As we discussed in our last posting, no one can accurately predict the delivery of mail, especially Marketing Mail. We can provide an “educated” guess based on our experience, but in the end, it is only a guess. Ironically, it is this “guess” we often base our entire timeline on; working back from the delivery into the mailbox to the different tasks that need to be accomplished to complete a mailing campaign.

There was a time that I thought it was enough to project a delivery date and warn my clients why mail delivery could not be guaranteed. While “we were covered” and the client could not “blame” us for the postal delivery, I still had disappointed customers because the mail was delivered early or late from our projected date. I felt bad that we could not better meet the customer’s expectations, but what could we do? We cannot control the United States Postal Service.

During a conversation with a customer, a light bulb went on that the customer was not necessarily disappointed so much with the actual delivery, but that their expectation of the delivery was not met. You see, often there are other activities being planned around the delivery of a piece, and a mailing that was delivered before or after from the projected date might just screw up those activities. While I could not control the actual delivery, I could control (at least a little bit) the expectation.

To try to better meet the delivery expectations, I started to ask if the client would prefer that the mailing be delivered “short” or “long”. In other words, would they prefer having their mailing delivered before the projected date or after. This way, we could adjust the drop date accordingly on the timeline and allow the client to better plan. Obviously, the term “Mail Short” and Mail Long” are not postal terms, so if you go up to a postal employee or even another mail professional, chances are they will not know what you are talking about.

  1. Mail Short: If you had a choice, you would prefer having the mail delivered before a projected date and not after.
  2. Mail Long: If you had a choice, you would prefer having the mail delivered after a projected date and not before.

It is a given that the mailing professional you are working with should be able to provide an “educated” delivery date, but will they go that little extra to make sure your timeline works the best it can for your project? We here at Cox work hard to fully meet your expectations and allow the best possible chance for success. Isn’t this what you should expect from the print and mail specialist you work with?