Direct Mail, Document Design, How-to Guides, Postage and Mailing

What is USPS Dimensional Mail and How Can you Benefit?

FSSI logo Kelly McConville on June 24, 2015

3 dimensional direct mail examples.

USPS 3D Mail Innovations: Direct Mail

Dimensional mailers are not flat like other traditional mail pieces. Dimensional mail shapes include tubes, boxes, spheres, and other unique formats. This type of mail has much higher response rates compared to traditional mailing. Taking advantage of the creative use of non-traditional designs and materials, that 3D mail can offer, will ignite your customers’ curiosity and creativity more than a QR code or webkey ever could.

Types of Dimensional Mail

  • 3D Mail
  • Popup Direct Mail
  • Customized MarketMail aka. Shaped Mail
  • Smart Mailers

3D Mail

Any company with a creative team or ad agency (and a decent DM budget) is familiar with three-dimensional mailers. Marketers love creating them and take great pride in making pieces as fun, engaging and interactive as possible. And if higher recall and response rates are any indication, 3D mailers can be a big hit with consumers.

Despite being more production-intensive than other mail types, dimensional mail is often fairly lightweight and can be affordable to ship in larger quantities.

Popup Direct Mailers and Smart Mailers

When removed from their envelopes, dimensional mailers unfold, pop or pull easily into a cleverly interactive freestanding piece. According to research firm CRMTrends, response rates for popup direct mailers beat those of conventional flat pieces by as much as 40 percent. Smart marketers have added QR codes and NFC (near field communications) to 3D mail to help push reader engagement even higher.

Customized MarketMail (aka ‘Shaped’ Mail)

What makes this category special are its unique physical characteristics, including unconventional shapes, sizes, and materials. Marketing teams often prefer Shaped mail because it allows them to convey branding and messages in fresh and unexpected ways.

For added effect (and easy tracking), perforated reply cards and coupons may be attached to or within a Customized MarketMail piece.  The medium also accommodates QR codes, augmented reality and NFC. Pieces may be made of virtually any material, as long as they fit USPS size requirements.

Are 3D Mailers Worth it?

According to a USPS OIG study, some companies saw success with USPS Customized MarketMail, but that was usually associated with a much higher price. One company doubled its inbound call activity after issuing a colorful plastic Shaped mailer, while another reported a ten-percent bump in redemptions after running its card-stock-based campaign.

However, one Customized MarketMail company cited in the study estimates that costs for its pieces can be double or quadruple those of traditional direct mail campaigns. Bottom line: if your budget can bear them, the ROI of 3D and Customized MarketMail may be worth the investment.

If you are looking for more creative direct marketing strategies, FSSI has an entire in-house marketing services team, including designers, writers, digital color experts, and project managers, standing by and ready to lend support to your next dimensional mail project, retention or awareness-building campaign. Just shoot us an email at info@fssi-ca.com or give us a call at 714.436.3300 and tell us how we can help.


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