Last week we posed a question about using the latest in video platforms to boost mail efficiency and effectiveness. We concluded that some nonprofits and businesses might find it super helpful, some not so much. Where you invest in tech does not rely on the latest trick or trend. To hit that ROI, determining your technology investment depends on your need and your strategy. So, is high-tech metering right for you, and can it save you money?
Could High-tech Metering Help Your Business?
To determine when and where to invest in new technologies, savvy owners, administrators, and marketers need to stay open to learning new things. Some people get excited about tech. Some get intimidated. The key is to assess your need more than your feelings. Eat the fish, spit out those bones!
This week we’re exploring advances in our good friend, the postal meter. What’s new with metering and mailing technology, and how could high-tech metering potentially save you some money? Let’s explore…
From meters to supermeters
You might already be familiar with the SendPro C (or one of its ilk) from Pitney Bowes. It’s a smart postal meter that collects shipping and postage information from several carriers and combines them to offer you shipping choices that are pre-calculated and easier to choose from.
This is one example of the ways handling mail has become more tech-oriented and either more or less complex for you, depending on your need. If the kinds of mail you’re producing are smaller batches, stay in the same basic categories, always stay at standard weights and sizes, and/or don’t change much year to year or season to season, then it’s possible your basic 49-cent (or nonprofit) rate is working just fine. No surprises means no surprises.
But if you’re rebranding, looking to branch out, have large amounts of mail or a variety of mailers, this can put you in the running for a better, smarter meter. There could be some great postage deals out there you’re missing. Shop around for equipment and platforms that can give you comparisons so you can choose the most frugal option for your context.
What are high-tech options for mail?
Smart postal meters like the SendPro C by Pitney Bowes calculate a variety of shipping options for each campaign. USPS offers digital services (such as apps) for metering, postage, and delivery, and works with eMarketing and eCommerce services to integrate mail with marketing. Cloud-based postal data can help with security and cleaner mailing lists.
From clouds to apps
When it comes to “smart” mailing, Pitney Bowes strikes again—and again! They’re also in cahoots with USPS, so if you’re looking for inventive or money-saving mailing options, stay in touch with what both organizations are up to.
New mailing tech doesn’t just push digital services for metering and postage. They’re also trying new things with data, fulfillment, sales, and advertising. Collaboration with eMarketing and eCommerce companies is putting new tech on the frontlines of mail and strategic marketing, and cloud services are helping organizations integrate and share like never before.
Going digital with organization and strategy could mean good things for you, like better security, faster data exchange, more helpful digital apps, and more accurate contact information for your address book and databank. The way to tell if this would work is to project whether adopting new technology would make your processes more or less wieldy.
Here are some signs it might be time to branch out:
- Your volume of mail has increased or is increasing significantly
- You expect a growth bump and are preparing for it
- You’re sending mail to too many wrong names and addresses
- You want to combine direct mail and digital media
- You’re juggling a lot of parcels and shipping
- You’re trying to bring corporate documents into the 21st century
- Your other office management tools have already gone digital
No admin left behind!
If you want to explore a new direction or swap a pen-and-paper method for an app, check first with the people actually doing the work on the ground. Make sure they know what’s going on and are ready to get on board. They’ll have some feedback for you that can be really helpful in making this decision. Working with a consultant can be a great investment, too.
Big tech, small(er) orgs
When people throw around new tech terms, like “cloud services,” does it make you think of some massive, complex enterprise? If so, you might wonder how this stuff can be helpful for small to medium businesses, nonprofits, parachurch ministries, or congregations. You’re not the only one.
As we in the direct mail business know, digital isn’t everything—sometimes, simpler is better, and the steady application of old-school methods win the day. But we also know that, if nothing else, age-old practices for mailing need at least to be combined with digital innovation in order to gain the highest possible ROI.
This isn’t just for large organizations. Tech companies see you out there (not in the creepy way). They know this is your day. They know SMBs, and their nonprofit equivalents are multiplying like rabbits, eager to grow and figure out customized solutions for their own audiences. Anything can be useful to the one who’s ready for it and knows what to do with it.
Getting ready to adopt
So don’t go into a new enterprise blind. You know that. In the long run, one of your best ways to save money is not just by pinching pennies where you can (such as postage), but also maximizing what you have. So:
If you don’t change a thing for the next 20 years, is your mail already the best it can be as direct mail? Do you know your audience like the back of your hand? Do you know how to leverage color, size, shape, font, copy, and branding? Get your mail to this level, and you’ll get the most out of a new tech investment.
You guessed it: at Letter Jacket Envelopes, we know just how to help you with that. From shapes and sizes to windows and logos, we love preparing full-color, fully-customized envelopes for all of our customers at a great price. But we admit, we have a soft spot for the little (and medium) guy.
Ready for free shipping on your first order? Let us know just what you need!