Proposed postal rates for 2007 likely to change the shape of direct mail

The latest set of proposed changes to postal rates has been described as a revolution by direct mail industry experts.

Rates would increase by an average of 8.5 percent across the board, with the new rates taking into account both the shape and weight of a mail piece. In spite of the overall rate hikes, the new system offers attractive discounts for mail that has been extensively prepared (via pre-sorting and drop-off at particular USPS facilities). Some heavier pieces would become less expensive to ship, while pieces requiring the USPS to do hand processing would become significantly more expensive. (A summary of proposed changes for standard mail, including comparisons of current and proposed rates, is available here.)

Direct mail marketers are expected to respond to the new shape/weight system by re-configuring their pieces, according to this DMNews article. For instance, a traditional flat will become less expensive to send if it’s folded and sent as a letter-size mailer.

The rate changes, recommended by the Postal Regulatory Commission Feb. 26, are now before the Postal Service Board of Governors. If the board approves the rate case, changes could go into effect as early as late spring.

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