The USPS is planning several promotions in 2014 that can save you on postage if you plan ahead. Here are some general highlights about each upcoming promotion. The USPS is trying to highlight the value of direct mail when combined with technology. They fall in 3 categories:

Mobile Technology Promotions

These promotions encourage mailers to integrate direct mail with mobile technology.  

  • Branded Color Mobile Technology Promotion
  • Emerging Technology Featuring NFC Promotion
  • Mail Drives Mobile Commerce Promotion

Technology Drives Relevance

These promotions leverage the value of direct mail techniques that are less widely used, but increase the effectiveness of mail campaigns.

  • Color Print in First-Class Mail Transactions Promotion
  • Mail and Digital Personalization Promotion 

Leverage Value of FCM

These promotions are intended to slow the declining volume trends for First-Class Mail and keep First-Class Mail advertising relevant as a part of the First-Class Mail marketing mix.  

  • Premium Advertising Promotion
  • Earned Value Promotion

Here is a synopsis of each promotion, dates, rates and general requirements:

Branded Color Mobile Technology Promotion: February 1 – March 31, 2014 The promotion
encourages mailers to push the envelope and expand their mobile technology usage beyond traditional black and white mobile barcodes. By participating in this promotion, mailers will have the opportunity to receive an upfront postage discount of 2% per piece on qualifying mailings that use qualifying mobile print technology (such as a QR Code) on or in the mailpieces.  Qualifying mailings include:

  • Mailpiece contains a creative QR Code or other mobile barcode. The code or tag must be functional and incorporate at least one of the following:
  1. two or more colors set against a background (other than black or white)
  2. trademark or graphic and at least one color (other than black or white)
  • Mailpiece contains color digital imagerecognition.  

Best practices such as directional copy and mobile optimization are also required.

Premium Advertising Promotion: April 1 – June 30, 2014 The promotion is intended to encourage existing high-volume mail marketers and advertisers to use First-Class Mail as a marketing vehicle.  The promotion offers an upfront discount of 15% per piece on First Class Mail presort postage on mailpieces composed entirely of marketing or advertising content. Mailpieces containing any content required to be mailed as First-Class Mail as described in Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) Section 133.3.2 through 133.3.4, First-Class Mail Content Standards, will not qualify for the promotion.  

Earned Value Promotion: April 1 – June 30, 2014 The 2014 The promotion is intended to slow the decline of First-Class Mail, Business Reply Mail (BRM) and Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) pieces. The 2014 “Earned Value” promotion will be offered to mailers who send qualifying First-Class Mail Business Reply Mail (BRM) and Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) enclosures. Mailers will earn a credit of 2 cents on each piece that is returned during the promotion period. At the end of the promotion, the total credit amount will be applied to the mailer’s Permit account. The credit can be applied to future mailings of First-Class Mail Presort and Automation cards, letters and flats, and Standard Mail letters and flats.

Mail and Digital Personalization Promotion:  May 1 – June 30, 2014 The promotion offers an upfront discount of 2% per piece to encourage mailers to enhance the value of their mail by utilizing technology to create a more relevant, integrated marketing message through direct mail and digital channels.  Both the mailpiece and PURL/website must be personalized to qualify for this promotion (variables may include: name, birthday, custom offer or different envelope, etc). The website or landing page must correspond to the physical mailpiece and enhance the overall experience for the consumer.  Best practices such as directional copy and mobile optimization are also required.

Color Print in First-Class Mail Transactions Promotion:  August 1 – December 31, 2014 The promotion is intended to encourage producers of bills and statements to produce and mail statements that create a greater connection and response from consumers by utilizing color ink on bills and statements.  This promotion will provide an upfront postage discount of 2% per piece to mailer. Eligible pieces must have variable color messaging (four-color-process) on the bill or statement. Use of color inserts and pre-printed paper stock, do not qualify for the promotion. The color messaging must be for marketing or consumer information purposes. The color messaging must be within the contents of the bill or statement and cannot be an addendum or separate page added to the bill or statement. Only first class mail qualifies for this promotion.

Emerging Technology Featuring NFC Promotion:  August 1 – September 30, 2014 The use of mobile technology continues to be a growing force in the marketing landscape for today’s savvy marketing professionals. Near field communication is a form of communication between devices such as smartphones, tablets or items embedded with NFC chips, tags or similar technology. This promotion will encourage mailers to integrate direct mail with mobile technology. To participate in the promotion, the mailpiece must incorporate the use of standard NFC technology or other emerging technology as specified in program eligibility requirements to engage the mobile device in providing an interactive experience for the user. Standard NFC technology generally consists of embedding a small chip or other form of technology into carrier (mailpiece or other item) that can be recognized by an NFC enabled mobile device. The interaction is initiated by touching the mobile device on the NFC embedded item or by placing the mobile device within 1-2 inches of the NFC embedded item. Best practices such as directional copy and mobile optimization are also required.

Mail Drives Mobile Commerce Promotion: November 1 – December 31, 2014 The intent of the promotion is to encourage marketers and retailers to utilize mobile purchasing technology with direct mail and catalogs to facilitate state of the art mobile purchases.  An upfront postage discount of 2% per piece is available on eligible mailpieces that include a mobile barcode or print/mobile technology that can be read or scanned by a mobile device and leads the recipient to a mobile-optimized shopping website. The mailpiece must contain text near the barcode or image that provides guidance to the consumer to scan the barcode or image and conveys information about the landing page. The technology must lead the recipient to a webpage that allows the recipient to purchase an advertised product on the mobile device.

Mailers may elect to qualify for an additional 1 percent rebate on the postage of their qualifying mailings if a portion of their orders are fulfilled via Priority Mail® during the Priority Mail Fulfillment Period.  Participation in the Priority Mail rebate portion of the promotion requires additional registration.

These promotions are designed to introduce new technologies that when integrated with direct mail increase response. If you are considering a specific promotion there are more details valaible from the post office at https://ribbs.usps.gov/mobilebarcode/documents/tech_guides/2014ProposedMailPromotionsSummary.pdf

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If you have any questions about these promotions or need help with creating or designing them call us in San Diego at 619-448-6111 or email info@eyecomm.org. We are glad to help!