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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Direct Mail is still relevant in the age of Social Media and E-Mail Marketing

In the age of social media, and e-mail marketing, you may be surprised to find that direct mail still proves to be amongst the most effective use of your marketing or fundraising budget. While the web is a great source for dynamic information and instant gratification, receiving a piece of direct mail is a more tangible experience.

Many of your recipients will prefer direct mail and print marketing over digital. With the proliferation of e-mail marketing, e-mail boxes are getting more crowded, while physical mail boxes are becoming less so. With less mail hitting these physical mail boxes comes less competition for the recipients attention. And while e-mail can be discarded with a click of the button, or filtered directly to a spam folder, your mail piece has to have at least been placed in the recipients hand and glanced at before hitting the recycle bin.

Response rates for direct mail marketing hover at around 3.4% while e-mail marketing response rates  land at a much more modest 0.12%. Admittedly direct mail marketing is a more expensive process - therefore e-mail marketing has a higher return on investment on average. A lot of marketers use this as an excuse to do so called "spray and pray" email blasts where they send generic emails to large numbers of email addresses and hope their message gets out enough to generate a decent response.

There is a better way. The most successful marketing campaigns are integrated, or multi-channel campaigns. These campaigns use aspects of direct mail, e-mail and social media combined. Perhaps you start with a highly targeted direct mail piece, one that is tailored towards the recipients interests. Along with the piece is a traditional return device to order a product, sign up for your service, or to donate to your cause. Along with this traditional return piece, there is also a QR Code or Personalized URL (PURL) which leads to a landing page for the recipient to sign up, purchase or donate. This web site can also serve as a source to gather more information from the recipient such as their e-mail address. It can also serve as an easy way to get them to follow you on twitter, or like you on facebook. This will allow you to communicate with them on a more regular basis, keeping you in front of mind when they are ready to purchase or donate.

Maybe your initial direct mail didn't get you an immediate response - but it was a first touch. It's been said that to make a sale, unless it was an impulse buy, you will need to "touch" the buyer several times. Maybe your next step would be a follow-up mailing, e-mail or even a phone call. If you managed to get the recipient to follow you on a social channel, sharing content relevant to your target markets interests will also keep your company in mind, and be considered a "light touch". According to the ‘Rule of Seven,’ formulated by marketing expert Dr. Jeffrey Lant, to penetrate the buyer’s consciousness and make significant penetration in a given market, you have to contact the prospect a minimum of seven times within an 18-month period.

To find out how Movad can help with your next campaign, click the button below.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

We've done it again with an Award of Recognition from the Printing Industries of America

You may have seen that we were recently awarded the 2013 Neographics Power of Print "Best in Category" award for "Digital Printing Variable Data." One of the benefits of winning this mid-Atlantic regional award was that our entry was automatically entered into the Printing Industries of America's 2013 Premier Print Awards Competition. We are excited to announce that our entry was honored with an Award of Recognition from the competition.

"It is very gratifying to win this prestigious award knowing that our customer's ROI was $15 to $1"
Joan McCloskey
President, Movad

For more in-depth coverage of the award winning appeal please visit our previous blog post regarding the 2013 Neographics Power of Print award.

Would you like to learn more about how we can help you get award winning results, and request samples of the award winning appeal?

Join us in celebrating our recent awards with a 10% discount* on your upcoming printing/direct mail project - just mention the awards blog offer when you place the order.

*One per customer - offer excludes postage - offer expires August 31, 2013.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than print - Print Industry Misconceptions - Part 2

The second in my series of Print Industry Misconceptions is based on people thinking that "Electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than print." While in theory this seems like it would be the case, however when you take a closer look at what is involved with electronic communication, it becomes more and more apparent that it is not necessarily true.

The video to the right from the people at International Paper and, Go Paper Grow Trees illustrates some of the differences between electronics and paper. The video compares how these two methods of communication are produced, what resources they are produced with, and how much of it is recovered for recycling.

Did you know that In Europe and in the U.S. around 60% of energy used to make paper comes from renewable resources? (source Carbon & Energy Reduction, Print City, 2010) Additionally, the raw material in paper, trees, are also a renewable resource. Compare that to the fact that electronic devices typically require the mining and refining of dozens of minerals and metals, as well as the use of plastics, hydrocarbon solvents, and other non-renewable resources. 

Also something to take into consideration is that the adverse health effects from producing an e-reader are 70 times worse than producing a book (source Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris, "How Green is My iPad," The New York times). Along the same train of thought, every time you turn on your e-reader, you will be using electricity. The same goes for email communication, text messages and other forms of electronic communication and correspondence. On the other hand, print is the only medium with a one time carbon footprint. (source 2010 PrintCity report on Carbon and Energy)

The E-waste centre of Agbogbloshie, Ghana
Let's take a moment to look at recycling, in my last blog post I had pointed to the fact that in 2010, nearly 45 million tons of paper and paperboard were recovered, a recycling rate of over 63%. (source U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.) In 2012, that rate had increased to over 65% (source American Forest & Paper Association.) Meanwhile, in 2008, Americans generated 3.16 million tons of Electronic Waste (Source EPS, MSW 2008 data). According to a 2009 EPA report, only 25% of electronics were collected for recycling, with computers collected at the highest rate (38%). (source U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.) In addition, 50-80% of electronic waste collected for recycling is shipped overseas and often unsafely dismantled. (source Facts and Figures on E-Waste and Recycling, Electronics Take Back Coalition)

As new research emerges, it is clear that "either/or" is not the answer. One must consider all the inputs and outputs before making a decision about which communications are better delivered electronically or on paper. By linking the power of paper with the efficiency of electronics, we can streamline our communications and help maintain the best environmental balance possible. (source International Paper, Go Paper, Grow Trees website)

I'm not saying that we should end electronic communication, (of course not, after all - I assume that you are reading this blog on some sort of electronic device.)  Both electronic and paper communications have their place! Those who say we should be going paperless to save the environment are doing you a disservice, as the facts show that most suppliers within the paper industry demonstrate sustainable forestry practices.

Movad is happy to provide you with this information with you in the hope that we can dispel the myth that the paper and print industry are bad for the environment.

Portions of this blog have been sourced from "The Value of Print" by the Printing Industries of America.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Misconceptions of the printing industry: Using paper kills trees.

Print Grows Trees LogoThere are many misconceptions about the printing industry, such as "Using paper kills trees" or "Electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than print." In the coming weeks I will focus on these misconceptions - and provide facts that prove otherwise.

The first misconception I will be going over is that "Using paper kills trees." According to Print Grows Trees "The primary raw material for paper is trees, which are a renewable resource. The trees in North America used for paper production come from well-managed forests or farms." In fact, believe it or not, today, the United States has 20 percent more trees than it did on the first Earth Day celebration more than 40 years ago. (source American Forest & Paper Association.)

Private landowners plant about 4 million trees every day, which is 3-4 times more than they harvest. This gives them the income they need to maintain, renew and manage this valuable forest resource sustainably. Without that income, landowners face economic pressures to convert forest land to other uses, including growing other crops that are more profitable or selling the land for development. In both cases, the forest is removed forever. (source International Paper, Go Paper, Grow Trees.)

Meanwhile - only 11% of the world's forests are used for paper, (28% is used for lumber, and 53% for fuel.) (source International Paper, Down to Earth Series, "Is it Worth Printing?"/Choose Print)

By providing a market for responsibly grown wood fiber, the U.S. paper industry encourages forest land owners to continue managing their lands rather than selling them for development or other non-forest uses. This is an especially important consideration in facing economic pressure to convert forest land to non-forest uses. (source Two Sides US)

In 2010, nearly 45 million tons of paper and paperboard were recovered, a recycling rate of over 63%. (Source U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.) In 2012, that rate had increased to over 65% (source American Forest & Paper Association.)

Want to find out more about this topic? Here are a few more resources to visit and learn from:

Paper Because - "Paper is a sustainable, renewable, recyclable, plant-based product that connects us in so many ways to the important things in life."

The Paper Life Cycle - "Promotes a wider understanding and positive action around the key environmental issues affecting the life cycle of paper."

Paper Recycles - "Recycling increases energy efficiency, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and promotes sustainable forestry practices."

SGP (Sustainable Green Printing Partnership)"Print plays a vital role in the graphic communications industry. and sustainable business practices ensure continued viability and growth."

Two Sides - "Our mission is to help people gain a better understanding of why print and paper is a versatile and sustainable communications medium. We strive to be balanced, reflecting views which may not always be those of Two Sides and its members." Phil Riebel - President - Two Sides U.S.

Portions of this blog have been sourced from "The Value of Print" by the Printing Industries of America.

Movad is happy to provide you with this information - stay tuned to our blog in the coming weeks as we disprove additional misconceptions about the Print Industry.

Friday, May 3, 2013

We are a 2013 Neographics Award Winner!

Update 7/11/13: We've just won an Award of Recognition from the Printing Industries of America for this piece as well! Please visit our blog post about the Award of Recognition.

Movad is excited to announce that we have been awarded the 2013 Neographics Power of Print "Best in Category" award for "Digital Printing Variable Data." It is an honor to have been recognized for this award, and we are very proud of this great achievement. This award is a testament to our attention to detail and quality, not just with this project, but with every project we handle. Our notification letter from the Graphics Arts Association, an affiliate of the Printing Industries of America, states "As a winner, you've joined an elite group of the best printers and graphic communications firms in the mid-Atlantic region. The competition this year was extraordinary, so you should be especially proud."

St. Joseph's University Letter SampleFor this award winning project, we partnered with the St. Joseph's University Athletics Department to develop a highly segmented, variable printed, direct mail fundraising appeal to raise money for the Hawk Athletic Fund. The mailing was split into 16 different segments based upon the recipients athletic interests - from Baseball, Golf, Women's Lacrosse, Men's Track and so on. Each recipient received a letter which was personalized to them from the department head or the head coach of the specific athletic team. Also changing in the piece were the photos along the sides of the fundraising appeal, for instance those receiving the baseball letter, received baseball photos on their appeal.

St. Joseph's University Envelope SampleBut the personalization did not stop there - the outer envelopes for the piece were also printed digitally. This allowed us to customize the envelope to reflect which office the mailing was from, for instance - Office of SJU Baseball, or Office of SJU Golf. By including this information the recipient is more likely to open the piece due to their interest/involvement with that particular sport.

"Saint Joseph's University Athletics congratulates Movad on a job well done!!  Partnering with Movad for our fall athletic appeal was great.  Their team was extremely thorough and easy to work with on every detail.  Thanks to Movad we had an extremely successful fall appeal.  We brought in over 290 gifts which resulted in over $97K for our programs." 
Rebecca Jurich
Associate Director Athletic Development, Donor Relations and Events

Saint Joseph's University

Would you like to learn more about how we can help you get award winning results, and request samples of the award winning appeal?


Join us in celebrating our Neographic Award with a 10% discount* on your upcoming printing/direct mail project - just mention the Neographic Award blog offer when you place the order. And be sure to follow us on Facebook or Google+ for photos from the award ceremony!

*One per customer - offer excludes postage - offer expires August 31, 2013.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The USPS Saturday Mail Delivery Saga Continues

Postal worker: I THINK I'm back to delivering on Saturdays ...According to his blog post "Sanders to Postmaster General: Postal Service Must Keep Saturday Mail" U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) yesterday called on Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to withdraw his plan to stop Saturday mail delivery.

In the blog he stated that "the opinion by the non-partisan GAO unambiguously declared that the Postal Service has no legal authority to end Saturday mail without the approval of Congress. In fact, Congress just last week passed a bill that restated the requirement for the Postal Service to maintain Saturday mail delivery."

In a letter addressed to the Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, Senator Bernie Sanders encouraged  Mr. Donahoe to clear up any confusion on this topic. "Therefore, I am urging you to make it clear to the American people that the USPS will continue Saturday mail delivery in adherence with the law as soon as possible."

He goes on to explain that he understands that much of the financial shortcomings that the post-office has faced since 2007 can be attributed to the Congressional mandate that the post office pre-fund 75 years of future retiree benefits over a 10 year period; something that no other government agency, nor any other corporation in America is mandated to do. "Before this pre-funding mandate was signed into law by President George W. Bush, the Postal Service was making a profit. In fact, from 2003 through 2006, the postal service made combined profit of more than $9 billion." Senator Sanders continues "I look forward to working with you to end this onerous mandate once and for all which would keep the Postal Service healthy and thriving for years to come."

Also mentioned is the fact that a law passed in 2006 banned the Postal Service from expanding its services with new and innovative products and other offerings. Such innovations could aid the Postal Service to increase much needed revenue, and compete with other shippers such as FedEx and UPS.

What is your opinion, is this the right move? Do you prefer the post office revert to the normal 6 day delivery plan? Will the government follow through with Senator Sanders' suggestion to remove the pre-funding mandate? Will that be enough, or do you feel the Postal Service would be better off by continuing with the 5 day delivery plan in addition to the mandate? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Saturday Delivery or no Saturday Delivery?

Saturday Delivery or no Saturday Delivery?
In early February, I blogged about The United States Postal Service's transition to a 5 day delivery schedule, and how will it affect you? This blog detailed The Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe's decision to end Saturday door to door delivery of letters in an effort to generate approximately $2 billion of annual cost savings. But as of now, it's uncertain whether his plan will go into effect or not.

A recent poll by IPSOS, an independent market research firm, indicates that 80% of Americans support the revised delivery schedule put forth in Patrick Donohoe's Plan. Despite this fact, the spending bill passed in March by the House of Representatives includes a provision held in place for the last 30 years which requires the USPS to maintain services at not less than 1983 levels.

However, according to the Congressional Research Service report, nothing specifically requires the Postal Service to deliver mail on Saturdays.

“Nothing in Title 39 of the U.S. Code (which holds most federal postal law) requires the USPS to deliver mail six days per week. However, since 1984 Congress has included a provision in its annual appropriation to the USPS stating that ‘6-day delivery and rural delivery of mail shall continue at not less than the 1983 level’” can be found on page 13 of the report.

Whether this will really hold up the plan is up in the air. Most lawmakers agree that the bill passed in the House of Representatives, and a similar bill expected to pass the senate, which includes the same words will allow for the US Postal Service to move forward with their 5 day delivery plan. They indicate that the continued delivery of packages on Saturday is enough to satisfy these requirements. Others believe differently “The language is clear,” said Rep. Jose Serrano (D., N.Y.). “They can’t put these changes to Saturday mail into effect.”

Regardless of whether this move is approved or not, the US Postal Service could ignore any rulings against the move - thereby forgoing $100 million in federal funding annually. But when you take a look at the approximate $2 billion in savings that would be a small price to pay.

What is your take on this? If the USPS stops delivering letters on Saturday, do you think it will affect you? Do you support this plan? Do you think the plan will go through? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Direct mail to the deceased - a marketing and fundraising nightmare ...

Photo of a person grieving over a loved oneWhen a family member passes away, one of the last things that a spouse or other relative who was left behind wants to deal with is receiving direct mail addressed to the recently deceased. The United States Post Office will continue delivering mail to the deceased until they are officially notified that delivery is to cease. This requires a grieving family member visit the post office with a legal death certificate. There have been instances where a deceased person has continued receiving mail several years after their passing.

You can wait until the post office is notified of the passing and stops mailing to the deceased. Or you can wait until you receive a request from the family of the deceased to remove them from your mailing list.  But the last thing a fundraiser or marketer wants to do is cause further pain on the family of a previous donor, or customer. Nothing is more embarrassing or insensitive - especially when paired with slogans such as "Donate now to save a life", or "Act now for a once in a lifetime opportunity!".

Image of redacted direct mail nightmare letter sent to Dennis McCloskey nearly one year after his passing.Many of you may know of the passing of Dennis McCloskey in May of 2012, Movad's owner. Dennis' wife and partner is now the President of Movad. She recently received a direct mail piece personalized to Dennis from a large organization. In the piece they included a box with a real cork, and a letter which included phrases such as "we want to help you celebrate a new phase of your business or personal life with a toast to what's next", and "Visit (personalized web address) to learn more about how we can help you live the life you deserve." She relayed to me how much the letter had upset her, and how she's been trying to reach out to the Executive Director to inform him of his blunder.

What's the alternative to this, how can you avoid this terrible situation?

By being proactive with your mailing practices and using a deceased mailing suppression service which will either flag your mailing list with a deceased field in the data, or by removing the recipient completely from the list. These databases are updated on a monthly basis, and the process begins once a death is reported to the Social Security Administration. The processing may take a few months before all of the deceased suppression databases have been updated. While no service can guarantee 100% suppression - a vast majority of the deceased recipients will be caught by using such a service. Besides the benefit of avoiding an insensitive message to the family, depending on the size of your mail lists and how clean you have kept it, this may also save you money in printing and postage.

Along with deceased mailing suppression, you may want to consider further cleansing of your mail list which includes DMA Suppression - this stops mailing to recipients who have signed up for the national DMA Do-Not-Mail list. You could also use a suppression suite which cleanses both DMA mail preference, deceased suppression, and also includes prison, trailer park, and nursing home suppression as well. While you may not wish to run your entire list against this kind of suppression, you may want to consider this for people you have never contacted before - such as an acquisition list, or a list you recently purchased.

Maintaining your data, and keeping it clean is a responsibility you should not take lightly. A mistake such as those described above can cause pain to a previous donor's family, and prevent future donations or purchases. Movad offers the services mentioned in this blog, and we welcome the opportunity to work with you. Whether or not you use our services, we highly recommend that you recognize the importance of this suppression and look into this now.

Do you have questions about this service, or do you have a similar story to share? Let us know in the comments below. You can also reach us through our contact us page, or call us at 215.638.2679. And please feel free to share this blog with your colleagues - the more who know that these services exist the better!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The United States Postal Service's transition to a 5 day delivery schedule, and how will it affect you?

In an effort to generate an approximate $2 billion of annual cost savings, on February 6th, 2013, The United States Postal Service announced plans to transition to a five day delivery schedule for mail delivery - Monday through Friday, however packages and mail sent to PO Boxes will continue to be delivered on Saturday. This change in delivery schedule is set to begin in August of this year.

The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”

But what impact will this have on Direct Mail that you send? With one less day of mail delivery in the week, there is likely to be a slight increase of pieces of mail each household receives in a day. And with those additional pieces comes additional competition for the recipients attention. The more appealing your piece is at first glance, the more likely it will be opened.

You may also want to rethink the day your mailings drop at the post office. It's unknown whether the bulk of this additional mail that would normally be delivered on Saturday will just shift to a Monday delivery, however, bulk mail will still be processed, but not delivered on Saturdays, so that will most likely be the case.

But the only sure thing is that you will need to continue to be creative with your pieces. Make your mailing stand out from every other piece, and it will have a better chance of being opened.

What do you think, will this change in delivery affect you? Please leave a comment and let us know.

If you need help getting your next mailing opened, feel free to visit us on the web at, or call us at 215.638.2679.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Intelligent Mail Barcode - are you ready?

You probably have noticed a change in the barcodes on the mail you receive. Some have the Postnet Barcode that has been in use the last few years, and some have the new Intelligent Mail Barcode. The change over from Postnet Barcode to the Intelligent Mail Barcode was supposed to occur May 11, 2011; but the Post Office has postponed this deadline. The new deadline is this Sunday, January 27, 2013. This postponement also applied to Business Reply Mail, any Business Reply Envelope that go out after January 27th with the old style barcode will be charged a postal penalty. The latest information from the Post Office may move from a mandated approach to a value-based approach regarding this barcode technology.

The advantages of the Intelligent Mail Barcode is that one barcode is used for First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, Bound Printed Matter, Business Reply Mail, Priority Mail, and Delivery Conformation. It also gives the Post Office greater ability to track mail. And with the possibility of the Post Office going to a value-based approach there may be monetary advantages to using Intelligent Mail Barcode

The Intelligent Mail Barcode is a 4-state barcode meaning there are 4 different bars. A full bar, a tracker bar, an ascender bar and a descender bar as shown below.


The Intelligent Mail Barcode consists of a Tracking Code and a Routing Code. The tracking Code is made up of a 2 digit Barcode Identifier (Optional Endorsement Line Description), a 3 digit Service Type Identifier (Mail Class Description), 6 or 9 digit Mailer ID (ID number unique to the mailer, and a 6 or 9 digit serial number. The Routing Code is the Delivery Point Zip Code 0, 5, 9, or 11 digits.

Have you prepared for this change - have you updated your Business Reply Envelopes?

Movad constantly keeps up with the changes with postal regulations to ensure that our clients receive the best postal discounts available to them. Want to learn more? Feel free to visit us at or call us at 215.638.2679.