The U.S. Postal Service gets a bad rap. I can’t think of many other organizations with such common negative phrases associated with them, like “going postal” or “mailing it in” (slacking). Then again, not many institutions have been around since 1775.

The woes of the postal service have made major headlines. Without paying much attention to the issue, I believed they were in trouble because it was just another government agency being eroded by union’s influence and the inability to innovate.

I was wrong.

The USPS is self-funded from stamps and services and does not cost the tax payer anything…unless Congress intervenes again. I find myself alongside those who use direct mail as a marketing option are finding themselves in this debate: what is the bigger threat, intervening parties or the widespread popularity of email as a communication AND marketing tool.

To some, legislation requiring the USPS to fully fund all its future pension obligations outright is a measure that could bankrupt any city, state, or business. In an interesting move, legislators recently took action to address debt issues and stave off financial collapse.
Learning about all of this, and in reality, digging to the heart of the debate about the threat to the US postal system revealed (not surprisingly) that there is a lot more to the story than I realized. I couldn’t help but draw parallels to best business practices…

So, this little tale serves to reinforce two main points:

  1. Things are not always as they seem which is why, as a company, it is more important than ever to tell your story. If you don’t, someone else will. If they don’t like you, you may not like the story they give you.
  2. The postal service is alive and well. And direct mail is still a dominant marketing tool. Direct mail is a leading method for businesses to acquire new customers. After all, who else reaches every address in the nation, daily?
How do you tell the story of your business?