Promoting community papers

2019 Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion

2019 Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion
Promotion Period: March 1 – August 31, 2019

Registration Period: January 15 – August 31, 2019

DescriptionAs mobile and other print technologies evolve, mail has the potential to offer greater value by engaging customers in new and exciting ways. In order to ensure that Direct Mail continues to be a relevant part of the marketing mix, the Postal Service is offering another promotion encouraging customers to incorporate technologies such as “Enhanced” Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality, Near Field Communication (NFC), Video in Print (VIP) featuring Shoppable Video, Integration with Digital Assistants, and Addressable TV technology application in their direct mail campaigns.

Featured Resources

2019 Emerging and Advanced Tech Program Requirement


Connected TV and Over-the Top (OTT) Video Webinar


2019 Mobile Shopping Promotion

2019 Mobile Shopping Promotion
Promotion Period: August 1 – December 31, 2019

Registration Period: June 15 – December 31, 2019

DescriptionThis promotion is aimed at businesses and mailers offering products for sale, especially during the 2019 holiday shopping season. As mobile technology continues to change the landscape of consumer interaction, mail has the potential to serve as an invaluable conduit between the mobile platform and shopping experience.

The 2019 Mobile Shopping Promotion encourages mailers to integrate mobile technology with direct mail to create a convenient method for consumers to do their online shopping. Using technology platforms such as Quick Response (QR) Codes, Snap Tags, Watermarks, and other advanced technologies to launch consumers into online shopping experiences is a great combination of the power of print solutions and web-based shopping portals.

The 2019 Mobile Shopping Promotion will also continue to encourage the implementation of evolving QR code technology, including animated QR codes, Visual QR codes, Dotless QR codes, Voice QR codes, and aspects of the new visual design capabilities and data-based analytics now supporting QR technology. New barcode formats continue to multiply and can provide the basis for linking a physical mailpiece to a digital experience (ex., Twitter QR codes, Amazon Smile codes, Pinterest pin codes, Messenger codes, LinkedIn QR codes, Instagram nametags, etc.).

The 2019 Mobile Shopping Promotion will continue to allow mailers to qualify via a Social Media purchasing component. This year mailers can also qualify with an App-enabled QR code payment. This can be either the mailer’s branded app or payment provided an app, as long as the directional copy is clear.

 2019 Mobile Shopping Requirements


U.S. Postal Service Announces New Prices for 2019

Usps logo 2
WASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) today of price changes to take effect Jan. 27, 2019.
The proposed prices, approved by the Governors of the Postal Service, would raise Mailing Services product prices approximately 2.5 percent. Shipping Services price increases vary by product. For example, Priority Mail Express will increase 3.9 percent and Priority Mail will increase 5.9 percent. Although Mailing Services price increases are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Shipping Services prices are primarily adjusted according to market conditions. The Governors believe these new rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with needed revenue.
If favorably reviewed by the PRC, the new prices will include a 5-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, from 50 cents to 55 cents. The single-piece additional ounce price will be reduced to 15 cents, so a 2-ounce stamped letter, such as a typical wedding invitation, will cost less to mail, decreasing from 71 cents to 70 cents.
The proposed Mailing Services price changes include:
Letters (1 oz.)
Letters additional ounces
Letters (metered 1 oz.)
Outbound International Letters (1 oz.)
Domestic Postcards  Current
50 cents
21 cents
47 cents
35 centsProposed
55 cents
15 cents
50 cents
35 cents
The proposed domestic Priority Mail Retail Flat Rate price changes are:
Small Flat Rate Box
Medium Flat Rate Box
Large Flat Rate Box
APO/FPO Large Flat Rate Box
Regular Flat Rate Envelope
Legal Flat Rate Envelope
Padded Flat Rate Envelope Current
$7.25 Proposed
First-Class Package Service, a lightweight expedited offering used primarily by businesses for fulfillment purposes, will move to zone-based pricing to better align with the cost of service and improve value based on distance.
The Postal Service has some of the lowest letter mail postage rates in the industrialized world and also continues to offer a great value in shipping. Unlike some other shippers, the Postal Service does not add surcharges for fuel, residential delivery, or regular Saturday or holiday season delivery.
The PRC will review the prices before they are scheduled to take effect Jan. 27, 2019. The complete Postal Service price filings with the new prices for all products can be found on the PRC site under the Daily Listings section at (see listing for Oct. 10). For the Mailing Services filing see Docket No. R2019-1. For the Shipping Services filing see Docket No. CP2019-3. The price change tables are also available on the Postal Service website at
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.
Postal trucks

USPS 2019 Promotions

USPS 2019 Promotions

By Andrew Weed

As a leading manufacturer of envelopes and mailing components, Tension maintains a close working relationship with the USPS®, focusing on enhancing the value of mail. Tension Director of R&D Lon Robinson is actively involved with the USPS as Chairman of the Postal Affairs Committee for the Envelope Manufacturer’s Association (EMA) and a member of the USPS Postmaster General’s Mailer’s Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC). Through Lon’s involvement, we are pleased to report that USPS has finalized its 2019 promotional offerings.

What does this mean for you, the mailer? Next year, you can be incentivized for including certain features in your direct mail campaigns. There are also ways for mailers to double the discounts from the USPS.

Summary of the USPS 2019 Promotions
The promotions have specific schedules and program requirements. We’ll provide updates throughout the year on our blog and other marketing materials. Sign up for periodic updates and registration reminders from Tension here, and below you’ll see a summary of the six exciting promotions planned for 2019:

1. Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Promotion – This promotion encourages use of advanced print innovations in paper and stock, substrates, inks, interactive elements, and finishing techniques to drive customer engagement.
Tension has multiple offerings that can be used in several ways to take advantage of this promotion including our embossed envelopes.

2. Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion – Have you used technologies such as augmented reality, virtual or mixed reality, near field communication, Video in Print or multi-channel integration with Addressable TV or digital assistants on your mail? This promotion allows you to test innovative technologies.

3. Earned Value Promotion – This promotion rewards mailers when their customers put their Business Reply Mail (BRM), Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) and Share Mail envelopes and cards back into the mail. Note: The mail volumes for repeat participants will be based on 2018 mail volumes. Contact us to discuss this promotion in further detail.

4. Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion – This one encourages mailers to incorporate color messaging on your first-class bill and statement mail to generate response from your customers. You can add color to existing bill or statement mail,or design a whole new campaign. Contact us for more information—Tension has proven, creative strategies for including transpromotional messages on billing and statement mail.

5. Mobile Shopping Promotion – This promotion encourages mailers to feature integration with mobile technologies on their mailpieces for online shopping experiences during the holidays.

6. Informed Delivery Promotion – This is a brand-new promotion! It encourages mailers to adopt this new tool from the USPS as part of an integrated marketing campaign.


How the USPS Helps Business Mailers

How the USPS Helps Business Mailers

By Rob Hiersteiner

At the 2018 National Postal Forum (NPF), we watched Postmaster General Megan Brennan open with a captivating video that described the Postal Service as the most advanced, sophisticated and powerful network in the nation. The USPS® delivers to and connects every household in America.

How? USPS infrastructure. Driven by technology and big data, it lends mailers insights on all customers, from remote rural locations to populous inner cities. Their quality 500,000-person workforce also works to ensure customer experiences are top-notch, consulting with mailers on mailpiece design and supporting them at industry events.

Informed Visibility
By now, you've likely heard about Informed Delivery®, a way for mail recipients to digitally preview their daily mail. This service is not to be confused with the similarly named Informed Visibility® service for business mailers, which was a hot topic at the 2018 National Postal Forum. Informed Visibility is a reporting platform for mailers that provides real-time information about campaigns through the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb).
Gone are the days of waiting to capture customer information when an order has been placed. Informed Visibility lets marketers know when their mail has been accepted, processed, transported and delivered - usable business intelligence that can help them launch perfectly timed campaigns with online, broadcast, social and in-store components. These insights can also be transferred to other departments such as operations, who may use it to forecast inventory based on the relationships between mailpiece delivery dates, related website activity (e.g., clicks, visits and conversions) and actual sales orders.

Mailpiece Design Experts
Mailpiece Design Analysts (MDA) are specially trained postal employees who answer questions regarding mailpiece design and take the guesswork out of mail specifications. There’s even an MDA Support Center to help mailers design campaigns. MDAs also provide continuing education at industry events, such as local Postal Customer Councils (PCCs),where attendees can receive immediate feedback on their mailpiece questions.

Industry Associations
MDAs and other USPS representatives frequently present on mail and marketing best practices at industry get-togethers  such as PCCs, annual NPF shows, and American Marketing Association (AMA) and local chapter events. You’ll find them ready and eager to share their insights. The USPS also helped establish the Interactive Marketing Research Conference (IMRC), an initiative to share and promote research on the value of direct mail, and collaborates with marketers in various industries to showcase how mail has helped their business, and how it can boost other marketing channels.