A US Postal Service update to its periodical content rules last July gave marketers a new route to send creative print materials at a discount. The new rule allows advertisers to mail supplements and certain other materials at a periodical rate, so long as they mail them with a host publication. They can also take advantage of updated technologies to include things like video chips within magazine pages. This means an advertiser can send such materials with a magazine rather than at the higher direct mail cost.
The Postal Service changed the rule’s language from “fasten” to “non-paper” so that non-paper materials, in addition to fastening materials, would be accepted at the Periodicals rate.
Some important stipulations to note: Materials cannot include the word catalog on the cover; CD and DVDs still require ride-along rates. A ruling on USB drives remains in limbo, so the USPS recommends that publishers go through the organization’s pricing center to get the OK.
Magazine publishers including Condé Nast, Time Inc. and Hearst asked the USPS to make this change. Haymarket Media, which publishes Direct Marketing News, recently made use of the new rule for an advertiser in sister publication SC Magazine. It added the words “A supplement to…” on a 60-page advertiser supplement, which polybagged with the magazine’s regular issue.
Instead of mailing at the Standard Mail enclosure rate, the advertiser enjoyed the Periodicals rate, explains Louise Morrin, EVP of production and manufacturing at Haymarket. “We had to be careful to calculate that the combination of the host magazine and the supplement did not exceed 75% advertising,” she adds.