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TSI: Direct Mail’s Impact on Reduced Postage

For those who are unaware, January 21 saw incremental increases in postal rates for direct mail like letters, domestic postcards and more, including a 2-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp from 66 cents to 68 cents. This is the sixth such increase in three years. These hikes raised mailing services prices approximately 2 percent, which greatly impacts marketing budgets and strategy. If the possibility of print is in your plans, then you should know—relief is available in the form of a discount.

Direct Mail can Support your Budget…


Cougar® Paper Trails

The USPS established their Promotions and Incentives Program in 2016 with the goal of alleviating the costs of print for invested marketers. Eight years later, the annual promos and incentives are still going, starting with the Tactile Sensory & Interactive Mail Piece promotion (TSI).

This initial incentive encourages mailers to enhance customer engagement through innovations in paper and stock, substrates, inks, interactive elements, and finishing techniques. This can include techniques like embossing (pictured below), which is both a visual and tactile way of dressing up a piece and gaining your audience’s attention.


“Fancy printing” or Finishing Techniques, like the foil stamp above, are easy ways to leave a real impression

In today’s highly competitive marketing landscape, simply getting your message in front of someone isn’t enough—you have to engage your customers’ senses to leave a lasting impression. Embossing, foils and special inks all carry the potential to make your printed piece unique by employing your audience’s sense of touch and sight, with the added benefit of eligibility for a USPS discount.

“Fancy printing” has been hailed as one of the biggest graphic design trends of the year, but your ability to capitalize goes beyond what’s fashionable—data tells us that direct mail still moves the needle.


…While the Data Supports Direct Mail

Emails have lost a bit of their efficacy over the years while direct mail’s impact has held steady. Its personal and tactile nature directly addresses many of the shortcomings of contemporary advertising by integrating smoothly into omnichannel campaigns and providing a physical anchor for your message.


statistic id

Source: Statista Trails

We know that audiences desire intentional, real messaging. According to a 2023 study conducted by Edelman, approximately 76% of consumers across all age groups cite a lack of relevance as the main reason they failed to engage with a brand. Among the same base, 56% also attributed the failure of an ad to a perceived lack of authenticity.

Fortunately, the components behind direct mail’s effectiveness are clear:

  1. When done right, it’s personal, tailored specifically to each consumer
  2. It’s tangible, using haptics to create a lasting impression
  3. It cuts through the clutter of the inbox

What you should know: Registration for the TSI incentive is available now, with the program running from Feb 1, 2024 – July 31, 2024. Eligible mail includes: First-Class Mail® letters, cards, and flats; USPS Marketing Mail™ letters and flats; Nonprofit USPS Marketing Mail™ letters and flats. To learn more about the Mailing Promotions, read our overview or visit the Guide page here.

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