Marketers expect quirky idiosyncrasies in multichannel brand campaigns to produce the most disruption to strategies as a result of the U.S. Postal Service stopping Saturday mail delivery starting in August.
"The real issue is whether not having a Saturday delivery matters to consumers," said Robert Passikoff, founder of Brand Keys, a research consultancy specializing in predictive consumer behavior and engagement metrics. "There's already an issue of whether the motto of neither snow nor rain or gloom of night has a real impact on direct mail outreach."
Companies supporting online marketing services will offer other opportunities to fill the void. The biggest problem will be when the circular doesn't arrive before Saturday. That could have an impact on weekend sales for brands that don't market online, Passikoff said.
Timing becomes more important. Marion Murphy, president of GroupM Direct, who lives in a high-rise Manhattan apartment and hasn't received Saturday mail deliveries in about two years. "Consumers will see an increase of mail during the week, and might pay a little less attention to each individual piece that comes in," she said.
The Direct Marketing Association estimates 12.5 billion print catalogs are mailed each year and new interactive features, such as QR codes, text codes and augmented reality adorn shopping catalogs to improve the experience.
Since 2006, the number of mail pieces delivered by the U.S. Postal Service declined 25% to 160 billion in 2012, as the use of online media, like email and advertising, continues to rise.
Tony Mennuto, creative director at ad agency RadioFace, said it probably won't have much of an effect on campaigns, yet notes a direct mail campaign recently recommended to a furniture store client. "I thought it was an elegant way to contact their high-end consumers. It's kind of like going old school again." He's not sure whether not getting it in Saturday's mail makes a difference.
David Steinberg, CEO of XL Marketing, and Jey Pandian, SEO manager at Catalyst, believe neighborhood businesses and local retailers that don't have a strong online presence to deliver the message will see the biggest impact. William Alvarez, SEO director at Catalyst, believes print inventory delivered by the U.S. Postal Service could grow more expensive, due to shrinking offline ad inventory from the loss of Saturday deliveries.