The USPS is offering a 2% postage savings for the following promotion. Learn how you can take advantage of this program and save money on your next direct mail marketing campaign.

2015 Emerging & Advanced Technology Promotion: Promotion runs June 1 through November 30, 2015. This promotion encourages customers to explore opportunities to incorporate technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC), Augmented Reality, and other technologies in print, ink, and paper to enhance how recipients interact and engage with direct mail. To participate in the promotion, the mail piece must incorporate the use of NFC technology, inks, paper, interactive technologies or an augmented reality experience that allows the recipient to interact with the mail piece and technologies.

NOTE: The mail piece must use at least one form of the approved emerging or advanced technologies to receive the promotion discount.

Mail piece Content Requirements

  • Near Field Communication (NFC) Requirements: Near field communication (NFC) is a form of communication between devices such as smartphones, tablets or items embedded with NFC chips, tags or similar technology.

  • Augmented Reality Requirements: A general definition of Augmented Reality (AR) is a live view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data, etc.

When using either of the two options above you must meet the following 2 requirements:

1. Directional Copy Requirement: The mail piece must contain text near the barcode or image with instructions on how to scan the barcode or image and information about the landing page. Examples include:

    • Scan here to play an interactive game

    • Scan the barcode for an interactive experience

    • Download our app and scan this page to see your mail piece come alive

    • Download our app for an interactive experience

    • Tap here with your NFC enabled phone

    • Wave your NFC enabled phone here

2. Destination Requirements: The landing page must contain information relevant to the content of the mail piece. It must also be mobile optimized. Participants must use the following or similar techniques to qualify for the promotion.

    • Screen Size and resolution is adjusted so that users do not have to scroll horizontally

    • Page sizes are compressed to enable faster downloading

    • Outbound links take users only to mobile optimized pages

    • Contrast and color scheme is adjusted for viewing on smaller screens and outdoor viewing.

    • Device detection directs mobile users to appropriately formatted content

    • Use menu options as opposed to free-text entry whenever possible

*Links to a traditional desktop site do not meet the requirements for this promotion.

This year there are exciting new categories to try. The promotion is not limited to devices. The requirements this year are expanding to include innovative advances in inks and paper. In this section, only pieces that significantly enhance the mail piece and the customer experience will be considered for eligibility for the promotion discount. All mail pieces attempting to meet the criteria for these applications must have samples submitted to the Program Office at for preapproval prior to submitting any mailings for the promotional discount.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Inks: The inks must enhance recipient engagement and value of the mail piece.

  1. Conductive inks: become part of a circuit and activate a device, and are printed onto paper like any other ink. Users press a “button” to close the circuit, and can activate other devices, such as lights, sound chips, or other electronic sensors and components.

  2. Leuco Dyes: change color with variations in temperature

  3. Thermochromatic: heat sensitive dyes

  4. Photochromics: change color with UV light exposure

  5. Optically Variable Ink: contains metallic materials that change appearance when viewed from different angles

  6. Piezochromic: change appearance under pressure

  • Papers: The paper must have one or more of the features below. The paper characteristics must be integrated or supportive of the marketing message and enhance the customer engagement experience.

  1. Scented: paper infused with scent (ex: catnip, fresh bread), microencapsulated scents

  2. Sound: paper that incorporates sound chip/speakers (ex: motorcycle)

  3. Visual: special effects with filters, holographic, lenticular

  4. Textural: paper that incorporates textures that engage in a physical change based on touch, that provides a sensory related experience; paper surfaces may be coated, laminated, or made of unique materials (ex: “turf” paper, sandpaper, soft/velvet finish, etc)

  • Interactive mail pieces: The interactive mail pieces must include an experience that engages the customer and adds dynamic effects in the use of folds and other dimensional enhancements. The concept must add value to the overall marketing message. To qualify, construction of the folds must include more than the normal 180 degree folds. The folds must be dynamic and can incorporate dimensional effects.

  1. 3-Dimensional

  2. Pop-ups

  3. Infinite folding

All designs and technologies other than Near Field Communication (NFC) and “enhanced” augmented reality (AR) must be presented to the Program Office for preapproval prior to any mailings being presented for the promotional discount.

5 Tips For Direct Mail Design

The use of tactile technologies in direct mail is a great way to enhance a user’s experience and is very affordable. Using scent, thermal ink and textured coatings to bring the mail piece experience to a higher level. These experiences cannot be done with digital. Drawing attention to the benefits of direct mail and the power of the senses in decision making is powerful.