US Mail Postage Rates Summer Sale

The US Postal Service is having it’s first ‘Sale’ that I have seen in my lifetime of 20 postal years. They are going to give you 30% off of your postage rates for every dollar you spent ‘above your average’.

The details are best to come directly from the US Postal Service so here is the quote from the Post Office customer Relations:

“The Postal Service will offer qualifying Standard Mail customers a 30 percent discount on eligible mailings this summer. This will provide those mailers with an incentive to prospect for new customers and reconnect with existing customers.

We think Direct Mail has tremendous value in growing your business. With Direct Mail accounting for 22 percent of the $250 billion spent nationwide on advertising each year, it’s big business. Direct mail is targeted and measurable to an extent other advertising media can’t match.

The summer sale is currently under review by the Postal Regulatory Commission. We plan to begin the discounted pricing July 1. The sale will run until September 30.

Obviously, this is a new initiative for us and we’re anxious to see how well it will work. Are any of you going to take advantage of the summer sale?”

– Steve Kearney, senior vice president, Customer Relations

The catch is, to be eligable you must mail over 1 million pieces of mail from October 1st 2007 through March 31st 2008. From those dates a ‘threshold’ is being established to compare your current summer mailings to.

You will pay your full postage rates through this season and then after October 31st the US Postal Service will determine your rebate and put that back on your permit by December 31st.

So there is a Sale, but only a handful of our direct mail customers will even apply for it as the discount is 30% of the postage spent above your average amount. Of course you still have to mail at least a million pieces in the 4 months as well.

I estimate that this will affect the ‘publishers clearinghouses’ and ‘Capital Ones’ of the world the most.  I just wouldn’t be doing my duty if I didn’t tell you about it. If you would like us to help you calculate, monitor and apply for your savings with you we will.

Are new postage rates justified in direct mail?

All things being what they are, I am normally one of the first people to bash large bureaucratic entities such as the US Postal Service. The monopoly that they hold over the industry, the civil service mentality and attitude as well as the constant increases in the cost of doing business leave them as a wide-open target.

In thinking about the new Postage Rates, however, I also feel compelled to compliment the postal service for the latest developments that they have introduced. It has been quite an undertaking! Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of room for improvement and a many areas that they can improve on. Today let’s look at some of the positives, because they deserve to be recognized.

One of the most amazing new developments with the US Postal Service is the implementation of the intelligent mail barcode systems. It is mind-boggling to think of the amount of data retrieval, data collection and data distribution that this system is capable of. This helps the post office to track delivery times and pinpoint problematic areas within their system.

It has also been a great tool for mail service providers such as CSG Direct to build systems around for individual US Mail tracking. This is a dream come true for Direct Marketing professionals to be able to track their mailings online. It allows them to gauge delivery times, track individual pieces and better plan their projects.

Another item that I believe bears consideration is the expense of fuel that has spiked and dropped several times in recent memory. As a transportation and delivery entity, the postal service is sharply affected by fuel costs. I know in my household fuel prices have strained the budget considerably. These costs cannot be absorbed for long periods of time – especially at the volumes that the USPS consumes.

I believe that the postal service is working diligently to improve service and delivery times. With some of the new requirements for NCOA standards, enhanced barcoding and ongoing customer relationship building. I am seeing great strides of improvement in a large entity that is slow to change.

If we can only get them to work in a more customer friendly atmosphere in regard to the incessant changes and rules for mailpiece design and construction. They change the rules – industry adjusts – then they change the rules because they do not like the industry adjustments. The recent flat changes are a good example of this.

In May of 2007, the flat rate increase was harsh, so the industry started changing to smaller booklets and slimjims that were subject to the letter rate category. Now the post office is implementing new rules on these types of mailers that will cost the preparers more money to process and slow down the production. This should have been taken into consideration in 2007 when the USPS raised the flat rates to get mailers to change their formats and remove some of the burden from the flat sorters.

OOPS… I am going off on a rant – not the intention here.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate some of the positive changes that the post office and the mailing industry are encountering. The new technologies are very cool, and very useful. If you are not taking advantage of these new technologies, then you are missing the boat! If you would like to learn more about US Mail Tracking, give one of the Direct Mail Specialists at CSG Direct a call. We are here to help!

New Postage Rates – Intelligent Mail barcodes

To date, mailers have deposited more than 24 billion mailpieces withNew Postage Rates Intelligent Mail barcodes. We’d like to remind you that in May 2011, to be eligible for automation discounts and the new postage rates on your letter-size and flat-size mailpieces, you’ll need to start using the IMB in place of POSTNET barcodes.

In May 2011, the POSTNET barcode will be ineligible for automation prices and the IMB must be used to claim automation prices with either the Full-Service option or the Basic option.

Additionally, the PLANET code barcode, used with Confirm service for mail tracking, will be retired in May 2011. To receive Confirm service after this date, you’ll need to use the Intelligent Mail barcode.US Mail Tracking

CSG Direct has been using Intelligent Mail barcodes since 2008.

The USPS will conduct weekly webinars titled Migrating to IMB during September 2010. The US Postal Service in a letter directed to mailers provided this information.

CSG Direct is an early adopter and IMB developer and recognized for some of Americas most robust US Mail Tracking tools. We’ve invented a whole series of tools, widgets, maps and reports around the new IMB barcodes and the USPS Confirm services.

Our IMB expertise includes US Mail Tracking for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones.

When you use CSG Direct for direct mailing you can track all your projects live and you can track the movement of all your individual mail pieces en route to their individual destinations.

This was our DIRECT MAIL DREAM and we made it a reality!

New Postage Rates 2011

Postal Service Proposes New Postage Rates for 2011

New Postage Rates

No Postage Increases in January 2011

WASHINGTON
— A new Forever Stamp image will be available as part of a pricing package that would add less than 13 cents a month to the average American household’s budget.

The U.S. Postal Service Governors recommended increasing the price of a First-Class stamp 2 cents to 46 cents and authorized the production of a pane of four evergreen tree branches as the newest image for Forever Stamps. The price of a postcard would increase 2 cents to 30 cents.

The Postal Regulatory Commission must approve the recommended price changes. The increases would not go into effect until January 2, 2011. It would be the first stamp price increase in almost two years.

Holiday Evergreen Forever Stamps will be available to the public in October at the current rate of 44 cents. Once purchased, the stamps are valid literally forever – despite any future price changes. No additional postage will ever be needed.

Faced with plummeting mail volume traced to the recession and increased use of the Internet, the Postal Service is projecting a deficit of nearly $7 billion for the next fiscal year. Despite eliminating millions of work hours and reducing expenses by more than $1 billion every year since 2001, a budget gap remains.

The proposed price changes, if approved, will raise about $2.3 billion for the first nine months of 2011. Postmaster General John E. Potter said he does not want customers to bear the burden of dramatic price increases. Instead, Potter announced in March that pricing would be one in a series of solutions the Postal Service is pursuing to become financially sound.

“There is no one single solution to the dire financial situation that the Postal Service faces,” Potter said. “These proposed rate adjustments are moderate and part of a fair and balanced approach to insuring mail service for all Americans well into the future.”

Other actions outlined in March included changes to delivery frequency, restructuring prepayments of retiree health benefits, creating a more flexible workforce and expanding access to products and services to places more convenient to customers.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Complete details of today’s filing can be found on usps.com . No prices will change before 2011

No Postage Rate Increases for 2010

To Postal Service Customers:

Many of you have expressed concerns regarding mailing costs for 2010. The tough economic climate has presented significant challenges to all of us and pessimistic speculation has suggested that postal prices could increase by as much as 10 percent.

As we begin a new fiscal year and as many of you, our business clients, are preparing your 2010 operating budgets, we want to end all speculation.

The Postal Service will not increase prices for market dominant products in calendar year 2010.

Simply stated, there will not be a price increase for market dominant products including First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, periodicals, and single-piece Parcel Post. There will be no exigent price increase for these products.

This is the right decision at the right time for the right reason. Promoting the value of mail and encouraging its continued use is essential for jobs, the economy, and the future of both the Postal Service and the mailing industry.

While increasing prices might have generated revenue for the Postal Service in the short term, the long term effect could drive additional mail out of the system. We want mailers to continue to invest in mail to grow their business, communicate with valued customers, and maintain a strong presence in the marketplace. Changes in pricing for our competitive products—Priority Mail, Express Mail, Parcel Select, and most international products—are under consideration. We expect to announce a decision in November.

We are committed to working with customers to find ways to grow the mail through innovative incentives like the Summer Sale and contract pricing. Mail is the most effective means of communication and advertising and we will continue to work together to increase the value of the mail. Mail is a smart investment for the future.

John E. Potter

——————

Nice information to have. Thanks John!

New Direct Mail Booklet Tabbing Requirements

Booklet Tabbing

Well the much-awaited September 8, 2009 direct mail changes are finally here. This set of changes has been very convoluted and harder to follow than many changes in the past. We made every effort to stay ahead of the curve but the final rulings happened in the final days. The document explains this unique process further.

Here is the full document

THE FINAL RULE:

Basically, when it all comes down to it; there are changes in the requirements on booklets.
Don’t yawn yet; this is bigger than you might think.

1st) The maximum size is now 6″x10.5″ long (smaller now)

2nd) The minimum thickness is .009 (not changed)

3rd) The maximum thickness is .25 inch (not changed)

4th) Cannot use perforated tabs ( changed )

5th) Now requires 3 1-1/2″ tabs (changed – damn)
on heavier booklets they ‘recommend’ 1-inch paper tabs.

The upcharge for not meeting these standards can be considerable. Mailpieces would be upcharded to nonmachinable rates. The most common would be for Standard mail which would go up at least .20 cents per piece (almost double).

It is this kind of details that makes our services and expertise more valuable. Avoid spending more than you need by working with USPS certified reps like all of us at CSG Direct, Inc

We are here to keep your postage low and guide your mail to its destination quickly and inexpensively. You don’t get that kind of guidance from a quick-printer.

Of course with our new US Mail Tracking systems, you can also track every single piece.

New Postal Rates for Letter-Sized Booklets and Self Mailers

If you haven’t already heard, the US Postal service will be implementing new postal rates and standards for folded self-mailers and letter sized booklets – also known as “slim-jims”.

These new standards were scheduled to go into effect with the postal rate increase on May 11, but then delayed after review until Sept. 8th of this year. These new standards pose a “double-whammy” on the industry, as new size templates will need to be implemented for designs and creative for mail-pieces. The new standards will also incur much deeper penalties for mailers who are not compliant.

Instead of getting non-automation rates for non-automation compliant pieces, mailers will likely be getting hit with non-machinable rates for virtually all mailpieces that do not comply with automation standards.

The only exception to this, as I am told, will be non-barcoded mailpieces that otherwise would be automation compliant in regards to size, tabs, folds, paper stock, etc.

The new maximum size for letter sized booklets and folded self- mailers is 6” x 10.5” x .25” thick. The post office will also be enforcing new tab and paper weight standards. Please review the information to avoid problems.

It’s important to stay ahead of the changes that the US Postal Service is continually making. This is why working with mail professionals helps to ensure that your direct marketing projects are prepared and presented without costly or problematic delays.

Your projects deserve the attention that only a true direct mail marketer can provide. Putting addresses on mail pieces as a side business, as many print shops do to enhance revenue, does not qualify them as professional direct marketers.

Give us call to discuss your next mail project – In these times of extreme budget monitoring and cuts…it is crucial that you get the absolute best value for your company’s marketing dollar. We invite you to compare us to your current mail shop, you will find that we are “The Greatest Value in Direct Mail”.