This may be one of the best-kept secrets of 2019. Why? The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been surprisingly low-key about the increase in Full-Service discounts for USPS Marketing Mail (formerly Standard Mail). This increase is a pretty big deal, and many mailers may not even be aware that it was implemented on January 27 of this year.

If you’ve already implemented Full-Service for 100% of your mail, great – you are all set to take advantage of the increased discounts.

If you have not yet implemented Full-Service, or have only done so for First-Class Mail or some other portion of your mail, pay attention! The Full-Service discounts for USPS Marketing Mail increased to the same level as the discounts for First-Class Mail, effective January 27. That’s right – the Full-Service discount for USPS Marketing Mail went from $1.00 per thousand to $3.00 per thousand!

Reasons to Implement Full-Service

Aside from this increase in the discount, there are numerous other reasons for you to implement Full-Service if you have not already done so (or have only partially done so).

First, you are currently missing out on Full-Service discounts. Before you scoff at what those discounts are, consider how much money you’ve already passed up by waiting even this long – and how that money could be used to offset some or all of any investment you need to make to get into Full-Service mailing. The new 2019 discounts are $3/1,000 pieces for First-Class Mail and for USPS Marketing Mail. The Full-Service discount for Periodicals Mail remains at $1/1,000 pieces. Perhaps still not huge for smaller mailers, but something is better than nothing, and you get better service with that discount too. We already know the USPS is increasing prices, so this is one way of helping alleviate the pain of some of that increase, as well.

You’ll also have access to better mail delivery service – a “secret” benefit mailers may not take into consideration when contemplating the move to Full-Service. One of the reasons the Intelligent Mail program was created was to be able to provide more accurate and timely ways to measure USPS delivery performance. As the old saying goes, what gets measured gets improved, and Full-Service mail is no different. Since this mail is inherently more visible – with unique barcodes on pieces, trays, and pallets – it’s easier for the Postal Service to see any processing or delivery trouble spots and fix them quickly. Full-Service mail gets better service delivery, a benefit many mailers are ignoring. This reason alone may be worth completely converting all your mail to Full-Service.

Third, knowledge is power. There is a vast amount of data in the Intelligent Mail barcodes, not to mention all the data in those Mail.dat files that you use for eDoc. Find out how you can capture and use all that data to automate or otherwise improve functions in your mailing operation. Big Data and those who use it will have the competitive advantage moving forward… don’t lose your clients to a smarter mailer.

You’ll also have access to valuable data such as IMb Tracing data, Start-The-Clock data, and Address Change Service (ACS) data, as this is currently provided for free as part of Intelligent Mail Full-Service. Granted, the data from the USPS is pretty raw in format, but there are plenty of service providers out there who can help you turn that raw data into usable information. And, if you’re a mail service provider (MSP), you may even be able to monetize the provision of this information to your clients.

The USPS is offering six promotion/incentive programs for 2019 that require Full-Service for participation. And some of these promotions are quite lucrative! The trick is you need to use at least some elements of Intelligent Mail Full-Service, such as Intelligent Mail barcodes on the mail pieces and submitting eDoc to PostalOne!, in order to be eligible for these promotions.


The USPS has published numerous documents for the January 2019 price change, all available on the PostalPro website. Because the USPS has been very quiet about this Full-Service discount increase for USPS Marketing Mail, you really have to look at the postage statements to see it. Check with your software providers to make sure your mailing software has been updated to take advantage of this higher discount for USPS Marketing Mail, and for the upcoming promotion programs offered in 2019.

Jeff Peoples is Founder and CEO, Window Book.

This article originally appeared in the March/April, 2019 issue of Mailing Systems Technology.