Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mail Delays and Disruptions

tags:  international destinations, international mail, delivery problems

I am not paying much attention to my mail recently if it’s not of immediate importance.  I live and work in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States, about 40 miles (65 km.) north of Washington, DC.  We are in yet another record-setting heat wave.  The temperature in the central business district reached 107° F. (42° C.) on July 18.   (Normal high temperatures are 87° F. or 31° C.) 

A major water main broke in the central business district on July 16, with road closures that may last until the middle of August.  Residents in that area may not have water service restored for another week or more.  Businesses are closed because they do not have water service.  On June 30, an unusual wind and rain storm swept through the region bringing down power lines and leaving more than 1,000,000 people without power.  Traffic signals were not working, businesses were closed.  Through all of this, mobile telephone and Internet access has been disrupted for various lengths of time. 

The Baltimore–Washington area is not the only region affected.  The U.S. is suffering under unusually heat and drought.  Wild fires have burned across millions of acres of land and destroyed homes and businesses, primarily in the western U.S.  Although there is a drought here in the U.S., the U.K. has been affected by unusually heavy rains and floods, in addition to the disruptions to everyday life in and around London from the Olympic Games.  Floods in Russia; unusual storms in China; severe rain and strong winds in Australia; very heavy rains in India; unusual hurricane activity in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. 

I am fortunate and have been relatively unaffected by all this but I have put off WorldVu’s next international direct mail marketing campaign.  I doubt whether the people affected by any of the above are paying much attention to their mail.  Those most severely affected certainly are not and they may not even be receiving mail.   

The vacation season in the northern hemisphere and other holidays also make this is less advantageous time to market many products.  Ramadan, the month of fasting for Moslems, begins July 20 and ends on August 18.  (Dates may vary slightly.)  WorldVu’s markets have been relatively unaffected by disruptive political events so far but I keep an eye on those, too. 

I am hoping for a calm in September – but planning for potential weather or political disruptions.  WorldVu’s marketing campaign will mail then but we will watch for unusual weather or other events.  As always, we will watch response rates by countries and regions.  I am budgeting more for a potential remailing into areas where something could have distracted potential buyers.