USPS Promotions: Physical Mail Drives Digital Engagement

By Lois Ritarossi / Published:

Everyone wants to save money on their mail and direct marketing programs. The USPS has an interest in getting companies to mail more. The USPS promotions are designed to demonstrate the value of physical mail driving consumers to digital channels while providing postage discounts. The benefits for mailers include more effective mail with improved response and conversion across all channels.

I recently spoke with Chris McEachran, Client Business Executive and David Janecek, Operations Director at CSG, and Kathy Lund, Postal Solutions Sales Consultant at Quad, about how they are assisting clients in taking advantage of the 2022 USPS Promotions.

The USPS has been offering promotions with postal discounts to incent mailers since 2011. Both CSG and Quad shared how more clients are planning to take advantage of the promotions this year to offset the postage increases from last August and the planned postage increase in July. “Quad is thrilled to enable clients with innovative technology that makes mail more relevant,” says Kathy Lund. “The USPS promotions provide our clients measurable cost savings with mail that is driving digital engagement.”

Clients say “yes” to easy.

CSG has taken a client service approach to educating their customers about the opportunity for the USPS promotions, as well as providing campaign management. The promotions have been featured in CSG’s quarterly industry update webinars and regular client communications. The CSG delivery and client teams have taken the lead in running the entire campaign process, securing USPS approval, and managing the postal credits from the promotions.

Quad has also taken an active approach to educate their customers about the benefits of the promotions with webinars and ongoing communications.  This includes their sales teams scheduling individual client meetings to discuss benefits and savings, along with Quad’s complete process to manage all aspects of the campaigns.

Quad has clients across many verticals with planned campaigns for all of the different 2022 promotions. This year many more clients are participating in the Tactile, Sensory & Interactive Promotion. With a 4% postage savings, Quad has enabled clients to justify the additional cost of ink or specialty papers needed to participate. Many clients are using soft touch finishing. The “appeal and reveal” clean release card is getting increased participation from large retail brick-and-mortar chains.

For the Emerging and Advanced Technology promotion, many Quad customers are using Quad’s proprietary interactive and shoppable video solution along with next-generation QR codes called Flowcodes. Compared to traditional black and white square QR codes, Flowcodes can be branded and custom designed, are dynamic, provide advanced analytics and privacy compliant. Quad’s print platform enables a wide range of high quality color Flowcodes along with the ability to deploy them in a personalize 1:1 fashion. QR Flowcodes are rapidly expanding across major consumer brands, entertainment venues and celebrity products.

CSG is sourcing custom embossed envelopes to enable clients to take advantage of the Tactile, Sensory & Interactive Promotion. Despite the supply chain challenges to procure specialty envelopes, CSG’s clients are eager to leverage this promotion for their statement communications.

CSG is producing transactional documents. Their clients are primarily leveraging the Personalized Color Transpromo and Earned Value Reply promotions. CSG’s inkjet production platforms are driving the move to full color transpromo onserts replacing static printed inserts.

CSG’s workflow and messaging tools allow clients faster time to market with personalized messages and full color ads. Conventional static inserts require several days of lead time for design, ordering, printing and shipping. CSG is providing faster time to market, with a greater degree of variable messages with ads printed in conjunction with statements. Inkjet production workflows are enabling more relevant messages, with higher read times for statements, over inserts, plus the added benefit postal discounts. Inkjet production is the backbone driving time to market with fully customized messages, ads and statement content.

Last year CSG managed client Personalized Color Transpromo campaigns which generated over $1million in postage savings across ten clients. With proven results, CSG is planning on significantly higher volumes as more clients will be participating in the promotions this year. For one client who mails 14 million pieces per month, they generated over $500,000 in postage savings over the six-month campaign last year.

In 2021 CSG had 40 clients implement Earned Value Reply Mail promotions resulting in over $400 million in postage savings. This year CSG has spent more time assisting clients in understanding the value of the promotions. They now have 13 additional clients taking advantage of the Earned Value Reply Mail promotion.

Each campaign can only take advantage of one USPS promotion at a time. The CSG client teams manage the entire end to end process to migrate campaigns from one promotion to the next one available. This will enable their clients to qualify for the transpromo promotion while it is running and then take advantage of the informed delivery promotion when it is available.

For the emerging technology promotion, Quad has developed a proprietary interactive and shoppable video offering. The solution provides clients with guidelines and a process to easily create the assets needed for the video components. It also streamlines the USPS approval process. Clients are seeing the marketing advantage of embedding video within direct mail campaigns. And direct mail with video is driving increased online shopping.

Postage Savings is the Driver

Postage savings is the primary driver in clients leveraging the promotions. Clients want to show genuine cost savings for ongoing mailings. And many clients are experiencing the benefit of consumer engagement in digital channels as a direct result of mail.

Quad shared that in past years many of their clients used the savings for other marketing initiatives. This year, many of their clients are using the postage savings as a justification to maintain the same volume of direct mail.

CSG’s clients are leveraging the promotions for their statement mailings and using the savings to subsidize their budgets. Some clients are also leveraging the savings for additional marketing efforts.

Bundled Services

Quad has expanded their solution offering for the USPS promotions. They now offer bundled services to manage all campaign aspects for their clients from registration, approvals and tracking discounts. They are proactively analyzing their client’s annual mailings and showing a cost analysis of the savings if the client had taken advantage of the promotions throughout the year. Quad has expanded their analytic services to provide detailed tracking of cost savings for each campaign. Many of their clients are expanding their use of the promotions and keeping the techniques used during the promotion for ongoing campaigns after the promotions end.

Trackable Results

CSG has seen significant increases in the number of clients deploying campaigns with the promotions. Their client service teams are enabling clients to reduce postage expense and deliver more value to their customers’ communications.

Marketers will continue to leverage the discounts offered by USPS promotions. Inkjet technologies, complex data management, advanced workflows and specialty finishing make mail more engaging. Engaging mail with tactile finishing and embedded technology is driving measurable results and cross channel engagement.

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About the Author

Lois Ritarossi

Lois Ritarossi, CMC®, is the President of High Rock Strategies, a consulting firm focused on sales and marketing strategies, and business growth for firms in the print, mail and communication sectors. Lois brings her clients a cross functional skill set and strategic thinking with disciplines in business strategy, sales process, sales training, marketing, software implementation, inkjet transformation and workflow optimization. You can reach Lois at HighRockStrategies.com

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