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Plan Ahead for 2013 USPS Direct Mail Promotions

Date: December, 2012 --

The results of previous mail promotions, and a glimpse of promotions coming up, were presented by Gary Reblin, VP, Domestic Products, at the quarterly Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee meeting of the USPS on November 28. 

We discussed in our last issue of Fresh Data the “Christmas” mailing promotion, which should be mailing now. The summer mobile phone promotion involving the inclusion of a QR code that would take the customer to a personalized URL was, in USPS terms, successful enough to repeat. Some 1,100 customers executed 42,000 mailings. That mail constituted 24% of the standard mail volume and 3% of the first class volume during the period. This volume/participation was good enough to encourage repeating the offer.

The USPS also surveyed the customers, over 25% of whom responded, and showed a growing sophistication as marketers. Most indicated the biggest challenge was providing an appropriately optimized landing page and website. 7% said that the experiment had caused them to accelerate mobile programs; 16% would change what they were doing with mobile; and, 50% measured the results! 

For 2013 the USPS has a number of fascinating promotions. From March 1 to April 30 is Mobile Coupon/Click to Call, providing an upfront postage discount for once again integrating mail with mobile technology. This promotion rewards mailings which include “hard copy” coupons containing mobile barcodes.

The Earned Value Reply Mail promotion runs for mailings from April 1 to June 30. This promotion encourages using first-class mail business reply and courtesy reply envelopes as the primary reply mechanism. Mailers will receive postage credit for each returned piece that is scanned by the system.

From August 1 to September 30 the USPS will have four programs. Emerging Technologies will provide an upfront postage discount for using innovations such as near field communication, augmented reality and mobile enabled authentication technologies. The Picture Permit program will waive the Picture Permit fee for first-class and standard letters and cards sent by eligible mailers. This promotion is designed to promote the use of picture permit imprint indicia. The “Picture Permit Imprint Indicia ” product permits the mailer to customize the indicia by incorporating a logo, brand image, or trademark along with the required information.

Also during the summer there is the Product Sample promotion. This offers an upfront discount on mail containing product samples. This supports the new “Simple Samples” pricing in Standard Mail being introduced in January.

Finally, next November and December, Mobile Buy-it-Now provides an up-front discount for mailings that demonstrate how direct mail and mobile technology can be a convenient shopping method.

Notice that each of these programs involves direct mail combined with technology. The digital age is here, but you still need to get the physical piece with the digital hook to the right person at the right address. Be sure you have Data Services ensure the deliverability of all your direct mail data with address hygiene, NCOA, merge/purge, postal presorting and related services!