Coming Attractions: Proposed 2014 USPS Promotions

getting catalogue from mailboxIn 2013, the U.S. Postal Service’s promotions were welcomed by its customers — and many of those promotions were successful enough for a repeat performance in 2014.

Like this year’s promos, those proposed for 2014 will encourage mailers to incorporate mobile technology. The USPS firmly believes innovative direct mail technologies are important for keeping direct mail relevant and updated in the eyes of consumers. There will also be incentives for new small business customers to try direct mail along with the more high-tech promotions.

Mailers are set to benefit doubly from these promotions because in addition to discounts on mailing rates, they get the added value of extending their reach to more mobile and online customers.

Here are the promotions slated for 2014:

Flats Sequencing System Prep: Required

The USPS has proposed a solution to its Flats Sequencing System that requires mailers to prepare bundles and flats for shipping in a way that organizes the mailings by ZIP code. The proposed solution also includes a new FSS pricing structure that includes significant incentives for mailers to create FSS-optimized bundles for ZIP codes.

Organizing mailings by ZIP codes makes delivery more efficient for the USPS, and making larger bundles should increase bindery and co-mail efficiency for printers. However, printers will now have two very different sets of rules for bundling and containerizing flat mail:

  1. Rule for FSS ZIP codes
  2. Current rules for non-FSS zones

The FSS rules and pricing may be optional in January but the incentives are likely to be high enough that commercial printers will not be competitive if they cannot adapt.

The mailing specialists at The Dingley Press are happy to help catalogers ensure that their mailings are optimized for both efficiency and price.

    • The Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion encourages USPS customers to provide Business Reply Mail (BRM) and Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) to make it easier for customers to communicate with the mailer. Participants in this promotion will receive a credit for 2 cents per eligible returned CRM or BRM mailpiece.
    • The Branded Color Mobile Technology Promotion offers a discount of 2% per eligible mailpiece that uses a creative QR code that incorporates either 2 or more colors set against a background, or a trademark or graphic with at least 1 color.
    • The Mail and Digital Personalization Promotion offers a 2% discount per mailpiece that uses customization through URLs, websites, or mobile experiences with relevant messaging and content.
    • The Premium Advertising Product Promotion offers an upfront discount on FCM postage for mailpieces composed entirely of marketing or advertising content.
    • The Emerging Technology Promotion will offer a 2% discount per eligible Standard Mail or Nonprofit Standard Mail mailpiece that incorporates Near Field Communication Technology or another emerging technology. This promo is a great way for catalogers to engage mobile users and marry online shopping with catalog shopping.
    • The Mail Drives Mobile Commerce Promotion will help retailers encourage holiday shopping by giving marketers and retailers an incentive to utilize state-of-the-art purchasing technologies with direct mail and catalogs. Eligible mailings will qualify for a 2% discount per mailpiece, and mailers who use Priority Mail to fulfill orders may qualify for an additional 1% discount.
    • The Small Business Direct Mail Coupon, also known as the EDDM Coupon program, will enable the USPS to credit new direct mail customers with coupon vouchers in the amount of $50-100 for future postage purchases.

There will also be a Saturation Density and High Density Incentive program to provide credit to mailers who mailed at least six times in FY2013 (October 2012-September 2013) and meet a certain volume threshold.

These proposed promotions are awaiting USPS and Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approval, but give catalog retailers an idea of what to expect in the year to come — helping you plan your mailings accordingly. More information about current and proposed promotions and incentives is available on the USPS website.

To learn more about using technology with your catalog mailings and to take advantage of current or upcoming USPS promotions, contact The Dingley Press at 888-346-4539 or info@Dingley.com.

About the Author: Jim Gibbs

Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Dingley Press. Jim has been with Dingley since 2002 and lives in Maine near our Lisbon, Maine plant location.