While most people probably wonder what those strange hash marks on their mail are, a lot of us make sure we understand every aspect of those markings because they are the lynchpin for how the USPS reduces costs through automation – and passes some of those savings along to companies that know how to take advantage of them.
The first USPS barcode was POSTNET™ in the early 1980s, followed by PLANET CODE and Basic IMb. All were incomplete solutions as they didn’t capture everything that was needed for full automation. The latest incarnation is Intelligent Mail Bar Codes (IMBC) which, thanks to some fancy math, does more and in less space than all of the other barcodes.
With the latest USPS announcement to discontinue the POSTNET™ barcode as of January 2013, and Basic IMb in January 2014, it won’t be long before IMBC becomes the only barcode on your mail.
But why, you may be wondering, should you take the step to move to Intelligent Mail Bar Codes?
Well, here are six reasons:
- A little while back the Direct Marketing Association released its 2012 Response Rate Report, which showed Direct Mail continues to be the cost-effective choice for getting a response. That’s better than phone calls, e-mail or Google AdWords.
- Your campaign costs become significantly cheaper if you place a barcode on your bulk mail. You get first class delivery time with fewer mistakes — and savings of up to nine cents less for each piece mailed!
- By combining everything the USPS needs in the smallest area possible, you get more space on the envelope for designing your mail campaigns. Let those creative juices flow!
- You can confirm delivery of your mail, which allows for improvements in campaign timing. For example, you can test process times for different versions of your mailings or take note of slow or speedy centers or territories.
- Tracking incoming responses, like remittances and response cards, improves your cash flow projection and supply chain management. As a result, your call center will be better prepared and follow-up mailings will become timelier.
- Put it all together, and you will see improvements in evaluating company-wide performance and service while your company becomes more responsive to the needs of your customers and to changing market conditions.
So with the January 2013 deadline quickly approaching, have you decided how you will incorporate IMBC to your mailings? Of course, if you would like our assistance, please feel free to call us for guidance or a helping hand.