Summer “Sale” for Catalog Mail?

The U.S. Postal Service apparently soon plans to announce a “summer sale” on postage for any increased standard mail volume for many standard mailers.

While the USPS has yet to make the plan public, the Direct Marketing Association issued a press release today giving the move a thumb’s up. “We are very pleased that USPS is taking advantage of the pricing flexibility that DMA worked so hard for in the passage of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act,” DMA president/CEO John Greco said in the release.

According to the DMA, mailers would be offered 20% to 30% discounts from June 15 to September 15 for mail volume over and above that mailer’s past mailing. How does USPS track the volume?

The Postal Service would establish a base mail volume for each mailer derived from its mailings from June 15 to Sept. 15, 2008, adjusted downward by the current mail trends for that mailer during the first two quarters of fiscal 2009. Any mail volume above that baseline would receive the “summer sale” price.

Since the Postal Service will be establishing a separate base line for each mailer and provide an appeal to each mailer to contest those calculations, most likely only the 4,000 largest Standard Mailers will be eligible this summer.

Don Landis, vice president of postal affairs for catalog printer Arandell Corp., says the proposal targets saturation mailers who can demonstrate that they have mailed at the saturation rate within the past two years.

A saturation mailing goes to 95% of all possible delivers within a carrier route or 90% of the residential deliveries within a carrier route, Landis says. These are usually “resident” type mailings or what the industry calls “ADVO” mailings, he says.

This proposal must receive approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission. The DMA will ask the USPS to establish a Standard Mail “sale” for summer 2010, so that mailers will have a year to plan.

Landis will be Tierney’s guest on MCM Radio Monday, April 13 at 1 p.m. EDT.