Co-opetition

September 24th

There is a great deal written about alliances among competitors in the increasingly complicated marketplace of the post Internet world. The mailing and delivery industry is no exception.

In fact this summer a former Senior Vice President with the Postal Service and a Vice President from UPS published a paper together congratulating themselves on their collaboration.

Today comes word from the New York Times of a new UPS service, an experiment, to be sure, but a new marketing service direct to the door. (From the New York Times, reported by Postcom.org – see below.)

The description of the service is a milestone of its kind as the UPS innovative product manager explained that the new service will be different from what you would receive from the postal service because (the New York Times adds) you would not feel that you were receiving “junk.” No more Mr. Niceguy?

September 24, 2009
Delivering Something Extra
By STUART ELLIOTT
SINCE 1907, United Parcel Service has been delivering packages ordered by consumers. Next week, the company plans to deliver packages they have not ordered, in a test of an effort to expand into direct marketing.
Beginning on Monday, U.P.S. will experiment in five major markets with a service it calls Direct to Door, giving advertisers and retailers a chance to provide offers and product samples to U.P.S. customers. The marketing materials will come inside small boxes labeled Direct to Door Paks, and will be delivered to customers along with merchandise they actually ordered.
The test, to run through Oct. 2, is intended to gauge whether there is interest in having U.P.S. serve as an alternative to marketing mail delivered by the United States Postal Service or by companies like Valpak.
If Direct to Door goes forward, the added revenue could help United Parcel offset declines in demand for its mainstay package delivery service since therecession started.
In July, U.P.S. reported its sixth consecutive quarter of lower package volume in this country. The decline in the second quarter was 4.6 percent compared with the period a year earlier, which Bloomberg News described as the worst result since United Parcel went public in 1999.
“I wouldn’t say it was developed as a result of the economy,” said Lisa Lynn, marketing director for new-product research and development at United Parcel in Atlanta.
Rather, she said, it stems from “some opportunity we saw at the heart of what we do every day working off our delivery network.”

Read more at the New York Times

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