On August 29, 2021, the USPS implemented new postage rates as part of it’s “Delivering for America” plan (you have to love the names of our Government programs these days).  The USPS 10-year plan includes “Judicious price increases paired with investment in our network will allow us to provide the predictable, reliable service that the American people expect and deserve and ensure the financial sustainability of the Postal Service.”

In reviewing the August changes, there are adjustments in rates, mail piece dimensions, and service schedules that all must be considered to maximize marketing dollars spent on direct mail programs.  Here are two strategic areas to consider:

  1. First Class Mail May Take Longer: First class mail that enters the mail over 930 miles from it’s destination will take longer.  Currently, all mail within the contiguous US requires a 3 day delivery.  Under the new guidelines, first class mail traveling from 930 to 1,907 miles will be delivered in 4 days and mail traveling over 1,908 miles will be delivered in 5 days.  For time-sensitive marketing, this means it will be necessary to find print/lettershop partners with a distributed network, or use multiple print/lettershop vendors in different regions across the country.
  • Change in Postcard Mail Piece Dimensions: While postcard rates are increasing 10% from $.36 to $.40, the maximum size for First-Class Mail postcards has been increased to 6”x9” from 4.25” x 6”.  This means more real estate for you messaging and creative artwork for First-Class Mail.  In addition, there will be more room for QR codes, activation codes and other mail-tracking methods.

Finally, there are some additional automation discounts included in the latest postal rates.  To get the most out of your mail, if your lettershop has the ability to create automation-compatible mail including barcoding, can commingle the mail (combine multiple clients into large batches) and has a distributed network in at least 3 regions of the country (Eastern, Midwest and Western United States), you will be ahead of the game.