Guest Post by Mike Clum – Clum Creative
The USPS is pushing the direct mail industry to the future with a discount incentive for marketers who integrate video & multimedia into direct mail pieces. According to the USPS website, the promotion offers a 2% discount on eligible postage that integrate “NFC, video in print, beacon technology, augmented reality, or a digital to direct mail experience.” Currently no promotions have received final approval for 2018 through the USPS Board of Governors because of no presidential appointed chairman. This promotion was previously approved in 2017 and expected to be renewed in an upcoming April meeting.
Here are three direct mail methods that help you to take advantage of the promotion and to bring your direct mail efforts to the future:
1. Video Mailers (ViP)
Video mailers, or as the USPS calls them Video in Print (ViP), are the easiest and most consumer centric way to get your multimedia in front of your target market. For any company utilizing corporate video in their marketing efforts, ViP mailers put a video right in front the viewer.
There are many options to integrate ViP that the USPS allows for your incentive:
- A video screen integrated into a printed, mailer– a physical mailer that includes associated print graphics around a screen that can be auto-played and last up to 45 minutes in length.
- Streaming Video Tools/Platforms – technology that triggers the viewer to view a video on their mobile device. The mail piece should incorporate QR codes, AR, or NFC to take the recipient to the interactive video experience.
- Personalized Interactive Video (PIV) – an interactive video experience that allows the user to select different options and be guided through a personalized video experience.
- A video screen utilizing translucent paper.
2. NFC / Beacon Technology
The USPS also delivers incentives for mailers that deliver relevant content to the viewer through NFC, iBeacon, or Beacon technology. Beacon technology was developed by Apple and utilizes low energy Bluetooth signals to give mobiles apps the ability to listen from small physical beacons and trigger reactions. This technology integrated into direct mails pieces, enables you to distribute highly targeted content to the end user. NFC or near field communications is similar except that it uses radio waves from the device to activate a tag and to transfer information.
Of course the user must opt-in to the messaging, the USPS will be happy if you integrate NFC or Beacon to your mailer and will offer the 2% off when you do.
Examples of NFC / Beacon technology uses:
- Personalized triggered messages
- Discount Coupons
- Updates to mobile devices
- Payment processing
3. Enhanced Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality has been utilized in direct mail for years to some extent, but the USPS is rolling out incentives for use what they call “Enhanced” Augmented Reality. Incentives for Enhanced AR include AR that uses video animation and/or 2D-3D graphics that interact with the physical mail piece as a mobile device is hovering over it. Static or pop-up displays that do not engage the recipient are not included in the promotion.
USPS promotion requirements: Enhanced AR must be interactive and must include two or more of the following elements:
- Interplay between the physical mail piece and the digital that actively uses the person’s perspective.
- 2D/3D elements or modules
In the end you should treat this incentive not just as a cost savings, but as a progressive prompt from USPS that your direct mail needs to evolve with time. The days of simple QR codes and landing pages being an advanced methodology for driving business are numbered and the direct mail industry will need to adapt with technology as millenials and Gen Z age. So integrate any of these technologies into your mailing campaign and save some dough in 2018!