Saturday, December 10, 2005
I've written about this in the webinar Q&A and the discussion will be continued in the Friday 12/16 WTT column (my last column of the year).
Basically it's this... sure, a postal rate increase may be the last thing that pushes someone off the edge... but we have to remember the loud, crazy mob that chased them to the precipice in the first place, not just the person who had the privilege of providing that last nudge.
Just like you find lost things in the last place you look, it's easy to give false attribution to the last thing someone saw. We all know that always acting on the last thing you hear is usually wrong, because it has no context, and may not come from a credible source.
Postal rates have been frozen for the last three years... from a value of money perspective, the uncharged inflation from that is actually a 10% discount. That's right, postage is effectively 10% less than it was when these rates were put into effect. If a 10% discount hasn't stimulated demand, why is it that we should think that a 5-8% increase will hurt demand except for various deadline effects of people rushing to beat the date that the new rates go into force?
New media have no postage costs and no paper costs. That's the problem. If postage was $0, the cost of the printed mailing would still have trouble competing in this new communications marketplace. Magazines are a good example... if page counts were up, would the industry be in such trauma? Page counts are already down, and they've been down for five years.
Is there still hope? Of course... but only if we fight the right battles.
Why is it that so many people want to "shoot the messenger?”
Why don't we listen, learn, think creatively and come up with some new approaches to new business opportunities. Companies inside and outside of this industry are making money. Successful ones are thinking creatively and identifying new ways to help their customer’s grow their businesses with other businesses and consumers.
If we lead with communications (of which print is only one of many choices) we should be thinking up ways in which companies and individuals can leverage communications (print, e-mail and web methods) to help their business grow, save on cost and make their life easier. All of this requires a different perspective. Go ask the people who think like entrepreneurs and identify opportunity and create services and products that meet such opportunity. There's money in that...and it's much more than saving 5-8% on mailing costs that like many tangible products and services in the world—will increase in price over time.
Thanks for another way of looking at it.