USPS trumpets its Web site in holiday initiative

WASHINGTON: The US Postal Service (USPS) is gearing up for its annual holiday rush with a major campaign, involving national and local media outreach and other marketing elements.

WASHINGTON: The US Postal Service (USPS) is gearing up for its annual holiday rush with a major campaign, involving national and local media outreach and other marketing elements.

Looking to regain business lost to rivals like UPS and FedEx, as well as encourage customers to conduct as much of their post-office dealings online as possible, the USPS is emphasizing its newly revamped www.usps.com Web site in all communications, said senior PR specialist Joanne Veto.

Media outreach was expected to start November 20 with a press conference at the National Postal Museum in Washington. At the event, deputy postmaster general Pat Donahoe was to detail USPS plans to deliver an estimated 20 billion pieces of mail and serve as many as 11 million customers a day during the holidays. Plans were also in place to discuss the various new services offered by the post office, including the ability for customers to create customized stamps using their own photos.

"We do an awful lot of external outreach with national, trade, and local media," Veto said. "The second goal is to reach consumers directly through our annual holiday guide," about 126 million copies of which the USPS mailed to US households a few weeks ago.

"This is an annual thing," she added. "We're the only delivery company out there on Christmas Eve. It's our biggest time of year, and an opportunity to win customers back."

Other marketing components will include print and online ads, as well as in-store displays touting all of USPS' online and home- or business-pickup services.

About 80% of customer dealings with the USPS can be handled online, including buying postage and arranging for free pickup of packages. However, many customers may not realize that fact, according to Veto, who said that about 70 staffers around the US are working on media outreach promoting the USPS services.

Campbell-Ewald developed the holiday campaign's print and online ads, which will run mainly in women-centered titles such as Ladies' Home Journal, Real Simple, and Good Housekeeping.

The ads will utilize the USPS' new slogan "Today's Mail." Demos in post office lobbies will cover such topics as creating holiday cards and postage online.

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