Proposed USPS Rule Limits Promotional Products Usage In Marketing Mail

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding new mailing limitations for marketing mail. The proposed change would limit USPS Marketing Mail to content that is paper-based or printed matter. Under the new rule, no products of any type would be allowed regardless of the item’s value.

If approved, this new rule would eliminate magnets, buttons and a variety of other items that are often included in marketing mailers. Any object that is not eligible to be sent as a letter size or flat size piece would not qualify for mailing via USPS Marketing Mail and would be required to be sent using another method such as Parcel Select or Priority Mail. A wide variety of organizations, including private businesses and nonprofits, could be harmed by this proposed limitation to the USPS mailing standards.

The proposed rules have been published in the Federal Register and the public is invited to submit comments by October 22. Comments may be sent to the Manager, Product Classification, U.S. Postal Service at 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 4446, Washington, D.C. 20260-5015, or emailed to ProductClassification@usps.gov using the subject line “USPS Marketing Mail Content Eligibility.” PPAI has also created an action alert to assist industry members in contacting their representatives to protect the current USPS marketing mail standard

filed under September 2018
Comments (5)
Isa Cocallas (1)
September 7, 2018
Warning - likely an unpopular take on this! ...On further reflection, I have to say that I don't entirely fault USPS for needing to either raise rates or more narrowly define what any discounts cover. USPS has been running in the red for a long time. None of us could have done so with our own businesses, nor would we consider that a client should have the say-so that we take a loss on the services and products we provide to them. The USPS is obviously funded by everyone's tax dollars, and is it fair to have everyone pay for the the losses incurred by the USPS while the benefit is just for those who send marketing mail? Sure, in the ideal all the healthy and thriving businesses collectively create a thriving market and nation. But it is probably best that every business pay the true cost of doing business, and not expect that it would be subsidized with national dollars. Therefore while this might be an impact to the promotional industry, it might still be "fair".
Jeffrey Becker
September 6, 2018
While it may not impact many of us, anything that diminishes the use of promotional products due to USPS rules or government laws, is not likely to be a good thing.
Isa Cocallas
September 5, 2018
While this may not affect the marketing mail from distributors, it would have a great impact on our clients, and therefore on distributors as well. Clients who send out marketing mailers that include a lovely item purchased from a distributor would no longer have the benefit of the USPS-MM postage rates. As we know, when a client's budget is affected by one factor, it can mean a reduction in the scale or frequency of a campaign.
Chris Morrissey
September 5, 2018
Marketing Mail requires a minimum of 200 pieces or 50lbs of mail. I would venture to guess that over 90% of the mail that qualifies as Marketing Mail would be B2C Mailings and not likely to impact your average distributor. Maybe the Staples and 4imprints of the world because that is what they do. This appears to be much to do about nothing.
Rich Butler
September 5, 2018
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