How We Know the World is Going Paperless, Courtesy of USPS Marketing

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The following is a guest post by Chrissy Foster of Billtrust, a leader in outsourced billing solutions.

The media has made society aware that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is in decline. There are plenty of articles that discuss the rise in prices, closing locations, and loss of millions in revenue. The US Senate recently approved the USPS reform bill offering $11 billion in buyouts and early retirement to postal workers. (Spoiler Alert: The bill created a heated discussion whether these actions will actually help the USPS).

The USPS is all-hands-on-deck simply because people are losing the need for their services, and the economy is NOT to blame. Shifts towards paperless documents have created major declines in mail volume.

The key culprits of the shift may be bills and invoices. The trend towards electronic billing has grown steadily in recent years. Now, it’s more than just a preferred convenience, it saves money and allows businesses to get paid faster.

In response, the USPS has taken matters into their own hands with a few marketing techniques that point to one conclusion: we are going digital!

1) This first commercial  is the USPS telling consumers that receiving paper bills and invoices is better than electronic alternatives because computer hackers exist.

The USPS is trying to convince us to revert behaviors and that sending and receiving bills online is not safe.  In reality, most of the advanced security measures provided via the web provide a safer environment than a paper mailbox. We are supposed to believe it’s more efficient to receive bills and pay bills with delays, limited post offices, and increased prices. It’s just not worth it.

2) In the USPS’s most recent push, they are trying to bring attention to their “Every Door Direct Mail” campaign. You may have heard of this campaign by its alternate ego “junk mail”. Again, trying to rewind consumer behaviors by bringing back more junk mail. Prepare to get more pre-approved credit cards in your mailbox!

Unfortunately, there may not be enough small businesses sending junk mail at lower prices to get the USPS out of the red. Meanwhile, talk of rising postage stamps yet again for bills, first-class mail, and other common mailing documents to 50 cents probably will only create more converts to sending and receiving electronic documents.

These marketing campaigns along with the press surrounding the USPS are tell-tale signs that we are going paperless with our documents.

The campaigns that are trying to instill fear of hackers and promote junk mail are the Hail Mary for the USPS.  The clock is running out, so it’s time to try anything.

For us advocates of going paperless, this is a sign that we are that much closer to a win.  The convenience, security, and money-saving value of going paperless are tough to beat! Keep up the good work!