Good News for Mailers from USPS

Pat McGrew
Apr 9, 2019

US Mailers have been waiting for the USPS to release its findings from a request for feedback initiated last summer, and the answer has now arrived. The USPS will not be making changes to the Marketing Mail category. This is good news for mailers because the USPS was considering changes in the standards for Marketing Mail letters and flat that would limit the definition of Marketing Mail to paper-based, non-merchandise content. By definition, flats processed by the USPS can be no thinner than a quarter of an inch and no thicker than three-quarters of an inch, with dimensions between 6 1/8 and 12 inches in height and 11 ½ and 15 inches in length. Length is parallel to the address.

Figure 1: USPS Flats Measurements

USPS Flats Measurements

Image Source: USPS

The goal for the USPS was to normalize the types of packages to expand their capacity for handling processing and last mile delivery of a wide variety of packages but moving many of the commercial packages they handle out of the Marketing Mail category. The premise of the change was challenged by a number of associations. The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers claimed that the USPS did not have the authority to regulate what nonprofits and fundraisers can put into envelopes. Organizations like the Advertising Specialty Institute pointed out that typical direct mail marketing items like pens, buttons and magnets would be banished from Marketing Mail as a result, creating significant cost impacts as mailers were pushed to other delivery avenues.

After receiving nearly 4700 comments on the Advanced Federal Register Notice (AFRN) from mailers, mailing associations, publishers, concerned citizens and elected officials, the USPS has decided not to add additional restrictions, but the story does not end here.

The Postal Service does plan to focus on identifying and addressing non-machinable mail as a path to increasing automation. They also plan to look at fulfillment mailings to limit some types of merchandise currently allowed in Marketing Mail envelopes. But, no changes will happen near term.

Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends monitors the mailing industry as part of the Customer Communication Service, which looks at both Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer essential communication delivered in print, via mobile apps, and using email.

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