The 2017 NPF was held at the Baltimore Convention Center in May. The King Solutions NPF team included Ben Waltman, Chris Lund, Jesse Kennedy, David Renodin and myself. We joined 30 attendees from our customers, and 3,500 others from the industry to engage in a well-orchestrated and valuable information exchange and educational opportunity.
We spent some quality time with our customers and also enjoyed cheering for our Minnesota Twins. While we were there, the Twins completed a three game sweep over a quality Orioles team at the beautiful Camden Yards, the home of the Orioles, which was less than a block from the Baltimore Convention Center.
We learned much about industry perspective, emerging technology and the continued evolution of mail in the marketplace. We also had excellent interaction with the USPS and our customers to understand the challenges that lie ahead.
About the National Postal Forum (NPF)
The National Postal Forum is a not-for-profit educational corporation that was established in 1968 by a group of major postal customers/mailers who were committed to an ongoing partnership with the USPS. The forum’s goal has always been to provide education to business mailers and foster communication/feedback between the USPS and its business customers, resulting in a more responsive and efficient mail communications system.
It’s the largest annual mailing industry trade show focusing on education, new technology and innovation. The NPF offers an opportunity to build industry relationships, forge partnerships and effectively showcase postal products in an ever-changing marketplace.
The 2017 NPF was held at the Baltimore Convention Center, with excellent industry representation from every corner of the nation. With an abundance of well-organized NPF social events, an excellent vendor exhibit hall and a wide variety of educational opportunities, the event was certainly a success.
The hot topics
Without question, the industry has made major advancements in the collection and use of data. The industry has been acutely focused on the ability to use technology to streamline processes from mail preparation through USPS delivery. It has also enabled the visibility of mail pieces at every step in the process.
Why is this important? The USPS is able to leverage this data to manage USPS operations workflow, creating opportunity to understand and improve efficiency throughout the network. From the mail owner’s perspective, the integration of mail tracking in a multi-channel marketing effort is critical. An important attribute of this industry effort is cost containment, which enables ROI in the expanded use of print and mail as a critical marketing component.
The newest portal buzz
The word is “Informed”: primarily used in two different but related contexts. Get used to it: you will continue to hear it because it is essential to the future of mail. It’s about capturing and leveraging data, allowing for a more direct and engaging connection with customers. Mail will remain and grow in vitality as a valuable part of a multichannel customer engagement.
Of course it is lot more technical than this, but let’s clarify the two at least a little
What is Informed Visibility?
The USPS and the mailing industry continue to aggressively advance mail entry and mail tracking programs that involve and leverage the creation, collection and mining of data. These efforts enable total visibility of mail entering the network, and tracking of mail at the truck, shipment, pallet, container and individual piece levels. Related recent USPS programs you may be familiar with that have been part of that evolution include eInduction and Seamless Acceptance. With the evolving technology, marketers and mail owners will find new and exciting ways to engage deeper and more efficiently with consumers.
What is Informed Delivery?
The USPS is expanding its relationship with the consumer and will be striving to associate other means of interaction customers by associating email addresses and phone numbers to mail addresses. As a postal customer, you can now be enabled to see what is in your mail, with a view of actual mail pieces before you even get pick it up. You can elect to receive an email from the USPS providing you information about what is in your mailbox, or log into the USPS site where you can find additional information about the mailing, or perhaps be driven to a link to take advantage of a mailing promotion.
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