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Deputy postmaster general visits Bell and Howell at NPF 2014

Deputy postmaster general Ron Strohman visits Bell and Howell booth #2111 at NPF and checks out the Criterion Apex® DM sorting system with Chris Lien, VP/GM BCC Software and Bill Krall, VP of Sales.

Deputy postmaster general

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Putting the smart phone in your multi-channel marketing plan

The customer communication market is rapidly evolving from a print and mail industry to a true multi-channel industry.  The businesses that will drive and lead the transition are those that will bring to market new technologies and services that leverage digital channels as part of a single, integrated messaging architecture.  Many have already developed their own Web portals or integrated with consolidation services, but very few have developed solutions that leverage the fastest growing and most readily available technology – the smart mobile device.

The challenges facing many mailers in making this transition are expertise, budget and resources.  These challenges are preventing most companies from moving beyond the strategy stage into the implementation stage – and further delaying their ability to stay relevant with customers, lower communication costs and speed response times.

Expertise needed to develop mobile technologies is different from Web solutions expertise. Unlike web solutions, mobile-savvy technologists must develop for various mobile platforms, manage the security of information in transit and at rest on a device, and optimize and simplify the user experience within the confines of a much smaller interface.  Added to these challenges are the costs and time to develop (or hire) this expertise; costs which are typically not factored into budgets.

The final challenge companies’ face when trying to plan a mobile and digital strategy is protecting their brand and the relationships they have built with their clients.  Most billers and statement providers want to control the dialog and messages a client will consume while viewing and interacting with their monthly statement or personalized marketing promotion – and not send their most trusted assets (clients) to another branded environment to be exposed to other promotions, services, and revenue-generating offers.

This is why Bell and Howell developed a secure, hosted and brandable platform for enabling communication providers to offer next-generation mobile messaging services to their customers for a low cost and with minimal effort. Similar to the business value of using and not building an email marketing tool or a customer relationship and contact management system, BH MobileMail allows a communication provider to expand and build deeper client relationships with a personalized one-to-one mobile app service that aligns with a consumers preferred technology – a smart mobile device.

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Is there still value in Intelligent Mail Full Service?

On April 19, 2013, the USPS® Postmaster General wrote a letter to the mailing industry stating the Postal Services™ determination to create 100% visibility in the mailstream. In this letter, two promises were made that influenced business decisions throughout the postal industry:

  1. A technology credit would be offered to help defray some of the costs associated with mailers adopting Intelligent Mail® Full-Service.
  2. An Intelligent Mail® barcode and Full-Service preparation would be required for mailers to receive automation price discounts in January 2014.

On June 24, 2013 the USPS® pulled back from the first promise (Full-Service technology credit) after the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) ruled that it would allow the tech credit, but would not accept a price increase to offset the cost of the credit. DMMAdvisory062413.htm

On November 29, 2013 the USPS® backed away from their second promise after the PRC ruled that it would not permit the USPS® to require Full-Service IMb™ for automation compatibility without reducing the CPI increase for 2014. DMMAdvisory112913.htm

These broken promises will certainly slow mailers move to use Intelligent Mail® Full-Service, even though there are some clear benefits, including:

  • Full-Service discount ($1 per thousand for Standard Mail® and $3 per thousand for First-Class Mail®)
  • Free Address Change Service (Full-Service ACS™)
  • Mailpiece, tray, and container tracking data
  • Permit Fee waiver when 90% of mail is Full-Service
  • Participation in future incentive programs including those in 2014: USPS 2014 Incentives

I believe that tying the physical mailpiece to the digital world is the right direction for the Postal Industry. However, I question if there is enough value in Intelligent Mail® Full-Service today, to continue to drive the industry in the right direction. What do you think?

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Deputy Postmaster General Visits Bell and Howell

National PCC Day - AtlantaDeputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman (center) visited the Bell and Howell booth at National PCC Day in Atlanta today. He stuck around to watch a JETVision demo along with several other participants at today’s show.  Photo also includes Paul Wiseheart, DSM (left) and Bell and Howell’s Charles Dunlop III (right).

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