Why Marketers Need to Care About USPS Promotions

Because direct mail is still effective

USPS mailman in the foreground and USPS truck in the background
Direct mail works. Digital marketing works. Combine them in an omnichannel campaign. - Credit by Getty Images
Headshot of Kurt Ruppel

Recent action by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) should whet the appetite of marketers that are looking for proven return on marketing investment for their 2020 omnichannel campaigns. The PRC has approved mailing promotions and incentives that encourage marketers to integrate direct mail with mobile technology. The first of six promotions will go into effect Feb.1, 2020, and marketers would be wise to take advantage of them.

Marketers drive omnichannel engagement

Savvy marketers know that direct mail plays an important role in creating customers for their products and services. Mail is a trusted, data-driven channel that motivates prospects to take action.

The appeal of direct mail spans all generations, with a recent USPS Mail Moments study showing millennials spend more time with their mail than other generations. Sixty-two percent of millennials reported reading through their direct mail, 49% prefer to shop stores that advertise through the mail and 40% regularly purchase items featured in marketing mail, all stronger responses than those received from Gen X or baby boomers.

And with the advances in mail tracking, it’s easier than ever to project when mail will arrive and coordinate it with the other channels in an omnichannel campaign.

Stretch your marketing budget with mailing promotions

USPS mailing promotions provide discounts to mailers for trying techniques that are proven to drive marketing success. Most promotions offer a 2% discount on eligible postage right at the time of mailing.

With postage costs often accounting for more than 50% of marketers direct mail spend, a 2% discount opens a range of opportunities to make your marketing budget do more. Here are three proven ways to make the most of your marketing budget:

Target more prospects

With the dollars you save in postage, you can dip deeper into your model to find customers you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to target.

Test new techniques while they’re on sale

Always wanted to try adding a tactile element to your mailpiece? What about incorporating an augmented reality experience or link to a mobile-enabled website? Taking advantage of promotional discounts can help offset the cost of using an additional printing technique or creating a digital experience. By taking advantage of these discounts, the USPS can help you pay for an option that may have seemed out of reach.

Supplement your campaign with an additional touch

Redirect your postage savings to upgrade the mailpiece going to your most likely prospects or simply include one more wave in your direct mail cadence.

The research is done, so take advantage

The Postal Service wants mailers to be successful and studies factors that drive direct mail success. They use this data when choosing behaviors to encourage through promotions, incentivizing practices that result in relevant mailpieces that engage recipients.

What makes mail irresistible to consumers, or at least makes them curious enough to open it? The Postal Service loves acronyms, so here’s one for the 2020 promotions: Tactile, emerging, mobile, personalized, informed delivery (TEMPID).

Tactile, sensory and interactive: Take advantage of mail’s tactile and tangible attributes by adding textured varnish or embossing to your mailpiece. Or try a Trailing Edge Die-Cut (TED-C) mailpiece to attract the attention of your recipients.

Emerging and advanced technology: Integrate your mail campaigns with digital channels like augmented or virtual reality, addressable TV, shoppable video and smart speakers (digital assistants). USPS studies show marketers achieved three times the return on their direct mail spend when the mail effort was paired with a digital element compared to direct mail alone.

Mobile shopping: Linking mail to a mobile-enabled website is a great way to remove friction from the purchasing process, making it easy for your prospects to become customers.

Personalized color transpromotional: Adding a personalized color element to statement mailings for up-sell or cross-sell efforts can be very productive. Recipients open and read billing statements, and using variable color personalization makes the offer much more relevant and compelling.

Informed delivery: Linking informed delivery to your direct mail campaign provides multiple touchpoints with your recipients—both physical and digital—from the same marketing effort. And more than 60% of informed delivery emails get opened.

Direct mail works. Digital marketing works. Combine them in an omnichannel campaign, take advantage of the opportunity to add a significant discount to the direct mail segment, and you’ll move from savvy marketer to marketing savant.


Kurt Ruppel is director of postal policy and marketing communications at IWCO Direct.
Publish date: December 16, 2019 https://dev.adweek.com/brand-marketing/why-marketers-need-to-care-about-usps-promotions/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT