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Archive for Innovation


 The Global Address Data Association’s first webinar takes place August 10 at 10AM ET.  Presentations by Martin Turvey of Loqate and Emma Gooderham of Postcoder and WorldAddresses.   Executive Director will outline forthcoming GADA events, meetings, and actions at Universal Postal Union and in USPS Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee.   We only have webinar places for 50 participants.  Please hurry —- Read More→

Geographic Information Systems Help Scholars See History –

By “layering” different kinds of data onto physical maps, historians are able to literally “see” what General Robert Lee could actually see at the Battle of Gettysburg.  In doing something similar with historical information, another scholar was able to track the path of the wave of hysteria surrounding witchcraft in 17th century New England, bringing an entirely different orientation to and understanding of the Salem witchcraft trials. Read More→

Although presented in the program as a panel, the subject of the role of government in the postal service and communications was more of a colloquium led by Jeff Jarvis and Gene DelPolito, president of Postcom. There were four presentations.

Fully expecting political pap, the audience was surprised and to a certain extent delighted by an inspiring and intriguing speech by the USPS Inspector General David Williams, titled “Post Modernism”.

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Next chapter.

In our next chapter reporting on this conference, we will hear from postal law expert Jim Campbell some important history of the relationship of Americans to the postal service. In his view, this history suggests what our choices are regarding the future of the post office.

What is the competitive advantage of the USPS? Larry Weber, speaking on social media asked that question and the question was taken up again by many of the speakers throughout the day. Companies have various types of competitive advantage: inspired employees, perhaps. Some organizations are flatter and thus quicker to market than others. Some are extraordinarily innovative, others create more products and services, others lower cost structures, and others have delighted customers. Interestingly, Mr. Weber, as we have noted, discovered the USPS change of address system as a possible source of competitive advantage. Why not build a social product around the change of address service that enables people to interact about schools, shops, and life in a new neighborhood in general.

Matt Swain of InfoTrends suggested that the USPS encourage more transpromo mail because it is a very powerful marketing tool. Patrick Bartlett, a parcels expert with conference organizer Ursa Major urged the postal service to concentrate on parcel delivery, especially overnight deliveries, noting that 20% of retail’s sales are now e-commerce related and merchants increasingly were offering free shipping on purchases. In the post-Thanksgiving shopping period Read More→

Categories : Digital, Innovation, Postal, USPS
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Report on PostalVision2020, Part 2

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PostalVision 2020, a conference designed to pose the question concerning the future of the postal service, “What would Google do?”, took place on June 16 in Crystal City outside Washington DC. Organized by the consultancy Ursa Major, the event brought together unlikely bedfellows. Those bedfellows included senior officials of the USPS, a social media expert, a PhD holding engineer from Pitney Bowes, to entrepreneurial CEOs of startup companies, the chair of the US postal regulatory commission, and the chief security officer of the USPS, among others.

This was without a doubt the most inspiring “what about the post office” event we have attended on the American continent, and we hold it a smashing success. If you weren’t there, read our series which does its best to capture all the ideas, and come to the next one when it occurs.

First of all, the event was moderated, and opened, by author and journalist Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do? Opening the event with comments around the theme of “the age of digital disruption”, Mr. Jarvis led us through a dozen or so truisms arising out of the digitalization of communication, and pretty much everything else. We have addressed these in a separate article. Read More→

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We are finishing up the second day of the Specialty Information Publishers Association’s Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. The program is filled with the confrontation of the digital and non-digital, the print and the bytes, the BRE and the e-mail opt-in.

Much of this seems like “direct marketing reborn”. I heard freelance copywriter Bob Bly analyze a landing page for a password protected site. Icould have been listening to him analyzing a direct mail piece. There were A/B tests of the colors of the “Order Now”. Yes, “colors”. The letter color of “Order Now” and the background color of the button. And what about the size of the button? It matters. So does the number of bullet points of “benefits” in your copy. The more the better. And you need to think about where you put the testimonials. Bob suggests on the left side, and they should stretch down the page as far as the copy goes.

Sessions on using freelancers, and negotiating print and software agreements, underscored that this is an association of smaller businesses, often run by their owners, who are now on their second rebirth of their companies. From off-line, ink on paper, delivered through the mail, to email marketing of paper products, to the new digital mode, requiring both digital and paper products for some, and the use of several media: letters, e-mail, blogs, Twitter and Facebook. How do you bring it all together? Do you need all of these things for your business?

At the end of the day, everyone understands that it is all about the content. What is the content you are managing and how you are presenting it to your customers. Harvard University’s Perry Hewitt, Director of Digital communications and Communications Services led us through the development of their program to assist the myriad Harvard institutions in providing the right content in the right way to the right audiences on-line. Most of us, indeed, perhaps all of us, were left breathless. Noting that social media now are the source of 400 times the number of referrals provided by search engines, Perry suggested we acknowledge that we need to surrender control for influence. The name of the game is to summarize and synthesize what you collect. And that seems to be a message repeated by many at the conference who speak about content.

If you are a publisher, you will want to be here next year. It’s good enough for Knight Kiplinger, who keynoted at lunch today.



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The Prescott Report is attending the World Mail and Express Europe Conference in Brussels and passes this announcement along. I am a perennial judge of the World Mail Awards and this year judged the entries in Technology and E-commerce. Look for a complete article on the winners in the coming issue of The Prescott Report.



19 MAY 2011 (BRUSSELS): The winners of the 12th World Mail Awards – the mail and express sector’s premier event – were crowned during an exciting and memorable evening in Brussels on Tuesday (17 May).

Leading players from across the industry gathered at the Conrad Hotel to pay homage to those who have excelled across the course of the past year.

Honoured for his outstanding contribution to the mail industry, Massimo Sarmi, CEO and managing director of Poste Italiane, won the Industry Leadership Award. Sarmi said: “For me it is a great honour to receive this prestigious award, also because the judging panel includes important former and current leaders of the industry. This recognition is not only for my work over the last nine years, but also for my team, including more than 150,000 colleagues who interact with our customers every day.”

Another big winner on the night was private Polish operator InPost. The company scooped two awards – for E-commerce and Innovation. The InPost team – Rafal Brzoska, CEO, and Marcin Bosacki, head of international – said: “We are truly delighted to have won two awards this evening. This is the result of team effort. Hearing InPost’s name read out twice makes all the hard work worthwhile. Innovation is our top priority, so we are very happy.”

It proved to be a great night for Guernsey Post after the operator landed the People Management Award. The company was amongst one of the smallest represented throughout the evening. Dudley Jehan, chairman of Guernsey Post, said: “We are all thrilled. Guernsey Post is one of the smallest postal representatives here tonight. Our business is dedicated to people, so it’s a great award to win.” In addition, the company’s HR director Steve Rains said: “This represents three or four years of hard work by the company and the unions to turn around the culture in our business.”

Well-renowned journalist Alex Puissant hosted the Awards ceremony. The event – organised by Triangle Management Services – forms part of the World Mail & Express Europe Conference, which concludes today (19 May).

Now in its 12th year, the World Mail Awards was initially conceived through discussions at the World Mail & Express conferences. As the industry developed much debate was focused on ways of encouraging and publicising best practice within the mail industry worldwide; out of this grew the concept of the World Mail Awards, which was formally launched in 2000. Since then the Awards have grown to include ten categories. This year, Triangle Management Services received more than 100 applications across six continents.

The 2011 World Mail Awards winners in full:

- Corporate Social Responsibility –sponsored by MER: CTT Correios de Portugal

- Customer Service – sponsored by DHL Global Mail: Post Danmark

- E-Commerce – sponsored by Post&Parcel: InPost

- Growth – sponsored by PostEurop: Posten Norden

- Industry Leadership – sponsored by Pitney Bowes: Massimo Sarmi

- Innovation – sponsored by Capgemini: InPost

- People Management – sponsored by HP: Guernsey Post

- Retail Project – sponsored by Honeywell: Swiss Post

- Security – RPost UK

- Technology – sponsored by Intermec: Neopost


For more information contact:

Tiffanie Bromham, Triangle Management Services


Chris Dolan, Triangle Management Services

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Reporting directly from the Universal Postal Union’s Postal Operations Council meeting in Bern. The UPU’s GMS program now has 48 countries involved. Passive RFID chips are inserted by independent panelists into letters in the participating countries around the world. The letters are posted to real addresses in other participating countries where they are opened by independent panelists. Along the way they pass through RFI reader-gates and their passage is wired to UPU headquarters where the data is captured and reported to the participating Posts. The UPU has just issued a very nice video that explains the benefits of this system. Take a look:

Charles Prescott

Executive Director


Categories : Innovation, Technology, UPU, USPS
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