Gary Reblin

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

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.

If they try it, they’ll buy it. That’s the message the U.S. Postal Service is sending to consumer packaged goods companies and other marketers with its Product Samples mail promotion. Designed to re-invigorate product sampling through the mail, the Product Samples promotion—running Aug.1 to Sept. 30, 2013—gives marketers a 5 percent upfront postage discount on qualified mailings of product samples. Qualified samples must be trial-sized. Registration for the Product Samples mail promotion is now open. “Product sampling has a long, successful track record of building brand awareness and product demand, especially if the consumer receives the sample where the product

More than ever, direct mail marketers are incorporating QR Codes, augmented reality, image recognition and digital watermarks into direct mail pieces—offering unique experiences and providing effective ways to reach a mobile marketplace. According to a February 2013 report by IBIS World, direct mail marketing revenue is expected to grow 0.7 percent each year during the next five years to $13.6 billion. The report credits incentives offered by USPS, nimble printing companies that expedite mailings and innovations that are merging mailpieces with digital media. “Right now is a pivotal point for direct mail, [which] … can do things it never did

With the Direct Mail Mobile Coupon/Click-to-Call promotion, business customers receive an upfront 2 percent postage discount when they integrate mobile coupons or click-to-call technologies into their direct mail campaigns. ... Registration now is open for the Direct Mail Mobile Coupon/Click-to-Call promotion, which runs March 1 to April 30. A second promotion, Earned Value Reply Mail, provides First-Class Mail business customers with a 2-cent credit for returned reply pieces that can be used to pay for postage on future mailings. Registration also is now open for this promotion, which runs April 1 to June 30

Emboldened by rapid growth in e-commerce shipping, the cash-strapped USPS is moving aggressively this holiday season to start a premium service for the Internet shopper seeking the instant gratification of a store purchase: same-day package delivery. Teaming up with major retailers, the USPS will begin the expedited service in San Francisco on Dec. 12 at a price similar to its competitors. If things run smoothly, the program will quickly expand next year to other big cities such as Boston, Chicago and New York. It follows similar efforts by eBay,, and most recently Wal-Mart

To help marketers prepare earlier for its upcoming mail promotions, the U.S. Postal Service for the first time is publishing a yearly promotions calendar. The 2013 Mailing Services Promotions Calendar will include six promotions designed to generate continued interest in the various uses and benefits of mobile barcodes in direct mail—as well as provide opportunities for marketers to be more successful with traditional integrated marketing campaigns.

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