw a campaign that combined two components: a postcard with a QR code that recipients could scan to be taken to Jo-Ann’s website, and an Informed Delivery component that allowed users of the digital mail notification service to click an image of the Jo-Ann’s mailpiece in order to be taken to the retailer’s website.

“We wanted to measure the engagement of the QR code versus an email with a call to action to see which content was more compelling to the customer,” said Katich.

Although both components performed well, she found that the mailpiece with the QR code received the best response.

Katich said that she’s used mobile shopping and Informed Delivery mailing promotions during the past few years, and plans to use an Informed Delivery promotion again in 2020.

The Postal Service is offering six mailing promotions this year. The first one — the Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement Promotion — began Feb. 1 and runs through July 31.

This promotion offers a discount on postage to mailers who incorporate special visual effects, sound, scent, texture or taste components in their mailings.

In addition to helping the Postal Service innovate, the promotions allow the organization to add value to the mail — one of its business strategies.

“These promotions are an opportunity for mailers to use new technology with their printed pieces that enhance the benefit of physical mailpieces,” said Bonnie Lee, product development specialist in the Postal Service’s Product Innovations Group.

The five other promotions this year are Emerging and Advanced Technology (March 1-Aug. 31), Earned Value (April 1-June 30), Personalized Color (July 1-Dec. 31), Mobile Shopping (Aug. 1-Dec. 31) and Informed Delivery (Sept. 1-Nov. 30).

Each promotion is expected to draw between 500 and 850 customers.

“The promotions have different quirks, and they all do well,” Lee said.

Meeting the press

The Postal Service wants employees to follow proper procedures when interacting with the news media.

If an employee is contacted by a reporter or another member of the media, the employee should refer the individual to his or her supervisor or manager.

The employee can also direct the reporter to the USPS Newsroom website, which has a list of media representatives whose jobs are to answer questions from the press.

Additionally, the Postal Service wants employees to take care when answering questions from customers, who could share the information with the press.

It’s particularly important for employees to keep these guidelines in mind during the coronavirus pandemic. USPS is providing an essential public service during this crisis, and the organization wants to ensure customers have accurate information about its work.

Detailed guidance on responding to the news media is available in the Administrative Support Manual (Chapter 3, section 332.41).

USPS recently distributed a stand-up talk that explains the guidelines.

Asian Pacific American Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month — an annual celebration of the nation’s 22.2 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders — begins Friday, May 1.

About 48,000 Postal Service employees identify as being Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. This represents approximately 7.6 percent of the USPS workforce.

The organization celebrates the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through its stamp program. This year’s offerings include Year of the Rat, an entry in the newest Lunar New Year series, and stamps honoring Japanese American artist Ruth Asawa.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is held in May primarily for two reasons: The nation’s first Japanese immigrants arrived May 7, 1843, and the transcontinental railroad was completed May 10, 1869. Most of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

The federal government’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month website has more information.

Wonder wheels

“News Quiz” is a weekly feature that lets you test your knowledge of recent Link stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. How many bike delivery routes are operated by the Sun City, AZ, Main Post Office?

a) 25
b) 40
c) 61
d) None of the above

2. Fill in the blank: To assist customers during the coronavirus pandemic, the Postal Service has temporarily extended the time frame when a mailpiece will be returned to sender to (blank).

a) 10 days
b) 15 days
c) 30 days
d) 45 days

3. True or false: Under a policy that took effect April 21, any USPS employee who is unable to achieve social distancing in his or her workplace should wear a face covering.

a) True
b) False

4. USPS recently extended Priority Mail’s two-day service commitment by how long?

a) Three days
b) Four days
c) Five days
d) USPS has not extended Priority Mail’s two-day service commitment

5. How many personal letters were mailed in the United States during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2018?

a) 436,000
b) 4.36 million
c) 43.6 million
d) 436 million

Answers: 1) a. 2) c. 3) a. 4) a. 5) d.