By Steve Monteith, manager of Transactions & Correspondence, USPS 
With the economy ticking back, marketers are looking for new, creative ways to reach consumers while increasing returns–and, they’re demanding more for their dollars.
In response, the U.S. Postal Service® is developing a variety of programs that would bolster our First-Class Mail® offering. We’re exploring opportunities that use the newest technology, like the Intelligent Mail® barcode, in combination with pricing incentives. And, we’re looking for delivery performance improvements.
Late last year, we rolled out the first-ever First-Class Mail Incentive Program (AKA Summer Sale), which provided a 20 percent rebate on certain presort pieces. This followed two incentive programs aimed at Standard Mail®. With each program, we’re able to build on what we’ve learned for future programs.
In fact, discussions with industry organizations and customers showed that marketers find value in transpromo mail (transactional mail that includes promotional or educational content), but struggle with extra costs to cover the added weight or a reply envelope. We are looking at ways to promote and encourage the use of transpromo mail and additional marketing inserts to add value to bills and statements in the First-Class Mail stream.
Another idea under consideration is a product priced between First-Class Mail and Standard Mail. Currently, a marketing mailer must choose between First-Class Mail and Standard Mail for their marketing or advertising campaigns. The intent is for a letter product that provides premium service with optional features, from which the mailer can select.
This all is just a glimpse at the marketing mail strategies we’re looking to implement. Our goal is to offer additional products, features, and benefits that will further enhance the value of marketing and advertising in the mail.
Many businesses want to use a variety of ways to communicate with consumers, as well as provide choices for consumers to communicate back. As part of a fully integrated campaign, First-Class Mail gives you a targetable, trackable, and measurable media channel. It also allows for personalization, detailed product information, and a wide range of formats. Plus, its reliability lets you time your mail campaigns with television, radio, and other media efforts to create multichannel impressions.
Mail remains a valuable way to reach customers, and a vital component of the messaging mix. And, I see the Postal Service™ playing a pivotal role in recognizing and supporting all the options.

—Source: Deliver® Magazine April 2010 issue ( Deliver Magazine is copyrighted by the USPS®. Steve Monteith is manager of Transactions & Correspondence at the USPS.