The Long Wait is Over: USPS Promotions Back for 2019
The USPS has approved six mailing promotions for 2019. You may remember that USPS did not have any promotions in 2018. This year they are bringing back five promotions from previous years and have added one new Informed Delivery promotion. The promotions for First Class Mail are Earned Value, Personalize and Preprinted Color Transpromo. The Emerging & Technology and the Informed Delivery promotions can use either First Class Mail or Marketing Mail, while the Tactile, Sensory & Interactive Engagement and Mobile Shopping promos are only for Marketing Mail.
Let's take a high-level look as each of the six promotions including registration dates and promotion periods. You will be able to find additional information on each of these promotions on the PostalPro website.
The Tactile, Sensory, & Interactive Promotion has a registration period of Dec. 15, 2018 through July 31, 2019. The promotion runs for six months starting on Feb. 1 and ending on July 31. The promotion is for mailers who enhance a customer experience with direct mail by the use of advanced print innovations in paper, substrates, inks, and interactive elements and finishing techniques. I wrote a blog on this in 2016 that goes into details on inks, paper, and interactive mail pieces. Mailers are eligible for an upfront 2 percent postage discount during the promotional period on Marketing Mail only.
The second promotion of the year is the Emerging and Advanced Technology promo for both First Class and Marketing mail. Registration is open from Jan 15 through Aug. 31 and the promotion runs from March 1 through Aug. 31. The promotion encourages mailers to incorporate emerging technologies like AR, VR/AMR, and Video in Print along with multiple channel mail integration with addressable TV or digital assistants into direct mail. This promotion like the Tactile promotion gives an upfront 2 percent postage discount on First Class and Marketing Mail Letters and Flats.
Next up is the Earned Value Promotion. Registration starts on Feb. 15 and runs through March 31. This is a short promotion that runs from April 1 to June 30. This promotion is for First Class mail and encourages mailers to continue to use Business Reply, Courtesy Reply and Share Mail envelopes and cards by providing a financial benefit when their customers put those pieces back into the mail stream. New participants will earn a 3 cent credit per counted reply piece and repeat participants will must meet a threshold equating to 95 percent of the volumes counted during the same period in 2018 to earn 3 cents per piece counted. Credits received may be applied to postage for First Class Mail presort & automation card, letters, and flats and also Marketing Mail letters and flats and must be used by Dec. 31, 2019.
Promotion #4 is the Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion. This promotion open to First Class Mailers only has a registration period from May 15 to Dec. 31. The promotional period is July 1 through Dec. 31. This promotion enhances the value of First Class by encouraging mailers who send bill and statements to incorporate color messaging to provide a better connection and increase responses for their customers. This promotion is for First Class Mail presort and automated letter, bills and statements only that meet the dynamic print production requirements will be eligible for an upfront 2 percent postage discount during the promo period.
The fifth and final promotion that has been offered in the past is the Mobile Shopping Promotion. It's never too early to think about the 2019 holiday season. The registration period is June 15 through Dec. 31 and the promo is open for five months beginning on Aug. 1 and ending on Dec. 31. This promotion is designed to have mailers integrate direct mail with mobile technologies to provide a convenient online shopping experience for consumers during the holiday season. The many new mobile barcode formats can be leverage to qualify for the promotion, in addition to the use of a Payment QR codes to complete the shopping and purchasing experience. Some of the formats that can be used are Dotless QR Codes, Voice QR codes, Twitter QR Codes, Amazon Smile Codes, Pinterest pin codes, and Messenger codes. Participants will receive an upfront 2 percent postage discount during this promotion.
The new promotion for 2019 is the Informed Delivery Promotion for First Class and Marketing Mail. This promotion also gives a 2 percent upfront postage discount. Regular and Non-Profit Marketing mailers of letters and flats and First Class presort or automation mailers of postcards, letters, and flats can qualify for this promotion. The USPS wants to encourage mailers to use the new USPS omni-channel marketing tool to increase the adoption rate of Informed Delivery by offering the discount. Suttle-Straus has a number of Informed Delivery blogs in our blog archives.
The postage rate increase going into effect on Jan. 27 can be a little less painful by using some of the promotions to offset postage costs.
Here is one last quick note from the USPS on the 2019 promotions: Only one promotion discount can be applied to a mailpiece or mailing. The use of multiple qualifying technologies and/or print treatments on or within a mailpiece will not increase the discount amount.
Rob Hanks is a customer service representative at Suttle-Straus and has more than 23 years of experience in direct mail. Rob is a Certified Mailpiece Design Professional through the United States Postal Service and serves as the Industry Co-Chairperson for the Greater Madison Area Postal Customer Council. Rob enjoys the challenges of mailpiece design within postal regulations and helping clients save on postage costs. Rob lives in rural Pardeeville, WI with his wife, Peggy. Rob enjoys hunting, fishing, gardening and spending time with his two English Springer Spaniels.