For those of you who participate in the direct mail marketing of your business message about your products and or services, there are some changes at the USPS. First of all the postal service is assuring us that while they are nearly broke, they will still be in business. Good to know. However, they are changing some of the rules in the way we are to address our magazines, catalogs, postcard marketing or other items that are sent out via direct mail with the presort discounts. Let’s take a look at what they are doing as it may affect YOU.
The Postnet Barcode for automation price eligibility and discounts has been retired as of 1/28/13 and is replaced by a new system entitled the Intelligent Mail barcode, or the “IMb”. You may as I have a question about the oxymoronic use of the word intelligent, mixed in with government, but that is another matter entirely. Permit reply direct mail will also fall under this same requirement.
With the new IMb system, consumers will still continue to benefit from mailing their flats, such as magazines or catalogs at the automation rates that apply to their direct mail variables. The post office is further claiming that with this new full service system, it will allow you to better track your direct mail campaign and manage your ROI with the full service IMb.
The change in postal code is an important thing to track for those of you who publish magazines, catalogs, books or any item produced via commercial printing that travels through the mail system. It is important as to how it affects your costs, ROI and the last thing you want to do with anything in government is to not be in “compliance”. You would not want to see your magazines, catalogs or book printing project that you had just completed and spent good money on, not be accepted by the post office because your direct mail procedures were not in “compliance” with their rules.
One of the benefits of working with a commercial printing AND direct mail company is that you are assured of a commercial printing and direct mail capability that will keep you on the right track and assure that you will always be in compliance with your direct mail marketing campaign.
For larger mailings a great direct mail service is co-mailing. Providing the variables of your magazine printing or catalog printing run and your direct mail requirements, you may benefit from this little known system of co mailing or “piggy back” mailing. Your commercial printing and direct mail magazine or catalog would be shipped to a communal location to then be combined with other direct mail jobs. The aggregate amount of the final direct mail shipment to the postal hub facility may be two million pieces, thus granting the participants far greater discounts than the best know “simplified” mailing can offer.
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