Showing posts with label 2013 postal regulations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2013 postal regulations. Show all posts

Monday, October 7, 2013

Are you getting the best postage rates?



The best postage rates - Automation and Presort - for large volume mailings require certification that your mailing list has been matched against NCOA (National Change of Address) within 95 days of mailing.  If you do not have this certification, the only way you will still get the best postage rates is to have "Or Current Resident" below the person's name.

What is NCOA ?   When people move, they fill out (or should anyway) a Change of Address (COA) form for the Post Office so that their 1st Class mail gets forwarded to the new address. Your mailing list is matched against the Change of Address (COA) records that will indicate COA orders sent to the U.S. Postal Service by individuals, families, and businesses.   Luckily, most  lettershops run mailing lists through a NCOA process prior to mailing, but not all do - this is something you should verify with your lettershop.

Why does the Post Office require NCOA matching?  According to their statistics, 45 million people move every year.  No matter how often a mailing list is updated, there will always be a certain percentage of your mailing that reaches households where people have moved.  Plain and simple - delivering mail to addresses where people have moved costs the Post Office money.  And, ultimately, it costs you a lot of money as well - producing a mail piece, paying for printing and postage for something that might not ever be delivered if the person who is on the address label have moved.  Best case is that if mailed 1st class, the mail will be forwarded.  But, is it best for you to have mail forwarded to someone that may have moved to a whole new area?  Or is it best for your mail piece to get to the people who are currently living at the address. 

If you are mailing something that is subscription or member based, it would be best to have the mail follow the person who moved.  But, the majority of mailings are intended to reach a base of people living within a geographic area and even if the person whose name is on the mail piece moved, it would be better for the mail piece to stay at the address rather than being undelivered or forwarded.

 Should "Or Current Resident" be on your address label?

Won't putting "Or Current Resident" make my mailing look like junk mail?  The only real answer to this is to test it.  In my opinion however, if your offer or message is relevant to a specific geographic area, it will rarely matter unless it is something formal like an invitation.

The question you should be asking yourself is..... is it more important for my mail piece to be delivered to a specific address that is in my geographic area - or is it more important that the mail piece follow the person regardless of where they live.

You can read more about NCOA and Move Update requirements at:  USPS - Guide to Move Update

DBS can help you mail smarter -- call us to see how we can help.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Important - Required New Design Changes for Self Mailers

Design Changes Required for Self-Mailers in 2013

The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) published the final regulations for Folded Self-mailers (FSM's) and other unenveloped pieces in the December 1, 2011 Federal Register.

These final rules take effect on January 5, 2013, so Mailers need to make plans to use up remaining stock and to make design changes for affected mailpieces that will mail after the effective date.

 These new rules do not apply to cards, envelopes, booklet style letters or mailpieces designed to carry discs - only self-mailers.

The notice lays out other specific requirements:
  • Length: A minimum of 5 inches and a maximum of 10.5 inches.
  • Height: A minimum of 3.5 inches and a maximum of 6 inches and
    Maximum thickness of 1/4".
  • The final fold must be at the bottom
  • Rectangular within an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of 1.3 to 2.5, inclusive (see Domestic Mail Manual 601.1.4)
  • The paper basis weight for folded self-mailers is based on book-grade paper unless otherwise specified and varies depending on the total weight of the mail piece.
  •  Minimum of two tabs
  • Can not use perforated tabs.
After January 5, 2013, folded self-mailers that do not meet these requirements will be assessed postage as follows: First-Class Mail® and Standard Mail® customers will pay nonmachinable prices; Periodicals mailers will pay nonbarcoded prices.

Please visit the USPS website to see all of the new rules affecting self-mailers.

https://ribbs.usps.gov/fsm/documents/tech_guides/FSMWorkshopPresentation.pdf

DBS - Helping You Mail Smarter

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Intelligent Mail Barcode

Will you be ready?


One of the biggest change is that instead of just being an option, the USPS is making IMB (Intelligent Mail Barcode) a requirement in order to qualify for automation discounts.

Intelligent Mail Barcode replaces the barcodes that are currently used for processing high voume mail for automation discounts.  The final ruling was posted on the Federal Register website on May 3rd.


The Intelligent Mail barcode is used to sort and track letters, cards and flats and offers greater versatility by allowing many services to be requested and embedded within one barcode. 

This REQUIRED new change will impact ALL volume mailers that get automation postal discounts including:

      - First-Class Mail - letters and flats
      - Standard Mail (Bulk) - letters and flats
      - Periodicals - letters and flats
      - Bound Printed Matter - flats
      - Business Reply Mail

You should immediately start thinking about.............

-- Who prepares your mail - do you process in-house or is it outsourced to a mail service provider (also known as mail house, or lettershop).

-- Does your mail service provider plan to have the software installed and be fully compliant before January 28, 2013 to print IMB and will their capabilities include basic or full-service.

-- If your mail is processed in-house, steps should be taken now to get your mailer ID code and make sure software is installed and compliant prior to January 28, 2013.

-- Do you need to change providers based on capabilities?

-- Compliance with IMB could result in needing to make design changes that could include more white space for addressing and the barcode on business reply mail.

-- Has your database been cleansed and updated?  NCOA (National Change of Address) is required now for all automation discounts and is currently enforced (or in the alternative, add "or current resident" to the addressing).

Failure to comply with IMB will result in loss of automation discounts on your mail - result:  higher postage.

Diversified Business Services (DBS) is already working with our mail service providers to make sure your mail will be fully compliant before January 28, 2013.  Make sure your outsourced providers are aware of this new requirement and fully on board -- this includes printers, graphic designers, mail houses and letteershops, and database managers.

Go to the USPS site for more information on Intelligent Mail Barcoding:

Overview to Intelligent Mail Service: 
https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_guides/documents/tech_guides/OverviewIntelligentMailBasicService.pdf

Intelligent Mail Guides and Technical Specifications
https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=intellmailguides

Friday, May 4, 2012

Are You Getting The Best Postage Rates?


The best postage rates - Automation and Presort - for large volume mailings require certification that your mailing list has been matched against NCOA (National Change of Address) within 95 days of mailing.  If you do not have this certification, the only way you will still get the best postage rates is to have "Or Current Resident" below the person's name.

What is NCOA ?   When people move, they fill out (or should anyway) a Change of Address (COA) form for the Post Office so that their 1st Class mail gets forwarded to the new address. Your mailing list is matched against the Change of Address records sent to the U.S. Postal Service by individuals, families, and businesses.   Luckily, most  lettershops run mailing lists through a NCOA process prior to mailing, but not all do - this is something you should verify with your lettershop.

Why does the Post Office require NCOA matching?  According to their statistics, 45 million people move every year.  No matter how often a mailing list is updated, there will always be a certain percentage of your mailing that reaches households where people have moved.  Plain and simple - delivering mail to addresses where people have moved costs the Post Office money.  And, ultimately, it costs you a lot of money as well - producing a mail piece, paying for printing and postage for something that might not ever be delivered if the person who is on the address label have moved.  Best case is that if mailed 1st class, the mail will be forwarded, but not if mailed at standard (or bulk rate) rates.

Is it best for you to have mail forwarded to someone that may have moved to a whole new area?  Or is it best for your mail piece to get to the people who are currently living at the address. 

If you are mailing something that is subscription or member based, it would probably be best to have the mail follow the person who moved.  But, the majority of mailings are intended to reach a base of people living within a geographic area and even if the person whose name is on the mail piece moved, it would be better for the mail piece to stay at the address rather than being undelivered or forwarded.

Should "Or Current Resident" be on your address label?

Won't putting "Or Current Resident" make my mailing look like junk mail?  The only real answer to this is to test it.  In my opinion however, if your offer or message is relevant to a specific geographic area, it will rarely matter unless it is something formal like an invitation.  And, putting "Or Current Resident" will ensure that your mail piece will at least get delivered to that particular household address.

The question you should be asking yourself is..... is it more important for my mail piece to be delivered to a specific address that is in my geographic area - or is it more important that the mail piece follow the person regardless of where they live.

You can read more about NCOA and Move Update requirements at:  USPS - Guide to Move Update 

DBS can help you mail smarter 

Need your database matched against NCOA?  Let us know - we can help!

In addition to NCOA processing, DBS can also standardize your mailing list, parse fields, remove bad addresses, and deceased names.

Mailing Lists * Database Management * Direct Mail Projects