WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) — The U.S. Postal Service wants small businesses to send more direct mail, a.k.a. junk mail, to help the beleaguered agency expand its revenue stream by hundreds of millions of dollars.
In a campaign called “Every Door Direct Mail,” the Postal Service is touting a year-old online tool to help small businesses micro-target direct mail. The Web tool allows firms to tap customers by neighborhood or zip code without names or addresses.
The cost to small businesses is 14.5 cents per mail piece. The Postal Service spent virtually nothing to create the online service, tapping existing staff and resources to pull it together, said Paul Vogel, president and chief marketing officer for the Postal Service, at a presentation Tuesday.
“We believe it could be a billion-dollar product for the Postal Service by 2016,” Vogel said.
The online direct mail program has been in existence since last April, generating $153 million in revenue through December. The Postal Service estimates the direct mail program will bring the struggling agency some $750 to $800 million in 2012.
The Postal Service reported a $5.1 billion loss for the year ended Sept. 30. The loss was caused by an ongoing decline in its core revenue driver, regular letters and bills known as first-class mail, as well as a legal mandate that the agency prefund health care benefits for a legion of future retirees.