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Three Commonly Asked Questions (with Answers) Surrounding Full-Service IMb

Kurt Ruppel

There have been many questions within the mailing community regarding Full-Service Intelligent Mail. Since January 2013, some form of Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) – either Basic or Full-Service – has been mandatory. It has been notoriously challenging for those in the process of building systems to support Full-Service. So many direct marketers have wondered if the value of Full-Service is worth the effort.

That question is about to become irrelevant as Full-Service IMb becomes necessity rather than luxury. Starting in January 2014, Full-Service IMb will be required to receive automation discounts. Questions of whether it’s worth it will soon transition to questions of how best to implement it. We’ve put together a short list of commonly asked questions (with answers) so you can get to know Full-Service IMb and all it has to offer:

  1. What type of reporting is possible through Full-Service IMb? Full-Service provides “Start the Clock” scans when pallets arrive at postal facilities. It also offers processing scans as trays move through mail sorting and piece tracking scans as mail is sorted into final delivery sequence. The unique barcodes available through Full-Service IMb allow visibility into the quality and production of mail as well as monitoring of mail movements en route to the USPS (and within the USPS network). Both direct marketers and the USPS can even identify “at risk” mail when there is still time to intervene and keep it on schedule.
  2. What other benefits does Full-Service IMb provide? Since IMb depends heavily on the management and analysis of data, the presence (or absence) of data can help explain response activity. It can also help with troubleshooting current mailings or planning future mailings. The data available from Full-Service mail also allows the USPS to track and report on its service performance, which has resulted in service standard improvements.
  3. How are direct marketers using information acquired through Full-Service IMb? Full-Service data creates mail that can drive greater ROI for the mailer (it can also create more value and relevance for the recipient) with better timing of offers. Full-Service IMb provides countless advantages to direct marketers by enhancing or improving the following functions of a direct mail campaign:
    • Monitor mail throughout the production process
    • Make last minute changes to mailing – even during or after production
    • Monitor logistics flow/hand-offs prior to postal induction
    • Staff call centers appropriately
    • Fine tune campaign cadence
    • Coordinate mail with promotions (such as retail sales), other media (newspaper/radio/TV) and email/text messaging
    • Provide stronger support for cross-channel campaigns


The data available through Full-Service Intelligent Mail allows us to track and manage direct mail throughout its lifecycle.

IWCO Direct has been managing Full-Service data for more than five years. We support all required barcodes, manage data to ensure uniqueness, use electronic documentation/statements and take advantage of FAST, the Postal Service’s online system, to make appointments when delivering mail to destination postal facilities.

For more information on the advantages of Full-Service IMb, or the steps needed to implement it and capture automation discounts in the near future, please send me an email.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2013/05/15/full-service-imb-questions/
Kurt Ruppel


Kurt Ruppel

Director Postal Policy and Marketing Communications and graduate of Utah State University. Bringing the “all of us know more than any of us” business philosophy to IWCO Direct for more than 30 years (oy!). Three-time IWCO Direct President’s Award winner, Chairman of the EMA Board of Directors, bicycling enthusiast, and Ohio State Buckeye Football fan.

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