Mail Shark Experience

I decided to start doing direct mailing this Spring and chose Mail Shark due to their breaking the payments up into weekly installments. I knew Id pay a little more this way, but I was kinda cash strapped at the time so it was a viable option.

SIgned up for 1 yr of mailers. First 10 weeks 11x17 menus, second cycle Magnet Mailers and so on. First week was awesome…3% return and mailers hit mailboxes the day they were supposed to. Second week was very similar. Weeks 3 through 20 have been an absolute nightmare. Out of nowhere Mail Shark changed the way that my direct mail was routed. Initially it went from Houston to New Orleans…makes sense right they are very close in proximity. Then they changed it to go from Houston to the bulk mail center on the East Coast in Memphis and then to New Orleans. My mailers ceased to hit homes from weeks 4-7.

I called them and voiced my concern every week…and every week they would tell me that my local post office was ineffective. Weeks later they would send me postal documents to prove that the mail had been sent. Finally, week 5,6, and 7 all hit homes 24 days after week 5 was supposed to hit homes. Ineffective post office Im told. Same shit the first few weeks of my Magnet Mailer cycle. Finally got a hold of a supervisor and he explained to me that they had routed the mail poorly and apologized. He also said that he would have it rerouted for the duration of my contract. Next 2 weeks…same shit. No mailers hitting homes. I have friends in each weeks mailer area and none of them were getting the mail. So I come to find out that they had never rerouted my mailers to go from Houston straight to New Orleans…an oversight I guess. The supervisor assured me that since there were so many problems he would let me out of my year contract with no cancellation fee as soon as I finished paying for the cycle.

Well I finished paying for it last week and I emailed them today to make sure we were cool and that no more money would be debited from my account. I get a call from the sales guy that told me the cancellation fee had already been processed and that they had decided they would split it with me. Well thanks for deciding that. The entire time this fiasco went on I never once raised my voice with these people. I never cursed at them or tried to throw my weight around. Even though I was paying into their crappy program every Thursday and getting limited results. I still have 6 out of my 9 friends that never even received the mailers from them. End result of mail shark approx 1% redemption rate. I’m sure it would be more if all of the pieces had actually showed up in the mail boxes. When I doorhang I get between 8-12% redemption. Could’ve saved 4k and just done that. And to the Mail Shark executives…thanks for lying to me about the cancellation fee. Its the last money you will ever see from me. Anybody else have any problems with this service or is my situation some sort of freak occurrence.

We do all our own direct mail. Last year, for November and December, I had Gotprint deliver the pieces over a five or six week period. It was the worst return all year and I could not get a sense of when they were dropping. Someone suggested to me it may just be the holidays and there’s a lot of competition for people’s attention at that time . . .

Maybe there’s been an exception here, but every post I’ve read here about the subject seem to present the same results. Something happens when using a mail service.

When we do drops they normally hit anywhere from 1 to 7 seven days.

Same issues when using door hanging services too – much higher return when we do it ourselves.

I too have had the same experiecnce with Mail Shark. Besides the first couple of weeks they have not been able to get my pieces into the mailboxes on a consitent weekly basis. There have been weeks with no mailings and some weeks with double the expected amount. Sometimes they hit homes on Mondays, sometimes on Thursday…no consitency and never their fault. Must be the local post office???

Needless to say, once my contract expires, I will not be renewing. Time start doing my own mailings again and get back to the results I am used to seeing.

Not sure anyone can do anything about the exact days they drop. As I said before, we do our own and they drop anywhere from 1 to 7 days.

We have been using mailshark for almost 6 months and have been pleased with the results. The mailings don’t always hit the same day of the week but that doesn’t make much difference to us. We are seeing around a 3% redemption and that is a number I can live with.

I have also been mailing with mail shark since about April and have had a very positive experience all around. Like Perfect Pizzas they don’t always hit on the same day but doing direct mail for as long as I have both doing my own mailings and using other companies I have learned that it is not possible to control the exact day that my pieces are in boxes. That said I must say mail shark has been great to work with and the ROI is there. My hope is to continue with the response that I am getting so I can increase my mailings.

Yeah I realize that direct mail is not an exact science and I never once blamed Mail Shark for the fact that most of the time the mailings were 2-3 weeks later than the anticipated day they were supposed to hit homes. That being said I really dont like it when someone tells me one thing when they want me to shut up, and then does another thing. IIm not trying to bash Mail Shark at all, I just wanted to share my experience with the board and get some feedback. Im sure most people had fine experiences with them, I did not and was just interested in seeing if I wasnt alone. I will shut up now :slight_smile:

Last thing…I will definitely have to learn how to do my own mailings so I can try and get better results. We have a lot of highrise apt buildings in the area that we cant doorhang. I was hoping to penetrate that market through direct mail. I guess Ill go back to square one and figure out all the postal permit stuff.

Not wanting to defend MailShark here but with the postal system being in the state that it is… I can totally understand the problems of re-routing and missing drop days. I think it is just too be expected and not likely to get any better anytime soon. As far as how you were treated after discussing your concerns… I think you need to follow up with them once again and have a short discussion about the “splitting” of your termination fee. You paid them for services that were provided and personally since those serivces were as bad as you said… especially since you know that people did not receive your mailers that you in good faith paid for… you should not only have the termination fee waived but also be reimbursed for the mailers that did not get delivered properly. They should not be able to abuse the whole process just too say it is the post office’s problem. Good luck.

You are correct, there is no way to nail down an exact day. However, when doing mailings my self I have no problem hitting a 3 day window…say Tue - Thurs. In fact, all my other vendors I use for shared mail quote a 2 day window and hit it everytime.

My main frustration with Mail Shark is that they sell weekly mailings over a 10 week period; one mailing each week. I have done 3 rounds of mailings with them so far and have yet to have one be 10 weekly mailings. There has always been weeks without mailings and some that are doubled up. Or even worse, carrier routes that were supposed to drop week 3 don’t make it to the mail boxes untile week 7.

To there credit, the customer service has been quite good and they are quick to respond to forms of communication.

In my experience, I have never had any vendor ever quote a 3 day window. My guess is becuase they cannot and don’t want to overextend themselves, it’s just not possible no marketing company controls the USPS. Maybe there is something that I am not aware of

Response to poor feedback from President of Mail Shark:
I always appreciate these forums because it allows our customers and prospects to get unbiased feedback from our customers, mostly positive, but unfortunately not in this case. We believe in our product and services enough to actually point people to this forum to read what other’s have to say about who we are as a company and the experience other pizza owners have had with us. We gain nothing as a company without the success of every one of our clients. Knowing this customer will not mail with us again will never be ok with us, and we will use situations like this and ensure that we provide the best product, service and results to all customers today and as we move forward.

We are not in this business to mail for a customer and then hope to collect a small sum on a cancellation fee. This would surely not make us a viable solution for marketing and we would not be around very long. We cannot control all aspects of this business, which can be very frustrating at times. Things like the USPS delivering standard mail within a certain allowable window makes it difficult to hit exact in home dates. We will never promise exact days of delivery with Standard mail, and whether it is delivered locally or through a bulk mail center, there is an element once the mail is given to the USPS that is out of our control. We believe our weekly mail drop approach is the best way to combat mailing issues, and that the majority of the time, the USPS does get this out within the ideal window. In mailing for hundreds of pizza shops in over 40 states, we find these delivery gaps to be a very rare occurrence but would be lying if we said they will never happen. One thing that we can promise is that ALL mail is being handed to the USPS on the day promised, and that ALL pieces are always being mailed as promised. We always offer documentation anytime to back this up. Not mailing pieces promised is not only a federal offense, but is surely a business model that would not make sense, when we thrive on getting our customer results.

We strive to maximize results for every client, and every client has different needs. We have over the years, truly become pizza marketing experts. From coupon suggestions, to customized geographical mailing analysis, to graphic designs built for results, we believe and love sharing our knowledge with our customers. Coming soon we are launching a propriety coupon tracking tool, that will enable all pizza operators to rate their coupons and it will then share the results with all of our customers. You will be able to see which coupons are working best for customers nationwide and in your local region, and you will be able to see which coupons to steer away from. In addition to this, we will have a cheese forecast that helps operators compare the types of cheese they use and what they pay each week, both nationally and locally. We are obviously not in the cheese business, but we want to create an environment that helps Pizza Stores grow and reach their goals ever day! Finally we are working on a proprietary mail tracking system that will enable us on standard mail to see where the mail is every step along the way. Each time the USPS scans the mail, we will be able to identify it on its way to the final destination. This is something no one else in the industry is offering right now. It will not move the mail any faster, but it will allow us to understand better where the mail is at all times and ensure timely delivery. We look forward to continuing to improve every day, and again appreciate forums like this to enable us all to share in one common goal: Mutual Success!

Brian Johnson, Mail Shark President

Valpak and Hometown Values Coupon Magazine (a local piece) have always quoted me a 3-day window and have hit it everytime…Valpak for the 15 years I have been using them and HTV for the 6 years I have been using them.

I also do my own direct mail pieces at the saturation level by carrier route. The pieces are designed and printed seaparately and then shipped to a local mailing house for addressing etc. The mailing house asks me when I want the pieces to go out, I give them a 3-day window and each and every time they have nailed it.

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I don’t know what they do differently, but it has always been this way

I’ve heard of other examples and would assume different variables in the mailing process would produce greater “chances” of reliable success. Some offices simply may be better or more reliable. The degree in which the mail is sorted may impact your success. Possibly the day of the week or time of the day delivered may impact the results. All in all we will never know as it is a government entity with not much accountability.

I have been a Mail Shark customer for almost a year and have been very pleased with the design work and customer service. The mailings do not always hit exactly when I like, but they have always gone out. I must however say when I used a local mail house my postcards hit when I wanted (Wed. - Fri.).
The problem with Mail Shark and any nonlocal mail house is that the mail has to go through several post offices before it hits your customer. Case in point I recommended my local mail house to a friend 500 miles away and his mailer went out on a Monday when he wanted it to go out Friday. Personally, I am not that concerned about the day my mailers hit, but I am concerned about being consistent with my marketing, which Mail Shark allows me to do. The bottom line to me is if you want your mailer delivered in a particular window use a local mail house, if you are not concerned about exact mail dates and want consistent weekly marketing use Mail Shark.

I understood all of that going into my contract with Mail Shark. I really wanted consistent weekly marketing, and didnt really care what day they hit on, as long as they hit every week. This is my first pizzeria, and it is a rather small operation compared to many of the operations I read about on TT. We had major concerns about staffing for the increase in business, and Mail Shark assured us that the weekly mailers are suited for our exact situation. Actually, they were initially more concerned about the day that my mailers were hitting then I was. My first week hit on a Sat. and THEY convinced me that was a bad day to have the mailers hit and change the day they sent them out so they would hit on a Tues or Wed. THEY were the ones that led me to believe that they could hit the mailers any day that they chose. I honestly didnt care as long as they hit every week. My problem came when they wouldn’t hit for 3-4 weeks and then I would have 4 weeks of mailers hit within 48 hrs of each other. In hindsight it didnt make much of a difference because our redemption rate was so low for the majority of the weeks, but at the time I was very worried about staffing if say we had a 5-7% redemption week. I still havent seen any redemption from my final week of the contract.

This is a post office problem.

I mail every week and tested it to see how long the delay is. Usually it is 2-3 days from when i drop them off.
There were a few times where they didn’t hit for 2 weeks, which they explained that it could take up to 9 business days to hit the mailboxes. It depends on the time of year because lots of businesses & schools mail at certain times of the year.

I don’t think mailshark is to blame here, as our postal system is screwed up.

Yeah, probably the Post Office. When I did mailers, doing them myself, I used Rural Route because it was cheaper (not cheap by any means). The carrier doesn’t drop the entire route on one day, but instead works through the route over a number of days. So, route #9 might have 2000 pieces, and be delivered over the course of 4 days. From the carrier’s point of view, he might have up to 50 bundles of RR’s to deliver on his route.

I also agree that the issue may be out of Mail Sharks hands. However, the way the termination of the contract was handled was not right.

I wish they were like Monster Magnets and would guarantee not to take on any clients that were direct competitors to my store. I would be a lot more open about my experiences with them.

i mailed 1000 menus every tuesday.

This week the 1000 menus from the previous week , along with the 1000 menus from tuesday all hit on Thursday.

USPS Sucks!