The United States Postal Service (USPS) is offering six promotional programs in 2017, aimed at increasing mail volumes by offering incentives to mailers. Starting with the first Mobile Barcode incentive back in 2011, the USPS continues to put incentive programs in place for mailers to take advantage of postage discounts or rebates for submitting mailings that meet the promotion requirements. There are six promotions offered for the calendar year 2017. Read on to see which is best for your mail operation.
The Earned Value Promotion: This program will run from January 1 through June 30, 2017. This promotion is available for First-Class Mail only and builds on the success of previous years’ promotions. The promotion is in the form of a credit on qualifying BRM/CRM reply pieces; which can then be applied to postage for future mailings.
The Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement Promotion: This program will run from February 1 through July 31, 2017. Leveraging the physical aspects of mail, as well as the advances in print technology, marketers and mailers can enhance how customers interact and engage with mail. Eligible mailers who incorporate a multi-sensory experience in their mailpiece may receive a postage discount. This promotion is available only for Standard Mail letters and flats.
The Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion: The program will run from March 1 through August 31, 2017. As with the program in 2016, this promotion is available for both First-Class Mail (letters, cards, and flats) and Standard Mail (letters and flats). New for this year is the inclusion of Virtual Reality and Digital to Direct Mail to elicit a higher response from consumers by using immersive experiences and dynamically printed, personalized messaging.
The Direct Mail Starter Promotion: This is a new promotion for 2017, offered to first time mailers to promote events and offers that incorporate the use of print-mobile technology on up to 10,000 mailpieces during the length of the promotion. This promotion will run from May 1 through July 31, 2017. Any print-mobile technologies, such as QR codes, barcode tracking technology, enhanced augments reality (AR), Near Field Communications (NFC), or other print-mobile technologies currently approved in other promotions can be used to qualify for this promotion.
The Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion: This promotion will run from July 1 through December 31, 2017. This promotion is only available for First-Class Mail commercial letters that are part of an IMb Full-Service mailing. This promotion incorporates marketing messages that use color, dynamic variable print, and personalization.
The Mobile Shopping Promotion:This promotion will run from August 1 through December 31, 2017. As in prior years, this promotion encourages mailers to integrate mobile technology into their direct mail during the 2017 holiday season. This promotion is available only for Standard Mail letters and flats.
As described above, these promotions are available for either First-Class Mail or Standard Mail, or as in the case of the Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion, both classes of mail. Each promotion has its own set of eligibility requirements, including mail piece content requirements, registration requirements, mailing submission requirements, and requirements at mail acceptance and after the mailing is complete. More details regarding the eligibility requirements for each of the promotions is available on the RIBBS website at https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mailingpromotions.
The Earned Value Promotion incentive is in the form of volume-based credits: $0.05 per BRM, CRM, and Alternate Postage pieces counted based on the enrolled MIDs. These credits may then be applied to future mailings of First-Class Mail presort and automation cards, letters, and flats, as well as Standard Mail letters and flats.
The Direct Mail Starter Promotion has an incentive of a five percent discount on eligible postage, taken at the time of mailing. The other promotions each have an incentive of a two percent postage discount, taken at the time of mailing.
The USPS website has information regarding these upcoming promotions at https://www.usps.com/business/promotions-incentives.htm. There is also a RIBBS web page (https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mailingpromotions) that is dedicated to USPS mailing promotions. This includes technical guides for each of the promotions, plus general enrollment guides for both Mail Owners and Mail Service Providers.
Jeff Peoples is President, Founder, and CEO of Window Book, Inc. With 20+ years of innovative solutions that make using the Postal Service easier and more profitable for mailers and shippers, he has done presentations at industry events, GraphExpo, MAILCOM, the National Postal Forum, Postal Customer Council meetings, Harvard Business Expert Forum, and other industry and direct marketing events.