As a confirmed postal geek, last week was an exciting one for me. It started with the opportunity to share our views on postal reform legislation with one of our Congressional representatives and concluded at Postal Service headquarters with the quarterly Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meetings. Here are a few of the highlights.
We were pleased to have Congressman Charlie Dent visit our largest lettershop in Hamburg, PA. It was a great opportunity for IWCO Direct President Joe Morrison and me to discuss our concerns about the financial stability of the U.S. Postal Service with Rep. Dent and share with him why we urgently need postal reform legislation this year. We highlighted for Rep. Dent that we are deeply concerned about the possibility of an exigent (above inflation) postage rate increase that would drive down mail volumes. We also stressed that any reform legislation needs to include retention of the CPI rate cap introduced in 2006.
Director of Operations Frank Boncore provided a tour of our mailing facility, explaining to Rep. Dent that we employ more than 725 of his constituents who are counting on him to help ensure the future of the Postal Service so IWCO Direct can continue growing jobs in Hamburg.
At MTAC, Postal Service executives engaged industry leaders on topics such as product visibility and service performance, mail preparation and entry, product development, as well as payment and acceptance technologies. We learned that Standard Mail letters entered at a Sectional Center Facility (SCF) are meeting in-home service level commitments 93.8% of the time, and 99% of such letters are in-home within one day beyond the service standard. We also received an update on how the Full-Service requirement will be administered in January and learned about new tools to obtain and verify Mailer IDs (MIDs) and Customer Registration IDs (CRIDs) through the Business Customer Gateway.
Proposed USPS Promotions for 2014
One of the most interesting topics covered at MTAC was a sneak peak from the USPS marketing team on what promotions could be offered in 2014. Although all USPS promotions are subject to Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approval before they can be considered final, knowing what’s on the table is certainly helpful when planning for the coming year. The proposed 2014 promotions include:
- Earned Value (Reply Mail) – 2¢ credit for each reply piece returned during the promotion period; 2013 participants can earn 3¢ per piece for incremental volumes over this year’s figure.
- Color Print in First-Class Mail Transactions – earn a postage discount when you use color on bills and statements.
- Branded Color Mobile Technology – earn a postage discount when you include a QR code, or similar technology, in your mailpiece and print the barcode in two or more colors or include a graphic as part of the barcode.
- Mail and Digital Personalization – earn a postage discount for including a digital link such as a PURL in your personalized mailpiece.
- Premium Advertising – a new twist for mail with entirely advertising or marketing content that would otherwise be mailed as Standard Mail. It would not receive forwarding or return service and would be subject to inspection to verify content, but would use a First-Class Mail permit imprint and receive First-Class Mail service. Planned discount is 15% off applicable First-Class rate.
- Near Field Communications (NFC) – earn a postage discount for including an NFC device on your mailpiece.
- Mail Drives Mobile Commerce – holiday shopping promotion similar to this year’s “Buy It Now” promotion.
- Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) Coupon – coupons ($50 or $100) available to small mailers to offset postage costs on their first EDDM mailings.
The Postal Service also expects to bring back the Saturation/High Density incentive. This will be a full year promotion for those who mailed at least six walk-sequence carrier route mailings in 2013. It will provide a rebate on incremental volume mailed in 2014 compared to 2013, with the rebate calculation being made at the end of the year.
Be sure to check back with SpeakingDIRECT. We’ll share more details about these USPS promotions as they become available.
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