full-service intelligent mail

Getting Started with Full-Service Intelligent Mail

By Erin Moloney

The USPS® connects every household in America through its vast postal network; mail is the only way organizations can reach all potential customers in the U.S. And with the addition of the Full-Service Intelligent Mail® service, mailers can have full knowledge of when their mail is sent, transferred within the postal network and finally delivered. 

What is Full-Service Intelligent Mail?  

Full-Service Intelligent Mail is a USPS automation service option (i.e. barcoded mail that allows for more accurate deliveries and high-speed mail processing) that gives mailers visibility into the entire mailstream through the Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb).  

What are the Benefits of Full-Service Intelligent Mail? 

Full-Service Intelligent Mail can help mailers make friends in accounting, operations and marketing by offering ways to control costs, streamline processes and access real-time campaign information, respectively. 

  • Cost Savings – Mailers can receive the largest discounts available through Full-Service Intelligent Mail for First‐Class Mail® postcards, letters and flats and USPS Marketing Mail® letters and flats, Periodicals letters and flats, and Bound Printed Matter flats. There is also no annual permit fee required with a Full-Service mailing. 
  • Streamline Processes – Mailers can “mail anywhere” using a single mailing permit at multiple business mail entry locations. Also, Address Correction Service (ACS™) is available at no cost to further help streamline mailpiece delivery. 
  • Real-time Information – Mailers have a cost-free ability to track mailpieces throughout the mail stream through Informed Visibility®. Knowing when a mailpiece has been delivered can help trigger other marketing events during a campaign, such as a follow-up social media ad.  

I Want to Do a Full-Service Mailing. Where Do I Begin? intelligent mail barcode

In order to apply for a Full-Service mailing, you need a unique Intelligent Mail barcode. By unique, this means your IMb should be exclusive among the same class of mailings (e.g. First-Class Mail® or USPS Marketing Mail®) for 45 days across the following barcode fields: Barcode Identifier, Service Type ID, Mailer ID, Serial Number and Routing Code.  

In order to obtain a unique IMb, you need to: 

  1. Download and install an IMb encoder and font
  2. Apply for a Mailer Identifier (MID) - This is a six-digit or nine-digit number that is assigned to your account in the Business Customer Gateway (BCG). 
  3. Populate the barcode fields
  4. Create your IMb

Once a unique Intelligent Mail barcode has been secured, it will go through a USPS approval and testing process before it is ready for use (this can take up to a few weeks). 

Hint: The Intelligent Mail Small Business (IMsb) Tool can help mailers attain barcode uniqueness for mailings under 10,000 pieces or 250,000 volume annually.  

How Do I Manage Our Full-Service Intelligent Mail?  

In-house or Outsource 

How you manage your Full-Service Intelligent Mail will depend on resources, both staffing and budgetary. Some organizations invest in assets such as personnel, training, printers and software that enable them to manage Full-Service Intelligent mailings in-house. Others outsource some or all of their Full-Service Intelligent mailings to vendors such as presorters and software providers.  

Whether you want to send marketing messages or statement mail, Full-Service Intelligent Mail can lend your business or organization with cost savings and insights in a seamless experience for your customers and donors. Tension Sales experts are Certified Postal Partners and familiar with such USPS requirements – contact us to discuss how we can help! 

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for informational purposes only. All approvals must come from the USPS®.  

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