USPS wants to increase the cost to send First Class Mail Parcels on Aug. 28, as well as offer marketers six mail promotions starting on Jan. 1. But first, the postal service needs to get approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission.
On Wednesday, a USPS spokeswoman told Target Marketing the postal service is requesting approval for a postage price adjustment from $2.60 to $2.62 for First Class Mail Parcels. If approved, the cost rises 2 cents, she says.
At the same time, USPS is asking the PRC to allow it to offer marketers six mail promotions, per the May 16 filing USPS sent to the PRC (Opens as a PDF).
On Wednesday, Gary Reblin, VP of new products and innovation with USPS, said to Target Marketing: "Mailers told us that they need time in order to prepare for promotions. We have responded by filing earlier with the PRC to give mailers the time that they need."
According to the May 24 issue of the Federal Register (opens as a PDF), USPS wants to continue and update five promotions from 2016 and add one, bringing this list forward:
- Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion (January–June 2017);
- Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement Promotion (February–July 2017);
- Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion (March–August 2017);
- NEW - Direct Mail Starter Promotion (May–July 2017);
- Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion (July–December 2017); and
- Mobile Shopping Promotion (August–December 2017).
According to the USPS filing with the PRC, the promotion details are:
- Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion: “Provide a $0.05 per piece rebate on all Business Reply Mail, Courtesy Reply Mail and Alternate Postage pieces that meet program requirements and are placed in the mailstream by the recipient and scanned during the program period. To receive the rebate, registered customers must have distributed a Business Reply Mail, Courtesy Reply Mail envelope or Alternate Postage card or envelope, and must comply with all other eligibility requirements of the program.”
- Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement Promotion: Direct mailers who “enhance customer engagement with the mail through the use of advanced print innovations in paper and stock, substrates, inks and finishing techniques” will be considered. “Regular and nonprofit Standard Mail letters and flats that meet the promotion requirements will be eligible for an upfront 2 percent postage discount during the promotion period.”
- Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion: Upfront 2 percent discounts go to direct mailers using virtual reality and “technology that facilitates programmatic and retargeting marketing strategies,” as well as the carryover MarTech of “near-field communication (NFC), ‘enhanced’ augmented reality, beacon technology and video in print (ViP).”
- ALL NEW: Direct Mail Starter Promotion: SMBs can get 5 percent off of “eligible mailpieces, up to 10,000 pieces per mailer.” USPS says it’s offering this promotion because: “The postal service has received feedback from mail service providers that the cost and complexity of participating in postal service promotions is too high for many smaller, less sophisticated business mailers. Through its market research, the postal service has found that one reason small businesses do not use mail to advertise is because they believe it is difficult to design an effective campaign and they have difficulty measuring the results. In an effort to retain the volumes of current small business mailers and attract new mailers, the postal service is introducing a temporary postage discount on mailpieces that contain print-mobile technology (such as a QR Code), that when scanned, leads the recipient to a mobile-optimized website. The mailpiece must also contain directional copy instructing the recipient on how to scan the barcode and a printed Uniform Resource Locator (i.e., URL address).”
- Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion: Bills and account statements with four-color process messages get 2 percent off of postage “for First Class mail automation letters sent as part of a full-service IMb mailing during the established program period.” Direct mailers who participated last year need to up their games — USPS is requiring them to personalize the letters. “The color messaging must be on the bill or statement and be for marketing or consumer information purposes.”
- Mobile Shopping Promotion: Aimed at e-commerce marketers, this promotion offers 2 percent off for “Standard Mail letters and flats, which include, inside or on the mailpiece, a mobile barcode or other qualifying technology inside or on the mailpiece that facilitates a mobile optimized shopping experience.”
What do you think, marketers?
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