Well, I can’t count the number of times we receive mail at our office with names of people who have not been with the company for YEARS. It’s crazy!

Did you know?

Simply put, First-Class Mail is more expensive, but it will be delivered faster and comes with additional services like return service. First-Class Mail is intended for personal or business communication. Standard Mail is used more for advertisements and mass communication. Both qualify for discounted, bulk mail rates.

First-Class Mail

First-Class Mail is delivered faster by the USPS than Bulk or Standard Mail. Also, First-Class Mail is generally delivered in 1-3 days locally and 3-5 days nationally by the USPS. First-Class Mail is also more expensive than Bulk Rate Mail. Rates are based on size and weight — you can mail up to one ounce at the lowest postage rate.

Certain types of mail must be sent via First-Class Mail, such as invoices, statements, and other personalized mail. First-Class Mail is also forwarded automatically or returned to the sender if it isn’t deliverable.

First-Class Mail is generally perceived to be of higher importance by the recipient, so it generally gets looked at more closely by the recipient. First-Class Mail can be pre-sorted to qualify for discounted bulk mail rates, but a minimum of 500 pieces are required.

Standard Mail

Bulk (Standard) Mail is generally delivered by the USPS in 2-5 days locally, and 1 – 4 weeks nationally.

Many companies use Standard Mail because it is less expensive than First-Class Mail. Bulk mail is not automatically forwarded or returned to the sender if it is undeliverable (though you can pay extra to receive these services.)

Rates for Bulk Mail are also based on the size and weight of the mail piece; in general, you can mail up to 3.3 ounces at the lowest Standard Mail rate. There’s a minimum quantity of 200 pieces to mail at bulk rates.

Non-Profit Mail

Non-Profit organizations qualify for discounted bulk postage rates.

Non-Profit Mail is treated as Standard Bulk Mail and is usually delivered in 2-5 days locally, and 1-4 weeks nationally. Authorization by the US Postal Service is required to receive Non-Profit mailing rates, and only applies to Agricultural, Educational, Fraternal, Labor, Philanthropic, Religious, Scientific, Veteran organizations, as well as some political committees.

Ref: Action Mail Marketing and Direct Mail Services.

So back to Returned Mail…

Why do we get returned mail? Here are a couple reasons.

  1. Missing forwarding information. If the addressee on the mail piece no longer resides at that address and USPS does not have a current forwarding (change-of-address) on file, the mail piece will most likely be returned.
  2. Missing secondary information (apartment, suite, number, etc.) is invalid or missing, the mail piece may be returned.

If you get returned mail with both the address and the yellow non-delivery sticker, you can usually find out why it wasn’t delivered.  The sticker has a code on it. You can find the official definitions of all the message on the USPS site, but here are a few of the common one’s for you:

Not Deliverable as Addressed – Unable to Forward
Somebody moved but didn’t tell the USPS to forward their mail or forwarding period ended.

Attempted Not Known
This means the letter, as it was addressed, was delivered (or attempted) but then put back into the mail stream because the recipient didn’t match the one currently at the address.

Addresses marked as “Vacant” reached the destination but were then returned as undeliverable because the mail carrier marked the address as vacant. The USPS can sometimes take up to 90 days to get a vacant status into their system.

Insufficient Address
This means the address is just plain bad. You should verify your address.

As our lives become more and more consumed by digital media we give less time and attention to the messages we receive. The average lifespan of an email is 2 seconds. Brand recall after seeing a digital ad is just 44%. Direct mail on the other hand has a brand recall of 75%.

Mailing is perceived as a more trusted, personal form of communication. Think about who in your life would love to get a letter from you. Make sure you have a good address for them!

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

Same name. New Address.

It's time to clean up your mailing lists.A record 8.9 million people moved during the pandemic!

I just spent the two weeks after New Year’s cleaning up our CRM, Hubspot. Even though I am constantly reminding my clients to clean up their email and mailing lists, I have been a little lax through Covid and not mailing quite as much.

I can’t count the number of times we receive mail at MEDiAHEAD with employees that retired 15 years ago – piles of it! And catalogs – thick catalogs, sometimes 10 from the same company to people that haven’t worked here in years.

Mailing Options

First Class Mail is more expensive, but it will be delivered faster and comes with additional services like Return to Sender. Certain types of mail must be sent First Class, such as invoices, statements, and other personalized mail.

Many companies use Bulk Mail because it is less expensive for advertisements and mass communication. Bulk Mail is not automatically forwarded or returned to the sender if it is undeliverable, so you will not know if that person is no longer there or if your list is accurate. With the cost of printing and postage, it makes sense to clean up your list before you send out a bunch of mail that will never be seen by the intended recipient. (You could also add Return Requested for an additional cost. Although, this could get very expensive if your list is horribly outdated.)

USPS: First Class Mail versus Bulk MailThe days of dropping thousands of “Resident” postcards in the mail is over, they just don’t get the response that they once did. Years ago, I approached the YMCA because they were dropping 900,000 postcards in December and January without a great response. I convinced them to buy/clean their list and target to specific categories of recipients with different photos and offers to go along with it. Even though we dropped a much smaller number of postcards, their response was 5 times that of previous years.

Things to check in your CRM before a mailing:

  1. Insufficient Address – suite, apartment number, etc., is invalid or missing, the mail piece will be returned or tossed.
  2. Non-Deliverable Addresses – unable to forward, somebody moved and didn’t tell USPS to forward their mail, or the forwarding period has ended.
  3. Make sure the Recipient’s Name is spelled correctly – I constantly get mail addresses to Catherine or Cathy. Nope to that company.

Mailing is perceived as a more trusted, personal form of communication. At the very least, make sure their name and address are correct!

Direct MailBy Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

Have you noticed that few people are using direct mail right now because of the cost of paper and postage?

With our help, you could target small, specialized groups of customers for the continued success of your brand.

Stats continue to show the positive impact of direct mail:

1. 42.2% of direct mail recipients either read or scan the mail they get.

2. Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than email.

3. Direct mail recipients purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more than people who don’t get that same piece of direct mail.

4. Direct mail offers a 29% return on investment.

5. 73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read it whenever they want.

By customizing your mailing piece to a specific type of customer and gearing the offer and visuals to them, your success rate increases dramatically.

In its response rate report, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) analyzed Bizo and Epsilon data and found that direct mail achieves a 4.4% response rate, compared to 0.12% for email.

Overall, the DMA found that direct mail’s response rates are anywhere from 10 to 30 times higher than that of digital!

New Mover ProgramsA New Mover program is a cost-efficient way to introduce your company and start a meaningful conversation with new movers in your target market. The program can be a single postcard or multi-touch programs that run throughout the year with different services and offers. We can combine all the different mailings, no matter where they are in the program and mail them efficiently for you every month.

People are always on the move and according to USPS, 17% of all households change yearly, so this opens up a huge market for local businesses to capture new business.

Targeted Mailing Lists

We offer comprehensive and targeted mail lists. The lists are compiled from hundreds of sources and extremely accurate.

New Mover ProgramsWouldn’t it be nice to greet people in the process of moving at their new address with information on your services? Consumers want personalization – more than just their name, we’ve done postcards with a map from their door to yours or a link to directions. You could also link to a video detailing your services through a QR code on the postcard.

If you target your offer to data that the client is interested in, response rates can be as high as 15 to 25 percent!

If your business or franchise is moving or opening in a new area – we can mail to everyone in a radius that you choose. We can also sort according to specific attributes – income, family size and hundreds of other data points.

Let us know if you are interested in doing a targeted mailing campaign!

QR CodesQR codes are back and they are really useful this time! Who would have thunk it?

Now that you can capture them with your phone and no QR code scanner is needed, they have exploded in marketing. More than two-thirds (67%) of consumers say that QR codes make life easier in a touchless world and 58% favor the greater use of QR codes.

QR Codes for Menus

I was recently in NYC and all the menus were touchless – just a QR code to order. I think we will see more of this as the variant spreads.

QR Codes for Loyalty Programs

QR CodesMake it easy for people to sign up for your loyalty program with a QR code, instead of having them to go to your website. They’re quick and error free – typing a URL is time-consuming and inconvenient on a mobile screen and consumers are also likely to make errors.

QR Codes in Print

Print based marketing has limitations in real estate space – with QR codes you can give consumers a way to access unlimited information. You can also change all the information behind the QR code anytime information or the offer changes without reprinting.

QR Codes to your Videos

You can engage your customer with rich content like video through a QR code – don’t just sell the product, include an informative video on how to use it. Video is very popular right now.

QR Codes for Promotions and Contests

QR CodesBy adding a QR code, you can make your promotions interactive and get input from your target audience. If you run a contest, have them register through the QR code for the product or event to allow your customers to participate. A good example is World Park in NYC – the codes were placed throughout the park and engaged visitors in a quiz on the park’s history, pop culture, art and music, science and geology.

QR Codes on Business Cards

Many of the business cards that we print now – have QR codes on the back so that someone can just capture their information and add it to their phone. Did you know that our portal can automatically generate a QR code with all of your information on the back of your card?

We used them years ago as a gimmick to reach our website, but I would never have guessed that they would come back and be so useful!

Direct MailWith COVID-19 infection rates going down and vaccination rates going up, the nation is looking forward to post-pandemic life. For businesses, many of the changes consumers made during the pandemic are here to stay, including many that are drivers of direct mail. Here are five 2021 consumer trends that may affect your marketing.

1. Even more online shopping.

Consumers have become used to shopping online for pretty much everything from groceries to outdoor gear. According to Digital Commerce 360, consumers spent $861 billion online with U.S. retailers in 2020, up 44.0% from $598 billion in 2019. This is good news for direct mail, since direct mail is one of the primary drivers of online shopping.

Tip: In addition to mailing out physical coupons, include online coupon codes, as well.

2. Working from home has become the norm.

As many businesses experience the benefits of the “work from home” model, including higher employee productivity, greater job satisfaction, and lower absentee rates, this shift is likely to stick. This gives direct mail more impact than ever. According to one study, 88% of retail buying decisions are either made or discussed at home, and 61% of shoppers say direct mail influences their buying decisions.

Tip: Now is a great time to be shifting your marketing budget to include the channel that meets buyers where they are—at home.

3. Focus on home, family, and self-improvement.

These categories that focus on home, family, and self-improvement have shown growth as people rediscover the simpler joys of life. McKinsey has found, for example, that 28% of consumers have invested in new uses of their living spaces at home. There is no reason to think they are going back.

Tip: Try wrapping your messaging about the value of your product or service from the perspective of home, family, and self-improvement when possible.

4. Desire for the genuine, personal, and authentic.

With so many people feeling isolated over the course of the pandemic, consumers are craving communication that feels genuine, personal, and authentic. An Epsilon study found that 67% of consumers see direct mail as more personal than digital options, including online, cookie-based personalization.

Tip: Try personalization in print, which is seen as both genuine and engaging.

5. Less brand loyalty.

One of the surprises coming out of the pandemic is the decrease in brand loyalty. Due in large part to supply chain disruptions, consumers have become more willing to try new brands than they have in the past. Now is a great time to woo customers away from your competitors!

Tip: Consider launching a content marketing campaign.

There has never been a better time to send mail!

Michele StillwellBy Michele Stillwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

Quite a year, right?

The Corona Virus has affected our lives in every capacity. It has taken a toll on all of us that is for sure. 2020 will be a year that will be very hard to forget!

We’ve sheltered in place, socially distanced, covered our faces and washed our hands repeatedly since the beginning of the year. I don’t need to remind you of all the other things we have had to do or could not do for any extended period of time.

I know that 2020 will not be a year that we remember with fondness and reverence, but we believe that it is now more important than ever to send good wishes to friends, family and business acquaintances.

Seasons Greetings CardSending holiday cards shows that you’re thinking of others during this time of year. And there’s a good chance they haven’t seen your smiling face for a while, so what a great opportunity to brighten their day! This is the best time to send a holiday card… any time after Thanksgiving is what we have heard. Sending an annual greeting card can help market your business as well!

Benefits of Sending Holiday Cards

  • It generates goodwill. It’s a contact point that’s non-salesy
  • It is a way to reinforce your brand, by including your logo
  • A great way to win back clients – a simple reminder that you’re still around
  • A perfect way to offer gratitude for their business in 2020
  • Usually, a holiday card will get opened!

Now is the time to send holiday cards and MEDiAHEAD can help. Let us do the work for you. You can create your card, or we can help you. After that, just send us your mailing list and we can do all the rest for you.

MEDiAHEAD - Happy HolidaysIf you have several locations and want different cards for each location, we would be happy to accommodate.

If you have several signatures you would like inside the card, we can assist with that as well.

We want to make this holiday as easy as possible on you and your business. Let’s get some good holiday wishes out to our friends, family, co-workers and other business acquaintances. Spread some cheer this holiday season!

Give us a call at 816-931-7900 or email us at

By Michele Stillwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

Fax BlastWhat is a Fax Blast? Well, it’s a process where we send out the same message via fax to several different fax numbers. Fax blasts are often used for sales prospecting, sending out flyers to healthcare or veterinarian offices or for surveys. You can send news releases, newsletters, or business updates. Fax blasting is much more efficient than entering fax numbers and sending them one at a time!

We help our clients with FAX blasts and they can be really effective.

During these “work from home” days, why not try something new? Fax blasts may sound old fashioned, but they aren’t. Plenty of businesses still have fax lines. Studies show great results, especially for the healthcare or veterinarian vertical markets.

In fact, the utilization of fax in healthcare is almost universal. Up to 90% of all healthcare organizations still use faxes despite efforts to replace them with other processes. Healthcare organizations still rely on the fax machine to exchange information quickly and reliably. Fax is the workhorse of healthcare communications because it works, its secure, and it has universal adoption across all medical industries.

Does a Fax Blast support transmission verification?

Yes. We can help you keep accurate records with the transmission verification report we send. We also provide a log of the date and time each fax was sent, the number of pages transmitted, and a confirmation that each blast was successfully sent.

If you’re interested in learning more, let’s talk about how a Fax Blast can support your sales efforts!

Kathryn McDaniel

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

I started working with The Mission Project this year because my stepson is autistic and participates in their program.

The Mission Project allows adults with disabilities to live independently in their own apartments in Mission, Kansas. The Mission Project’s vans drive them to their jobs, one of the requirements of the project. They also receive classes offering social skills and coaching to live a successful life within the community.

Fundraising Dilemma

In previous years, they mailed out the standard letter, envelope and reply card to previous donors. Unfortunately, last year they only raised $3,800 which didn’t even cover the cost of the printing and postage.

This year, because all the participants of The Mission Project live in Mission, we decided to appeal to residents who are familiar seeing them in the community. We purchased a list of the one mile area around their community center, with a household income at a certain level and an age range of 35 to 65 years old.

The Design

Our art director designed a colorful 8 ½ x 16 letter with lots of photos of the residents and we mailed it in a colorful 6 x 9 envelope with a return envelope. We also purchased a website URL for a landing page where they could donate online –

The Mission Project 2019 Fundraiser

I’m happy to report that we helped The Mission Project raise over $22,000!

For our annual appeal campaign this year, we set a goal to collect $15,000 in net profit (after expenses). As I mentioned earlier, we raised a little over $3,800 last year. We decided to donate the printing and list research costs and only charged the actual postage for mailing the requests for donations. After expenses of only $1,096.41 we raised $22,431.59!

Personalization is so important in today’s giving climate. People want to feel that they personally connect with the causes they’re donating to. By highlighting a neighbor that they see around Mission – Ellen for example, who has one of the biggest smiles you’ll ever see – we were able to increase donations and increase community awareness for all the participants.

You can learn more about the Mission Project by visiting!

The Mission Project 2019 Fundraiser

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

Direct mail can be a highly effective way to solicit alumni gifts, the key is to make the package feel special. First and foremost, it should stand out from the often used letter and business sized envelope. It may cost more to produce, but the return on investment will pay off.

Rockhurst High School made their appeal much more personal by placing a variable class image and copy on the cover of the mailer that represented the alumni’s year of graduation. They appealed to the alumni and their classmates, because they knew first hand the benefit of a Rockhurst education, to help them give that same gift to the next generation.

The mailer was sent in a clear envelope so that the recipient could immediately see the variable image and copy, making it more likely to be opened. A personalized letter and return envelope were also included in the mailing.

The quality of the package was so high that when prospects received it they knew that they were part of an exclusive and important group, it made them feel special.

Rockhurst Direct Mail Project Rockhurst Direct Mail Project

The mailing raised over $100,000 the first week.

Leadership gift donors are some of higher education’s most important constituents, and the way you go about asking them to increase or renew their support can be a delicate process.

No doubt, the most effective way to solicit a leadership gift is through a face-to-face conversation. But, when that’s not possible, customizing your direct mail appeals with personal touches can go a long way toward making those donors feel important and helping to guarantee that your message stands out and generates your desired response.

Rockhurst Direct Mail Project Rockhurst Direct Mail Project