Monthly Archives: July 2008

PUSHING THE NEW “ENVELOPE”

Have you ever had an application where you needed to insert multiple personalized, targeted documents into an envelope? These types of applications are normally used in a “fulfillment” environment.

 

Let’s suppose, for a moment, that your application entailed responding to requests

from potential tourists about what types of activities exist in and around the Orlando area.  

Inquiry number 1 needed to know about area golf courses and any golfing discounts that can be taken advantage of. Inquiry number 2 was interested in theme parks and Inquiry number 3 needed to know about area fishing charters.

 

Traditionally, these three inquiries would be fulfilled by pulling pre-printed brochures and coupons relative to their area of interest , inserting them into an envelope, addressing the envelope and mailing it back to the potential visitor. Along with the brochures and coupons, you would also want to insert some type of personalized letter thanking them for their inquiry along with a strong appeal to entice them to come and stay here in Orlando.

 

Ok, so, inquiry number 1 gets a personalized letter, 6 brochures (1 for each golf course in the area), some greens fees coupons from a couple of the courses, a couple of discount coupons for motels and resorts that are near the courses, and maybe a coupon for golf equipment from one of the equipment manufacturers all inserted into an envelope.

 

Inquiry number 2 gets a personalized letter, along with brochures and coupons relative to theme parks, while, inquiry number 3’s package would be relative to area fishing charters, professional fishing guides, discount coupons from bait and tackle shops, and so on.

 

Along with the tedious work of hand-inserting all the correct individual pre-printed brochures and coupons, one also has to keep up with the on-hand quantity of each brochure and coupon you have left in inventory so you know when to reorder the printed material.

 

The new “envelope” streamlines, simplifies, and automates the entire process by printing an on-demand facsimile of each of those brochures, personalized letters and coupons all in one pass and then binding them into a “booklet” that is then wafer-sealed and mailed immediately. No inventory to keep up with, no hand intervention, and no possibility of inserting the wrong information into the wrong envelope.

 

The inquiring tourist perceives a higher value by receiving a professional looking, fully personalized, and fully targeted booklet containing all the exact information requested.

It’s also less expensive, overall, to produce these “new envelopes”.  Since all the pieces are printed “on-demand” from blank paper, you have no money tied up in inventory. You don’t pay for for warehouse storage and also don’t waste money by throwing away and re-printing existing inventory due to current changes that render the original brochures or coupons obsolete (new theme park rides, changes in rates, etc).

 

These printed-on-demand, digital, variable image, variable data booklets are being used more and more each day for everything from insurance enrollment kits, 401-k investment fund reports, stock and investment portfolios, to travel itineraries and resort reservation confirmations. It’s the wave of the future, the “New Envelope” and, it’s available right now at Fulfillment Partners – Millennium Marketing Group! Call today for more information.

Post Cards… and Letters… and Flats, Oh My!

Whether you are mailing First Class or Standard (bulk advertising) mail, the US Postal Service assesses postage rates, in part, by the “processing category” of your mail piece.

 

Knowing what category your mail piece will be placed, is extremely important when designing your mail piece. We see instances all the time where, a very slight change in the height or width of your mail piece (usually 1/8th of an inch or less) would result in postage savings of as much as 10 to 15 cents each! Also, each of the different processing categories have different postal regulations as to eligibility for special bar coded postage discounts and preparation requirements. So, here’s the scoop on how the post office will assign a processing category to your mail.

 

When you read the word “post card” in the DMM (Domestic Mail Manual), they are referring to the official definition of a USPS “postal card”. The rest of us think of a “post card” as a single sheet of card stock with color, text or pictures on the front and back of the card with an area to put the name and address of the person you are mailing to. In order to qualify for a presorted first class “post card” rate (as, there is no “post card” rate for standard mail), the size and dimensions of your mail piece must be at least 3 ½  inches high and 5 inches long, but not more than 4 ¼ inches high and 6 inches long.

 

Most of your standard mail (advertising mail) post cards will exceed those dimensions and will be categorized by the post office as a “letter” sized piece. For instance, if you design a large postcard that is 6 inches high and 11 inches long, it will be assessed a “letter-rate”.

 

A “letter” sized piece is defined by the post office as a mail piece that is at no more than 6 1/8 inches high and 11 ½ inches long. “Letter” sized rates are the most common for standard mail. If your piece is taller than 6 1/8 inches, your mail piece will be placed in a much more expensive postage category called “Flats”. So, be careful!. I can’t tell how many pieces we’ve seen come in at 6 ¼ inches high (1/8 of an inch too high). In most cases, the aesthetics of the piece would not be affected by shaving off that 1/8 of an inch. Especially if it saves you an extra 10 to 15 cents per piece in postage.

 

“Flats” are the more expensive postage rate and consists of any mail piece that is taller than 6 1/8 inches high or wider than 11 ½ inches long.

 

So now that you know the way that the Post Office will categorize your mail piece, you can use that information during your mail piece design stages to insure the best possible postage.