Is This How George Jetson Gets His Mail?

Jetsons-tv-03Forget about robot maids; it’s the future of mail that’s really up in the air.

Kathy Siviter, a new member of the crew at PostalVision2020, is a fan of the latest partnerships between print and technology to create “the mail of the future.” She notes some of the absurdly clever innovations we’ve seen over the past few years, like the Nivea kid-tracker, or the air bag ad that inflates when you smack it.

“With the phenomenal developments happening in printed electronics and, more recently, printed batteries, the marriage of hardcopy print and technology is likely to explode in the future,” Siviter writes.

As Siviter notes, some of these innovations have been around for quite a while.

“So why don’t we see more of these kinds of things in today’s mail?  Are posts ready for these types of innovations?  What are the barriers to the posts and businesses that use the mail as a direct marketing medium to support these print innovations?  What are the investments and directions that printing companies need to consider for future mail designs?” she asks.

All good questions.

From our end, we see design firms coming up with the mind-blowing creativity. We see some (not all) printing companies making the investments required. And we see forward-thinking advertisers willing to put the money down on print ads that truly engage.

We also see postal service technology that routinely shreds expensive marketing mail. We see political posturing and legal wrangling that has turned postage budgets into guessing games. And we see a less efficient postal work force that’s more expensive to train.

We also see the USPS Inspector General’s blog last week on “no driver needed” mail delivery. All well and good, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

At the end of the day, the USPS would do well to focus on their largest customer, the publishing industry. Flying cars and robotic mail delivery with our morning coffee? Okay, we’ll see. But first, we need the USPS to get itself sorted and handle the basics.