To continue receiving postal-automation discounts, all commercial mailers will have to implement the new Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb) on all outgoing and pre-paid reply mail by January 28th 2013. While this is reason enough to make the transition as soon as possible, Intelligent Mail barcodes also offer many advantages compared to the old first class and standard mail barcodes.
Intelligent Mail barcodes are a big change in the postal service, so the transition will be gradual. For one year following the January introduction you will be able to use IMb Basic – a simplified IMb setup that helps you integrate the changes into your mailing practise slowly – while receiving the postal-automation discount, before having to upgrade to IMb full-service in 2014. There is a learning curve to the new system, as well as infrastructure and personnel to integrate, so a gradual transition will give you the opportunity to fully understand the possibilities of the IMb and is recommended before diving into the full-service option.
If your business relies on direct mail, there is no need to fear the changes that the introduction of IMb brings – the system has been developed to streamline and clarify the mail tracking process, offering your business many advanced and specific tracking methods that can be applied to individual pieces of mail. Aptly named, Intelligent Mail barcodes take an intelligent approach to the most costly and frustrating aspect of direct mail marketing – namely, the real-time tracking of individual pieces of mail to and from your mailing address. This clearly can only have a positive effect on your bottom line, but let’s look at some of the main issues the IMb seeks to resolve or make easier:
Essentially, the IMb aims to remove the guessing and waiting that has been associated with direct mail in the past, thus reducing customer service costs and increasing your ability to plan ahead and strategize during your campaign. The lack of reliable individual tracking on regular commercial mail has always been a difficult issue for companies running direct mail campaigns, as it is very restrictive trying to run an optimal marketing campaign when your method of communication is relatively mysterious and challenging to track accurately. IMb aims to change that, and its implementation can only lead to improvements for your ROI and more customer satisfaction.
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