Postal Pieces: 2017 Proposed Promotions
The USPS has filed with the PRC its official request to get approval for 2017 promotions.

Three of the promotions for Standard Mail largely follow the parameters of prior promotions and it is anticipated that they will be approved. This early filing was done by the USPS to respond to industry comments that development of promotion technology where applicable, and sale and communication about the promotions, would be facilitated if the Postal Service made its plans known further in advance.

It is anticipated that the promotions will be approved by the PRC around the beginning on July with the first scheduled promotion to take effect on January 1, 2017.

If approved, the following promotions would be available to standard and saturation mailers:

• Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion - January 1, 2017 to June 30, 2017;

• Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion - March 1, 2017 to August 31, 2017;

• Mobile Shopping Promotion - August 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017 (Note: This is only five months as opposed to a six-month promotion);

• Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive Mail Piece Engagement Promotion - February 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017; and

• Direct Mail Starter Promotion - May 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017.

Three of the promotions are similar to promotions the USPS has offered in the past with an up-front, 2% discount for qualifying pieces using the Emerging and Advance Technology, Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mail Piece Engagement Technology, or the Mobile Shopping Promotion.

Based on my initial review of the promotion descriptions, it does not seem that the rules or requirements for these promotions will be substantially different from the 2016 promotions. The proposed language that would appear in the pricing schedules to describe the three proposed promotions is substantially identical to the 2016 promotions. (Of course the USPS could always add additional requirements and rules).

The Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion has increased the rebate available on qualifying Business Reply Mail from 3¢ to 5¢ if placed in the mail stream during the program period. To receive the rebate, registered customers must have distributed the business reply type piece.

A new promotion is offered described as a Direct Mail Starter Promotion for a three-month period that is described as follows:

Provide a 5% discount on the qualifying postage for Standard Mail letters and flats that contain print mobile or other qualifying technology that leads the recipient to a mobile optimized website. To receive the discount, the qualifying mail must be sent during the established program period by mailers that comply with the eligibility requirements of the program. No more 10,000 mail pieces per mailer may qualify for the discount during the promotion period.

In support of this new promotion, the Postal Service states that it is aware that complex participation requirements can create barriers for small business mailers that would otherwise respond to promotional incentives by maintaining or growing their direct mail volume. The promotion is intended to encourage small business mailers to design direct mail marketing campaigns that incorporate a qualifying technology that leads to a mobile optimized website. Because of the small size limit for the promotion, that appears to be applied "per mailer," it does not appear that this promotion will be of significant interest or use for SMC members in their own mail programs. For SMC members that do printing or assist other business or companies with their own mailings, this promotion may be available for the business if it is the individual USPS customer.


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