Cover Story

Mail in the Age of the Digital Consumer: Driving Relevance and Results

Consumers are connected 24⁄7 to their mobile devices whether they are engaged in social media, shopping, or playing games. Marketers are aware of this trend and have begun shifting their marketing spend away from direct mail in an effort to increase the return on their investments and response rates.

However, contrary to popular belief, mail is highly valued among consumers. Based on findings from the USPS® 2016 Mail Moment Survey, regardless of age, most consumers get their mail at the first opportunity and then sort at first opportunity (usually same day). Overall mail engagement has increased since 2012 — these are encouraging statistics.

Although the Postal Service™ has been around since 1775, hard copy mail is still preferred over telemarketing and email. Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000, the biggest generation in U.S. History based on the U.S. Census) enjoy receiving mail even more than other generations.

The Mail Innovations team sees this as an educational opportunity. The team has been creating promotions and incentives since 2011 to drive awareness of innovative uses of mail and link the physical with the digital world.

The promotions have proven to be an effective way to move the industry towards new and innovative mail techniques. In 2015, over 11 billion pieces were mailed through the promotions, and participants have let us know that the promotions have driven response rates and engagement. Mailers appreciate the opportunity to try new things that they wouldn’t normally do with their direct mail campaigns and to learn (at discounted rates) how new technology or a new take on traditional mail techniques work for their companies.

The USPS currently has three mailing promotions running that offer a 2 percent postage discount for the use of print⁄mobile technology and tactile, sensory, and physical experiences:

n Emerging and Advanced Technology⁄Video in Print Promotion

This promotion runs through August 31, 2016, and encourages the creation of mailpieces that include technologies such as NFC, enhanced augmented reality, video in print, and Beacon technology. These technologies allow the recipients to engage in innovative digital experiences triggered from their mailpiece.

n Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement Promotion

This promotion’s purpose is to engage consumers through the use of innovative specialty inks, sensory elements, textural papers, and the use of folds or other dimensional elements that the recipient can interact with and manipulate. This promotion ends on August 31, 2016.

n Mobile Shopping Promotion

The Mobile Shopping promotion continues through December 31, 2016, and encourages the use of mail as the gateway to a mobile purchase through the use of such mobile technology as QR codes and snap tags. This year’s promotion also allows the use of “Buy Now” features that support shopping during social media activities.

By visiting https:⁄⁄⁄, you can view examples that would qualify for each of these promotions and experience how direct mail can be cutting-edge and innovative.

The last promotion for 2016 encourages the use of more traditional mail techniques. According to Leflein Associates Mail Openability Study, recipients are 69 percent more likely to open mailpieces with color text⁄graphics on envelopes and 247 percent more likely to open those with color graphics first. The 2016 Personalized Color Transpromo promotion requires mailers to incorporate dynamic color printing of personalized marketing messaging and data in order to earn the 2 percent postage discount. This promotion launched on July 1, 2016, and runs until December 31, 2016.

Through the continued development of the mailing promotions by the Mail Innovations team, our goal is that direct mail will remain relevant, the value of mail will continue to grow, and consumers will be enthralled with their mailpieces.


More information on all of the promotions mentioned and the recently approved 2017 mailing promotions calendar (shown) can be found on our RIBBS page at https:⁄⁄⁄index.cfm?page=mailingpromotions.

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