May 14, 2007 will be the big day. New USPS postage rates will go into effect that day, and everyone in marketing will feel the impact. So far, the new rates will affect all classes of mail, but the USPS Board of Governors is still wrangling over some specifics.
What we do know is that First Class, Standard, Flats and Letters will be affected, with rate increases from 4% to 30% or more. Marketers need to be keenly aware of the new rates when designing new direct mail campaigns in order to take advantage of the lowest possible postage rates.
More direct mail will be designed to qualify as a letter — minimum height 3.5 inches, maximum height 6.125 inches; minimum length 5 inches, maximum length 11.5 inches; maximum thickness 0.25 inches. Mailers should be kept in a rectangular shape, as well. Square mailers, or mailers with unusual curves or angles will quality as Flats or Parcels, with higher postage rates and potential surcharges.
Any mailer over 3.5 ounces in weight will qualify as a Flat (maximum weight 13 ounces). New dimensions for Flats will be minimum 4 x 4 inches, maximum 12 x 5 inches, maximum thickness 0.75 inches.
Non-profit postage will increase in line with Standard Class rate increases.
A good way to keep your mailings at the lowest possible rate is to focus on data hygiene by utilizing all the data tools available, including National Change of Address processing. The USPS is focusing more and more on automated mail processing, and anything you can do to minimize or eliminate the need for manual processing of your mailings will keep your rates lower.
Of course, there are many more details to cover, but the bottom line is that marketers need to make themselves acutely aware of the new rates and how to design direct mail to take best advantage. All businesses will need to prepare from a budgetary standpoint for the new postage rates.
Check out www.usps.com/ratecase for the most up-to-date information straight from the USPS, as well as further details on all of the rate increases.
Johnson Direct LLC