The USPS has received permission to move ahead with six postage promotions for mailers this year. The 2021 promotions are similar to the past two year's promotions. The promotions for First Class Mail are Earned Value and Personalized and Preprinted Color Transpromo. The Emerging & Technology and the Informed Delivery promotions can use either First Class Mail or Marketing Mail, while the Tactile, Sensory & Interactive Engagement and Mobile Shopping promos are only for Marketing Mail.
Let's take a high level look as each of the six promotions including registration dates and promotion periods. You will be able to find additional information on each of these promotions at https://postalpro.usps.com/promotions. I will discuss each promotional period individually.
- The Tactile, Sensory, & Interactive Promotion has a registration period of December 15th, 2020 through July 31st 2021. Then the promotion runs for six months starting on February 1st and ending on July 31st. This promotion is for mailers who enhance a customer experience with direct mail through the use of advanced print innovations in paper, substrates, inks, and interactive elements and finishing techniques. I wrote a blog on this in 2016 that goes into details on inks, paper, and interactive mail pieces. Mailers are eligible for an upfront 2% postage discount during the promotional period on Marketing Mail only. Here is a link to the program requirements.
- The Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion is for both First Class and Marketing mail. Registration is open from Jan 15th through August 31st and then the promotion runs from March 1st – August 31st. The promotion encourages mailers to incorporate emerging technologies like AR, VR/AMR, and Video in Print along with multiple channel mail integration with addressable TV or digital assistants into direct mail. This promotion also gives an upfront 2% postage discount on First Class and Marketing Mail (including non-profits) letters and flats. Read the program requirements here.
- The Earned Value Promotion registration starts on February 15th and runs through March 31st. This is a short promotion that runs from April 1st to June 30th. This promotion is for First Class mail and encourages mailers to continue to use Business Reply, Courtesy Reply and Share Mail envelopes and cards by providing a financial benefit when their customers put those pieces back into the mail stream. Participants will earn a 2-cent credit per counted reply piece between April and June 2021. Credits received may be applied to postage for First Class Mail presort & automation card, letters, and flats, and also Marketing Mail letters and flats and must be used by December 31st 2021. Read more about this program here.
- The Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion, open to First Class mailers only, has a registration period from May 15th to December 31st. Then the promotional period is July 1st through December 31st. This promotion enhances the value of First Class mail by encouraging mailers who send bill and statements to incorporate color messaging to provide a better connection and increase responses from their customers. This promotion is for First Class Mail presort and automated letter, bills and statements only that meet the updated dynamic print production requirements will be eligible for an upfront 2% postage discount during the promo period. Check out the requirements here.
- It's never too early to think about the 2021 holiday season. The registration period for the the Mobile Shopping Promotion is June 15th through December 31st and the promo is open for five months beginning on August 1st and ending on December 31st. This promotion is designed to have mailers integrate direct mail with mobile technologies to provide a convenient online shopping experience for consumers during the holiday season. Many QR code formats can be leveraged to qualify for the promotion, in addition to the use of a Payment QRs to complete the shopping and purchasing experience. Some of the formats that can be used are Dotless QR Codes, Voice QR codes, Twitter QR Codes, Amazon Smile Codes, Pinterest pin codes, and Messenger codes. Participants will receive an upfront 2% postage discount during this promotion. This promotion is for Marketing Mail letters and flats only. Get the details here.
- The Informed Delivery Promotion is for First Class and Marketing Mail. This promotion also gives a 2% upfront postage discount. Registration is open July 15th through November 30th and the promotion runs September 1 to November 30th. Regular and non-profit marketing mailings of letters and flats and First Class presort or automation mailers of postcards, letters, and flats can qualify for this promotion. The USPS wants to continue to encourage mailers to use the new USPS omnichannel marketing tool to increase the adoption rate of Informed Delivery by offering the discount. Suttle-Straus has a great on-demand webinar on Informed Delivery in our archives. Get the program requirements here.
The annual postal rate increase that went into effect in January can be made a little less painful by using some of these promotions to offset postage costs and increase response rates.
Here is one last quick note from the USPS on the 2021 promotions: Only one promotion discount can be applied to a mailpiece or mailing. The use of multiple qualifying technologies and/or print treatments on or within a mailpiece will not increase the discount amount.