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USPS "Mail Drives Mobile" Promotion for Holiday 2015

Written by: Donna Hanbery, Executive Director | Saturation Mailers Coalition

WASHINGTON  ̶  For the past several years, the Postal Service has offered a "holiday" mail promotion that rewarded participating mailers with an up-front, 2% discount on eligible mail pieces sent during the last few months of each year.

The 2015 Mail Drives Mobile Engagement Promotion offers a much longer program, with potential savings of 2% per mail piece for the last six months of the year.

Saturation Mailers Coalition and many of our members, had praised the Postal Service for offering promotions and incentives, but pointed out that the short time frames made it difficult to educate customers on the opportunities and for mailers to reap the rewards of a two-month promotion window. The promotions offered in 2015, which include promotions that are offered to First Class Mail and two promotions for Standard Mail, all have a longer program window.

The six-month program window is the good news. However, program requirements are considerably more complex and challenging than prior holiday mobile programs.

Mailers wanting full details on program requirements should go to the Postal Service RIBBS website and click through the 2015 incentive programs and the specific program requirements for the 2015 Mail Drives Mobile Engagement Promotion. There are nine pages of program requirements including links to technical specifications for claiming the discount, a link for questions to the program office, and a user guide for enrollment and program registration. This column presents an overview of the program description, and program parameters and requirements. This information is available from this link.

The Postal Service describes the program as providing business mailers, including Standard Mailer letters and flats and Nonprofit Standard Mail, with an up-front 2% discount on mail pieces that include a mobile barcode or print/mobile technology that can be read or scanned by a mobile device and which leads the recipient to a mobile-optimized shopping website with the ability to complete a financial transaction. The recipient must be able to purchase an advertised product from the website. The mail piece must contain text near the barcode or image that provides guidance to the consumer to scan the barcode or image and conveys information about the landing page. Although the overview states that the mobile site must allow the purchase of a "product," the full guide states, "in some instances the sale of services and charitable donations may qualify for the promotion discount provided a financial transaction can occur at some point during the scanning of the mail piece or a purchase is able to be completed."

To participate, mailers must pre-register. Registration has already begun and will continue until the program ends on December 31, 2015. The program awards mailers with an up-front 2% discount on the eligible postage. The discount must be claimed at the time of mailing.

There are detailed requirements on the piece, and corresponding website, to be eligible. The piece must contain a mobile barcode or other equivalent print/mobile technology that when scanned by a mobile device takes the consumer or reader to a mobile optimized website. If a mailer, or printer or production designer, is unsure if the design or technology meets promotion qualifications, the program office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it can review the piece.


In addition to the barcode or scannable technology, the mail piece must contain prominent text near the barcode or image that tells the consumer to scan the barcode or image and provides information about the landing page. Examples provided:

Scan here to shop on mobile website

Scan here to see our products

Scan here to purchase

The destination webpage must be deeply integrated with a check-out function. It must be possible for a new consumer or "guest" to complete a purchase using the mobile device.

The promotion requires the purchase of a "product" and defines a product as a "tangible and physical item that needs to be distributed or manufactured and can be shipped via a mailing or shipping product offered by the Postal Service. Although delivery by the Postal Service is not required, deliveries that could only be fulfilled, for example, by private carrier like a pizza delivery will not qualify."

In some fairly limited circumstances it appears that a sale of services or charitable donation could qualify. It appears, for example, that a charitable contribution might qualify if the donation was completely transacted with an online payment and the participating charity mailed the donor a hardcopy certificate, or thank you note, using the US Postal Service. A Fisher House four-color ad is available that has received USPS approval for use in some member publications already at this link. A B&W version of the same ad is available here and you can also find a sample copy of what the donor is mailed from Fisher House here.


In additional to the detailed requirements about the barcode, the site, and transaction requirements, the program has these additional requirements:

Mailing submission requirements: Mailings must be submitted electronically via mail.dat, mail.xml, or Postal Wizard. Mailings submitted via Postal Wizard cannot exceed 999 pieces.

Mailings that are not prepared and entered by the mail owner must provide additional information. Participating mailers are required to affirmatively claim the promotion in the incentive claims section on electronic postage statement submissions. The claimant must certify that each mail piece meets all eligibility requirements.

There are restrictions on where the barcode can be placed. It cannot be placed on a detached address label (DAL). It cannot be place in areas that are near the address or any required barcode area.

At the time of mailing, the mailer must provide a hardcopy, unaddressed sample of the mail piece showing the placement of the mobile barcode, image or tag, and directional copy to the acceptance port.

Participating mailers must agree to participate in a survey and retain an electronic or hardcopy sample of the mail piece until February 29, 2016. If requested by the Postal Service, the mailer must be prepared to forward the sample to the program office for promotions.

Qualifying for the 2015 mobile program is not a "piece of cake." But with the opportunity for six months' of savings of 2% on every piece you mail, the rewards can certainly be significant.


A special "thanks" to Donna Hanbery, Executive Director of Saturation Mailers Coalition for providing the above information for our members.


Questions? Contact: Donna E. Hanbery, Executive Director | Saturation Mailers Coalition

33 South Sixth Street, Suite 4160, Minneapolis, MN 55402

(612) 340-9350 Direct Line

(612) 340-9446 Fax

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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