Marketers: Upgrade the Technology in Your Direct Mail, Have the USPS Pay for It. Seriously!

By Toby Reed

If you’ve been thinking about adding new technology to your direct mailers, now’s the perfect time: You can keep up with industry trends, and take advantage of the USPS® 2017 Emerging and Advanced Technology promotion to earn a 2% discount on your postage. That savings could be a huge win for your direct mail marketing budget. 

With this promotion, you can amplify direct mail results by incorporating technology into your mailings. It also gives your customers a chance to explore technologies that are included or embedded into paper and linked to a mobile phone or other device.

Here are some of the particulars of the program:

  • Like other USPS® Promotions, this one requires you to register. Open enrollment runs now through August 31st.
  • Your mailing must meet certain specifications to qualify for a 2% USPS® discount*.
  • The promotion is open to a wide range of mail classifications: First-Class Mail® presort & automation letters, cards & flats, USPS® Marketing Mail™ letters & flats and Nonprofit USPS® Marketing Mail™ letters & flats.
  • Approved technologies include Near Field Communication (NFC), Beacon technology, Video in Print (ViP), “Digital to Direct Mail”, Virtual Reality and “Enhanced” Augmented Reality.

Put Life into Your EnvelopeUSPS 2017 Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion

“Enhanced” Augmented Reality (AR), one of the approved technologies, is a cool way to put life into your mailpiece. “Enhanced” AR gives your audience the opportunity to engage with your brand through things like social sharing and product customization (check out the customizable Vespa “Enhanced” AR on the USPS Irresistible Mail site). The enhancements empower a creative, interactive mail experience with the recipient.

The result? Recipients are better connected. And that could lead to higher purchase tendencies - the world's largest furniture retailer used augmented reality in its virtual furniture app, and increased the likelihood of respondents to purchase a product by 86%1!

If an “Enhanced” AR mailpiece seems daunting, help is available. Companies such as Layar can help build the AR portion and your Tension representative is happy to consult on how to incorporate it into your custom mailpiece. As always, be sure to check full program requirements before beginning design. The USPS® gives all final approvals.

Important Changes for the USPS® 2017 Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion

  • This promotion features the addition of two new technology options:
    • Virtual Reality
    • “Digital to Direct Mail” (programmatic/retargeting technology)
  • All pieces must be pre-approved (vs. approving certain technologies on the piece, as has been done in the past).
  • Clarification between Live Streaming services that are qualified under Video in Print vs. Streaming services (e.g. Netflix or Hulu) that do not qualify for this promotion.
  • The 2017 promotion will not offer an A/B testing option.

Marketers, register for the USPS® 2017 Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion for your next mailing. It could be your opportunity to save and grow your sales.


1 – Accenture “2014 Augmented Reality Survey”.

*All approvals must come from the USPS®. The information presented here is for illustrative purposes only.


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