The United States Postal Service recently announced the agency will consolidate or eliminate more than 35,000 jobs in the U.S. This comes as the agency has struggled over the past few years to generate a positive net-income. It is on a three-year plan to save $20 billion.
Among the biggest threats to the Postal Service, none stand out more than competition stemming from viral marketing initiatives. There is a well-defined parallel of when the Postal Service began losing money to when these initiatives, including text messaging, e-mail marketing and social media started gaining momentum.
The Postal Service officially states the diminishing numbers of first-class mailings in addition to lower-volume shipments have led to less-than-expected revenue. The rise in electronic communications has played a major role in the average consumer replacing the hard copy letters they have sent for decades with simple e-mail messaging. This supports the diminishing number of first-class mailings.
As threatened as the agency is, it is actually in a strong position to adapt its products and services to enter this emerging market.
The rise in viral marketing (including text messaging and e-mail marketing) have allowed companies to shift their resources to more innovative marketing tactics that can be tracked with analytics to show greater return on investment.
The Postal Service, given its long-standing history, brand recognition and deep roots in the evolution of communications can adapt its services. Adaptations can include, for example, e-mail hosting services, international communications services, social media integration and viral marketing initiatives. Perhaps the agency could partner with a leading tech company to begin hosting these services as early as 2013.
Launching an integrative platform that offers a competitive pricing model and hosting paid search advertisements (Facebook reported that 85 percent of its 2011 revenue stemmed from advertising) is a viable revenue generator for the Postal Service.
A recent report released by Borrell Associates indicates e-mail marketing (17.4 percent), search engine marketing (15.1 percent), and social media marketing (13.7 percent) represents the majority of online advertising expenditures by businesses this year. Given the reputation of the agency, there is a tremendous opportunity for entry into these markets, and if properly executed, can return immediate success.
The reasons most business have not succeeded in the “new-era” are because they have not adapted their business model to reflect changes in the way consumers communicate and market their products and services.
The Postal Service is in an excellent position to leverage its reputation and history to enter these markets and return to profitability.
Kenneth C. Wisnefski is founder and CEO of WebiMax, an online marketing firm in Mount Laurel, N.J., specializing in search engine optimization, search engine marketing, pay per click management and social media marketing. Wisnefski is an expert in online advertising and a serial Web entrepreneur on his third successful start-up.