Your postal conundrums are answered -- and free registration for our parcels and fulfillment webinar!                                                                                                             

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PRONEWS January 2016
ProList, Inc. is an Industry Innovator in data management and direct mail services solutions.
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Dave Lewis
301 924-4545

Postal Mysteries Solved…
Why do they DO that?

The Postal Service can be a big mysterious organization. They occasionally do stuff we just don't understand. We'll try to share some our excessive years of experience here in unravelling at least a few of those mysteries.

Why is my Standard and Nonprofit mail being returned?
We all know the rules – First-Class Mail gets returned, Standard and Nonprofit is discarded. So why do they keep returning your mail?  There can be a few reasons:

  • It looks like First-Class Mail. All of that fancy personalization you do, and that live stamp can even fool a letter carrier. So they return it.  No, they shouldn't, but send out thousands of pieces and someone makes a mistake;
  • You asked for it back. If you include an ancillary endorsement on the mail piece (like "Address Service Requested") you may be asking to have the mail piece returned – for a fee. If you want ACS information, but not the piece back, use Change Service. Our best advice is don't put ANY endorsement on a mail piece without talking to your project manager first – this stuff is complicated, and a mistake is costly;
  • Your return address is more convincing than your destination address. Mail is sorted by machines, not humans. If your neatly printed return address is easier for a machine to read than your fancy-pants handwritten script outgoing address, the piece may be delivered to that return address.  It shouldn't happen, but it does.

     What to do with your returned mail? 

  • If it has a yellow "lim-lim" label on it (we have no idea why they are called this) and you are using ACS, you can probably just throw it away – the address should be in your change of address data.  IMPORTANT EXCEPTION:  If the Intelligent Mail barcode has been obscured, typically by magic marker, the ACS data was probably not sent since the carrier blocked the code that tells them where to deliver the data. They're not supposed to, but…
  • If there is not a yellow label on it, try to determine why it was returned.  Is there a "return to sender" rubber stamp on it? If there are no markings, it may have been returned in error.  We can help investigate those.
  • Whether from ACS data, or data entering from the mail piece, get defective addresses corrected or deleted, so you don't waste your money mailing the same bad addresses next time


How long does it take my mail to be delivered?

That's an easy one: We have no idea. OK, we do have some rules of thumb:

  • First-Class Mail: Two days to adjacent states, 3-4 days to Midwest from Maryland, and nationwide in 5 days. Flats may be slower. There is no longer any next day service – this was a conscious decision by USPS. 
  • Standard Class and Non-Profit Mail: A much tougher call. Here are some good guesses:
    • Locally entered letter-size mail: DC/Baltimore area: 2-5 days; East coast: 5-10 days; Midwest, West coast: 10-21 days;
    • Commingled letter-size mail: Nationwide:  10-14 days;
    • Flats: Oy. Locally, 2-10 days. Anywhere else – 5-30 days.
  • Periodical Mail:  See "Standard Class." 

As you can see, we must have pretty big thumbs, and we must emphasize that these are averages – actual delivery may be much worse or much better.  This is why we track everything we mail at ProList. 

Here's an effortless tip!  If ProList tracks your mail, we'll automatically send you a YourMail™ notice when the mailing reaches 50% delivery.  Then you can click the "Click here for detailed tracking reports" link, and see more delivery detailed you ever dreamed possible.  Best of all, if you like this report you can have it sent to your customer, your boss, your mom – anyone you have an email address for!  Just ask you Customer Service Rep.

Have a Postal Conundrum we can resolve for you? At ProList we plumb the depths of postal mysticism every day. Give us a holler and we'll find the answer!

January is a Two Webinar Month!
Like a blue moon, but more boring.....

You read that right! A peculiar alignment of the moon and the ProList calendar results in a second webinar in our Thinking Out Loud webinar series in January – and this is a good one – Parcels and Fulfillment! Join us at 12:30 on Thursday, January 28. It's free, but worth a fortune.

For this webinar we will leave our enveloped friends aside and look into the nuts and bolts of fulfillment. The rules and processes for parcels are a lot different, and the whole process of ordering, shipping and tracking is different. If you are sending merchandise or premiums out on any kind of scale, you do not want to miss this. 

Among the topics we'll cover:

  • The fulfillment process:
    • Work flow;
    • Turnaround;
    • Pricing;
    • Ordering;
  • Packaging alternatives:
    • Shipping bags;
    • Boxes;
    • Other alternatives;
  • Shipping methods – USPS vs. FedEx, UPS, etc.
  • In-house or outsource – decision factors.

Dave Lewis, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing will be conducting the webinar. It promises to be a lively 30 minutes. The Thinking Out Loud webinar series is growing in popularity – it's a great way to learn the building blocks of direct marketing, and offers useful tidbits to even the most seasoned professionals. And you can eat during it. These are the fruits of technology.

So chop up a salad, pull up a chair, and join us Thursday, January 28, at 12:30, for Parcels and FulfillmentThinking Out Loud.

Click HERE to register. It's FREE!



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