ICYMI (In Case You Missed It!) a few weeks ago the United States Postal Service finally established its Board of Governors and then announced the Postal Discount Programs available throughout 2019. This year the USPS Board of Governors created six new promotions that bring the promise of great postal savings options, but there is a tougher requirement for planning and execution this time around. Mailers will need to read and understand the requirements to ensure their clients get the best results.
For each of the six programs there are specified program requirements that include defined registration periods and proscribed dates when the promotion can be in the mail. Each mail piece must be submitted to a dedicated USPS email address for final review and approval in advance of lodging the campaign for mailing.
The 2019 Promotions were created to move mail communications toward long-term and sustainable growth by leveraging its unique value to jump-start engagement and drive digitally-connected commerce, particularly on mobile devices and among GenZ and Millennials. The promotions available for the 2019 cycle have something for every type of marketer, so its important review all the available options.
Here’s a summary of the 2019 USPS Postal Discount Programs:
- Informed Delivery: From September through the end of November, business mailers who register for Informed Delivery and launch an interactive campaign within the platform can claim a 2% discount on postage.
- Earned Value Reply Mail: To stall the decline of First-Class mail, the USPS will award registered mailers a $0.03 credit for each Business Reply Mail, Courtesy Reply Mail, and Share Mail piece they send in April, May, and June. Participants can apply their accumulated credits to future mailings of First-Class Presort and Automation cards, letters and flats, as well as Marketing Mail items.
- Personalized Color TransPromo: From July 1 to December 31 the USPS is offering a 2% discount to first-time participants who use color and marketing messages to enhance their bills and statements. Mailers who have taken part in this promotion in previous years will have to use dynamic color and personalized messaging to qualify.
- Mobile Shopping Promotion: This promotion offers an up-front 2% discount on the postage of Marketing Mail flats that include a call to action and a print/mobile technology that can be scanned to allow recipients to make an online purchase. This promotion is available from August 1 to December 31, 2019, with registration beginning June 15, 2019.
- Emerging and Advanced Technology: Like the Mobile Shopping Promotion but significantly broader in scope, this offer is designed to encourage mailers to enhance the effectiveness of a physical direct mail piece by making it a part of a more cohesive campaign and a distinctly multi-channel experience. To qualify for this promotion, which runs from March 1 to August 31, 2019, and receive a 2% discount at the time of mailing, a piece must incorporate technologies like Virtual/Augmented Reality, Digital to Direct, Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon, Near Field Communications, Video in Print, or one of the newcomers to the program, Mixed Reality, Addressable TV, and Integration with Digital Assistants.
- Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive (TSI) Mail piece Engagement: This promotion leverages print innovations to heighten recipient experience and response rate through sensory engagement with specialty inks (including ones that conduct electric circuits or react to exposure of water, pressure, or light), paper (ranging from those with holographic effects to pieces with edible components), and interactive elements (like pop-ups or infinite folds). From February through July, the USPS is offering a 2% postal discount on qualified Marketing Mail and Nonprofit letters and flats.
To make the most of these programs make sure you start educating your customers now and build out schedules to meet the requirements of each so that there are no surprises. Be sure to plan enough time into the campaign execution to submit the campaign to the USPS for review and approval well ahead of the target mail date.
For the details on how to create a campaign that meets the USPS requirements, go to https://postalpro.usps.com/promotions. Pay careful attention to the registration periods and the different email addresses for each of the promotions. Mailers should be prepared to respond to questions from the reviewers and to make changes to meet their requirements. If you aren’t enrolled already go to the USPS Business Customer Gateway to get started.
Pat McGrew is the Senior Director and Evangelist for the Production Software and Services team at Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends. As an analyst and industry educator, Pat works with InfoTrends customers and their clients to promote communication effectiveness and best practices. Her experience spans all customer communication channels, plus transaction print, data-driven, and production commercial print using offset, inkjet, and toner. Find Pat on Twitter as @PatMcGrew and on LinkedIn.