USPS to Change Ride-Along Rules
Online marketing has been the buzz for many years now. Websites, webinars, whitepapers, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn. I could go on. And at MWJ, we embrace the web and all that it offers for information gathering, networking and lead generation. It’s a vital component of any integrated marketing program.
However, some recent and upcoming innovative/creative ad campaigns placed by our clients show that there are certain advantages that print provides that cannot be replicated online. You probably noticed the Product Selection Guides from Hittite Microwave and Triquint Semiconductor that were polybagged with our April and May issues respectively. These companies delivered their detailed product data to our highly targeted audience for less money than it would have cost to mail the piece themselves. Or the M/A COM Technology Solutions’ poster that ran as an insert in our April show issue, celebrating the company’s 60th anniversary. We printed overruns for distribution at their IMS booth. We did the same for the Hittite and Triquint pieces. In our July issue, you’ll see an insert from Lark Engineering and one promoting the upcoming European Microwave Week event. Our August issues will host several inserts, including a truly innovative piece from one of our clients. I won’t ruin the surprise with details. I expect another very innovative piece to be included with our September issue. My point is that print remains a powerful vehicle for delivering product and marketing collateral to a qualified audience, and more and more companies seem to be recognizing its value.
For many years, the Postal Service has charged a “ride-along” rate to anything that was polybagged with a magazine. This was implemented by the USPS as a way to prevent Periodicals from being used to cannibalize other, more profitable classes of mail. But the high price and the limit of one ride-along per publication have blocked many high-impact advertising ideas. However, the USPS has recently decided to liberalize the ride-along rules and the new regulations could reduce the postal cost of many of these “novelty” advertising pieces by 90% or more. Many items now subject to ride-along charges will instead be treated like regular advertising pages in magazines. This is great news for magazine publishers and their clients, as a proven marketing option will soon become much more cost effective. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the July, August and September pieces in MWJ and I’ll keep you posted on when the new rates go into effect.