Industry News Postal

Are your catalog, direct mail, and flats clients looking to save 2% off their bottom line postage costs for the next 6 months?  LSC Communications can help.  The Hudson Yards, an LSC Communications Company, premedia team are utilizing Zappar software to design and build Augmented Reality (AR) experiences to meet the Emerging & Advanced Technology Promotion and will guide customers through the process for a relatively small upfront design investment.

Each AR design utilizes image recognition along with a scannable logo that needs to be placed next to the selected image area of the printed piece in order to activate the experience on a mobile device.  Several dozen designs have already been approved for our clients, including swatch-selection, slideshow images, and video creative links that incorporate animation and interactivity.

Here are some additional details for the USPS promotion that allows non-periodical mailers to save 2% on bottom line postage costs from March through August 2019: Save 2%

Contact the team at Hudson Yards, and John Maasik, Director of Business Development, at john.maasik@lsccom.com if you have any clients that could benefit from this postage saving program.

In addition to the Emerging & Advanced Technology Promotion, the USPS has a full complement of promotions for 2019. Below are some details about the ones you may be most interested in leveraging.

2019 PromotionsCalendar_wDescriptions_FINAL

Overview
The information below was provided by the USPS on PostalPro. It is subject to change. It is only summary information. USPS documents should be used to understand full requirements and eligibility.

2019 Tactile, Sensory & Interactive Promotion
Promotion Period: February 1 – July 31, 2019
Registration Period: December 15, 2018 – July 31, 2019

Overview: The print industry continues to develop innovations in papers/stocks, substrates, finishing techniques and inks. New print elements can be incorporated in a mail campaign to engage a multi-sensory experience through special visual effects, sound, scent, texture/tactile treatments, and even taste. In addition, interactive mailpiece features (such as pop-ups, infinite folds, or other dimensional treatments) can help drive customer engagement. Neuroscience and neuromarketing research suggests that marketing materials that engage tactile experiences and/or other senses lead to potentially significant impacts on brand recognition and message recall.

By leveraging advances in print and finishing technology, marketers and mailers can enhance the way consumers interact and engage with mail to drive customer engagement and response rates.

Approval Process Summary: All mailpieces must be submitted to the TSI Promotion Office for review and approval no later than one week prior to the first mailing. Each mailpiece is reviewed individually. Therefore, approval of any one mailpiece does not guarantee approval of future pieces. The treatments which create tactile, sensory and interactive engagement can be categorized into specialty inks, specialty papers, and other interactive features. Applying these treatments to the envelope and/or the mailpiece is equally important to drive response rates. All treatments must be both visible and distinguishable. PDF’s are not acceptable for review by the TSI Promotion Office, actual hard copy mailpiece must be submitted. Samples enclosed within the envelope and envelope opening mechanisms are not eligible for the TSI Promotion. Samples include, but are not limited to; coins, fabric, greeting cards, dream catchers etc. Only the envelope and/or the actual mailpiece that have approved TSI treatments applied are eligible for the TSI Promotion. Envelopes must meet automation compatibility requirements.

2019 Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion
Promotion Period: March 1 – August 31, 2019
Registration Period: January 15 – August 31, 2019

Overview: As mobile and other print technologies evolve, mail has the potential to offer greater value by engaging customers in new and exciting ways. In order to ensure that Direct Mail continues to be a relevant part of the marketing mix, the Postal Service is offering another promotion encouraging customers to incorporate technologies such as “Enhanced” Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality, Near Field Communication (NFC), Video in Print (ViP) featuring Shoppable Video, Integration with Digital Assistants, and Addressable TV technology application in their direct mail campaigns.

Approval Process Summary: The Program Office requires that ALL mailpieces using any of the technologies listed below be sent for review via email to: EmergingTechPromo@usps.gov no later than one week prior to the mailing.

  • Prototypes, mock-ups, previously used mailpieces, etc. can be submitted as the representation of the final mailpiece to see if the proposed concept would meet the Emerging Technology Promotion criteria.
  • Each mailpiece design is reviewed individually and each individual mailpiece must meet the program requirements.
  • If substantive changes are made to the mailpiece design, the revised mailpiece needs to be reviewed for approval.
  • Any final mailpieces that deviate from the prototypes, mock-ups or examples submitted for pre-verification, shall be subject to the loss of the discount.

 

Technology Options:
1. NEW–Mixed Reality: Mixed Reality combines both augmented and virtual experiences through a combined immersive technology that can include site, sound, and touch. Mixed Reality can include different experiences but some of the most common include blending physical and virtual experiences via a head-set. For purposes of the promotion, the direct mail piece must have a trigger which leads to a Mixed Reality experience in the same way that augmented reality and
virtual reality currently function in the promotion.

2. Virtual Reality: Virtual Reality (VR), also known as immersive multimedia or computer simulated reality, is commonly defined as a computer technology that creates replicas of an environment, real or simulated, that includes a user’s physical presence to allow for user interaction. Virtual realities artificially create sensory experiences, which can include sight, touch and hearing.

3. NEW–Addressable TV: Addressable TV (the ability to purchase TV advertising at the household level using specific audience data like household income, age,
gender, shopping behavior, and lifestyle interests) in conjunction with Direct Mail in order to provide a coordinated omni-channel experience to enhance your marketing campaign. For example, an advertiser will purchase Addressable TV commercial unit from a TV operator who has set-top box technology that will allow the advertiser to target the right person and deliver a one-to-one advertising message at the household level.

4. Digital to Direct: The Digital to Direct Mail option for the Emerging and Advanced Technology promotion is a way to grow the value of First-Class Mail and will encourage mailers to invest in digitally reactive and personalized direct mail delivered within two days based on consumers’ online behavior. Unlike other options in this promotion, Digital to Direct Mail starts with digital behavior to dynamically create a customized/targeted mailpiece instead of the physical mailpiece launching a digital experience.

5. Near Field Communication (NFC): Near Field Communication (NFC) technology generally consists of embedding a small chip or other form of technology into a carrier (mailpiece or other item) that can be recognized by a NFC enabled device such as smartphones, tablets or items embedded with NFC chips, tags or similar technology. The interaction is initiated by touching the mobile device on the NFC embedded item or by placing the device within close proximity of the NFC embedded item.

6. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)/Beacon Technology: Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)/Beacon Technology is the use of low energy Bluetooth devices that broadcast an identifier to nearby mobile and electronic devices. The “transmission” range can be programmed to be as little as a few centimeters to as much as 10 meters between the iBeacon/Beacon and the receiving device.

7. Enhanced Augmented Reality (AR): “Enhanced” Augmented Reality (AR) provides robust features that allow consumer engagement experiences using the technology to relate directly to products and brands. “Enhanced” AR also includes video animation* and/or 2D3D interactive graphics playing in front of or over physical objects so they appear to be interacting with the physical object.

8. Video in Print: Video in Print (ViP) is video advertising that integrated into a printed piece that is featured in print catalogs and/or mailpieces. Simply linking to video content (ie. a YouTube video) is not adequate to meet the criteria for Video in Print. Links to video on streaming services like Netflix & Hulu does not qualify for the Live Streaming option of this promotion. ViP can be integrated into a printed piece in several ways including, but not limited to: a. Integrated video screen within a printed, mailable piece b. Integrated Video/Picture utilizing translucent paper c. Personalized Interactive Video d. Shoppable Video.

9. NEW–Integration with Digital Assistants: Integration with Digital Assistants is a grouping of technologies that allows the mailpiece to provide clear and specific instruction that enables the recipient to engage with digital assistants like chatbots or voice assistance (e.g., Alexa, Google Home, etc.). One of the challenges with new digital assistant tools is that the user needs to understand how to activate a command or use specific verbal or written prompts to engage with the capabilities or skills.

2019 Mobile Shopping Promotion
Promotion Period: August 1 – December 31, 2019
Registration Period: June 15 – December 31, 2019

Overview: This promotion is aimed at businesses and mailers offering products for sale, especially during the 2019 holiday shopping season. As mobile technology continues to change the landscape of consumer interaction, mail has the potential to serve as an invaluable conduit between the mobile platform and shopping experience. The 2019 Mobile Shopping Promotion encourages mailers to integrate mobile technology with direct mail to create a convenient method for consumers to do their online shopping. Using technology platforms such as Quick Response (QR) Codes, Snap Tags, Watermarks, and other advanced technologies to launch consumers into online shopping experiences is a great combination of the power of print solutions and web-based shopping portals. The 2019 Mobile Shopping Promotion will also continue to encourage the implementation of evolving QR code technology, including animated QR codes, Visual QR codes, Dotless QR codes, Voice QR codes, and aspects of the new visual design capabilities and data-based analytics now supporting QR technology. New barcode formats continue to multiply and can provide the basis for linking a physical mailpiece to a digital experience (ex., Twitter QR codes, Amazon Smile codes, Pinterest pin codes, Messenger codes, LinkedIn QR codes, Instagram nametags, etc.). The 2019 Mobile Shopping Promotion will continue to allow mailers to qualify via a Social Media purchasing component. This year mailers can also qualify with an App-enabled QR code payment. This can be either the mailer’s branded app or payment provided app, as long as the directional copy is clear.

Approval Process Summary:

The Program Office requires that ALL mailpieces be sent for review via email to mailingpromotions@usps.gov.

Mailpiece Content Requirements: Requirements Checklist

  • Mailpiece must contain print/mobile technology
  • Mailpiece must have a directional copy

 

Mobile Barcode/Mobile Print Technology: All qualifying mail must contain a mobile barcode or other equivalent mobile print technology that when scanned by mobile device leads to a complete mobile optimized website.

  • Mobile barcodes need to be a minimum of ¾ inch by ¾ inch and the placement must be with the marketing message. Please review section D. Restrictions on Barcode Placement to ensure requirements are met.

 

Qualifying mobile print technologies that take you to a mobile-optimized shopping website, include one of the following:

  • open-sourced barcodes (such as a QR Code or Datamatrix code),
  •  a proprietary barcode or tag (such as SnapTags or MS Tags),
  • an image embedded with a digital watermark, or
  • an intelligent print image recognition (including an augmented reality experience)

 

2019 Informed Delivery Promotion

Promotion Period: September 1 – November 30, 2019
Registration Period: July 15 – November 30, 2019

Overview: The USPS has created its own omnichannel tool for mail through the development of the Informed Delivery platform. In an effort to increase the adoption rate of Informed Delivery the USPS is offering a 2% discount off postage for mailings that incorporate Informed Delivery campaigns as a component of their mailings.

Process Approval Summary:
1) Complete an Informed Delivery campaign in Business Customer Gateway (BCG) or through Mail.dat for each hardcopy mailing associated with the ID promotion (All mailers with a BCG account can navigate to the Mailer Campaign Portal. To access the Portal, organizations must log in to the BCG by entering a valid username and password in the corresponding fields; the Portal can be found under the “Other Services” tab.)
2) SUBMIT A PDF OF THE ID MAILPIECE TO THE ID PROMOTION OFFICE. THE PDF MUST INCLUDE A CALL TO ACTION (RIDE ALONG) AND REPLACEMENT IMAGE (REPLACEMENT IMAGE IS A REQUIREMENT FOR FLATS AND OPTIONAL FOR LETTERS)
3) COMPLETE THE ID PROMOTION REGISTRATION ON THE BCG
4) Create the Postage Statement which includes the required ID Campaign identifier and Promotion Component Characteristics Record (CCR) file.
5) At the time of mailing, the informed delivery campaign must be in an active status in the Mailer Campaign Portal and an ID Promotion mailpiece must be provided to BMEU personnel.

 

The information provided in this newsletter is for informational purposes only, can become outdated after publication and is not for the purpose of providing legal advice. We recommend you check our blog for updates as new information becomes available and contact an attorney to obtain legal advice on USPS issues.