The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved the USPS 2016 promotions calendar in mid-December, which will give mailers 5 ways to achieve postal discounts next year. These discounts will be offered for extended periods next year, giving mailers more ways to save than ever before. And an extra bonus — barring congressional action, the exigent rate surcharge will be rolling off early in the year, giving your postage budget some much-needed breathing room. Let’s take a look at the different programs you can take advantage of next year.
Emerging and Advanced Technology/Video in Print
Available for First-Class and Standard Mailings, this promotion will give mailers a two percent discount for including technology like enhanced Augmented Reality, Beacon connectivity and Video in Print. Video screen technology is more affordable than ever, which gives an interesting digital aspect to a prospective mail piece. While this incentive is geared toward the bleeding edge marketer, it allows mailers to experiment with new technologies and compare the responses versus more traditional mail pieces. This promotion will run from March through August.
Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mail Piece Engagement
Available for Standard Mail only, this promotion offers a two percent discount for mailings that include specialty ink, paper, or other interactive elements such as smells or tastes. Many of these design elements have been used regularly in successful mailings, but this gives new visibility to techniques like “scratch and smell” stickers and heat-sensitive ink. Textured paper, infinite folds and other interactive designs will be considered as well for this new program. This promotion will also run from March through August.
Earned Value Promotion
Not much has changed for the Earned Value promotion this year. If you use Business Reply Mail or Courtesy Reply Mail, you can get a $0.02 credit for each BRM/CRM piece sent to you throughout the promotion period. If you participated in this program in 2015, you’ll get an extra cent credit for each BRM/CRM piece over your 2015 volume. This promotion will run from April to June, and credits must be used by September 15.
Personalized Color Transpromo
This First-Class Mail only promotion builds on last year’s Color Transpromo option by requiring that the color promotion must be personalized to the recipient, either by using their contact information, interaction history, or other personal information to highlight the offer or information. Use this promotion to get two percent off your mailing’s postage from July through December.
The 2016 Mobile promotion has an interesting spin: it includes the ability to link to a social media site with the ability to purchase a product. Like last year, the mail piece needs to include a mobile barcode or digital watermark that guides the user to a shopping experience. However this year the purchasing can take place on growing shopping platforms like Facebook and Pinterest. This promotion offers a two percent upfront postage discount for Standard Mail sent between July and December.
A Postage Decrease?
When the Postal Regulatory Commission approved a 4.3% “exigent” rate case increase back in 2013, it was with the understanding that the prices would be rolled back when the effect of the economic collapse had been satisfied. Despite USPS efforts to make this price increase permanent, the exigent amount is scheduled to be satisfied sometime late March or early April. So, barring any congressional action, mailers will see a significant drop in postage this spring. We’ll know for certain by late February, as USPS is required to give mailers notice 45 days prior to any price change.