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February 4th, 2019

Engaging donors and members to support your cause takes hard work, analytic skills, and a good dose of creativity. As a special bonus, the U.S. Postal Service will pay you to be extra creative between February 1 through August 31.

The USPS calls it the Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement Promotion but MarkeTeam knows it as: It Pays to be Creative! 

Rather than a standard letter, envelope and reply device, use your imagination to give your mailpiece a special look or feel. Try soft touch ink for a tactile feel … select grooved stock for your outer envelope … consider foil stamping with a diffraction pattern or blind embossing … or come up with your own ways to add texture to your mailing piece (sandpaper or paper with embedded seeds anyone?). 

One much-overlooked approach is the use of scents—an easily added item to printing ink that can add the scent of chocolate to a Valentine mailing … lift a Christmas promotion with pine or peppermint aroma … or add a trace of a home-cooked turkey dinner to a Thanksgiving offer.

Rather than a standard letter, envelope and reply device, use your imagination to give your mailpiece a special look or feel.

Interactive devices also qualify (see our blog: Busy hands are a fundraiser’s friend) but only if they are on the outer envelope, like a lenticular image of a before-and-after photo. Note that items that are inside your mailing won’t qualify for the USPS discount, but still help lift response such as stickers on the outer envelope or showing through the window … embossed membership cards and decals … or a variety of inserts that the recipient can use for response. 

Being creative by adding interactive and sensory additions to direct mail typically raise response … and if they qualify, the USPS will discount the postage for every outbound piece by 2%—it’s like getting paid twice for being extra creative!

But hurry—registration for this special USPS promotion already started December 15, 2018, with the promotional period running from February 1, 2019 through August 31, 2019. Your mailpiece must be approved in advance for the discount from the USPS (check with your lettershop for the procedures), with the submission of a physical mock-up of your proposed unit.

One key tip: if you’ve tried interactive devices or tactile enhancements in the past and they worked, this is the time to roll them out to a wider audience. Have fun!

By Jon Cohen | Director of Production