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Beginner's Guide to Commingling

Written by Dana Fowler Internal Marketing Coordinator

What is Commingling?

Commingling is a process by which mailings from more than one company are combined to meet USPS discount minimums for quantity for mailings to targeted neighborhoods.

Commingling your mail may seem intimidating to any marketer who has never done it before. You’ve probably heard that commingling can save you money or help your direct marketing mail get out more efficiently. Maybe you’ve been hesitant to try it because you’re not sure how it really works. Here’s what you need to know!

What Can a Commingle Service Provider Do for You?

Commingling providers (like Midwest Direct) sort and deliver your mail to the destination post office(s) which saves the USPS a lot of work. In return, the post office charges a lower postage rate for your mail. Using our commingle services can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on your mail. This opens your budget up to send more mail or integrate additional channels into your campaigns; such as targeted display ads or Informed Delivery.

Commingling is Like Making a Cake  

Imagine your mail is a carton of eggs, and the all the mail pieces that will be mailed from Midwest Direct is like blended cake batter. Your data is the recipe  -- so we know how to mix your cake. We organize all the ingredients for all the mailers that day. When we commingle your mail with all the other mail it’s like mixing the ingredients to make the batter. The big upside is you and all the other mailers mixed into the batter save on postage.


How Do I Get Started?

Commingling involves several steps, but they’re easy and logical to adopt. It’s really this simple; contact us and we’ll walk you through what we need from you. You begin by sending us your mailing specifications (mail class, quantity, and in-home dates -- if applicable) and your samples. We’ll take it from there.

Note: All this goes smoothly if you connect with us first so we can give you the details upfront and confirm your mail will get where you need it to go when you want it to get there.

Data First

Start by sending us your mail.dat or IMb file. Be sure to include any other information our commingle experts have requested. We take this information and turn it into data our machines can read such as IMb codes or addresses. If you’re feeling a little anxious about this part, we’ve got good news for you. Data management for mailing is one of our core competencies. We can guide you and/or do your data processing for you. For some clients, this includes helping you solve complex problems within the IMb (even postprint).

Note: We may use One Pass production so it experiences fewer touches for less “wear and tear” before delivery.


Send Samples

Smart comminglers think about all the parts making up your piece before they run your mail, including the mail piece itself. Our production team appreciates seeing your piece ahead of time. If there’s a problem running it through the mail sorting equipment, we can troubleshoot it together before you ship three million pieces! (Or three thousand, whatever the case may be).

The production team typically adjusts the feeder settings on their mail sorters so your mail is processed as carefully – but rapidly – as possible. This includes running quality control on your data and testing your Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb).

Before you send us your mail piece you should also consider how your mail piece is designed, and if it is optimized for your audience, as well as our machines. Contact us anytime with questions about mail piece design. We can help you make sure your piece will qualify for the best rates.

Check Your Dates!

When we commingle, we’re responsible for ensuring all the mail will reach the destinations as agreed -- so, we run a tight ship and have a schedule of ours to keep. By definition, your mail will be mixed in with that of other mailers with deadlines of their own to keep. So, it’s helpful to contact us with questions or date adjustments, paying close attention to all drop dates and our pickup schedule -- so your mailings stay on time.

Ask For Help

Keep this simple fact in mind -- we’re here to help you with everything from mail piece design to lettershop services through mailing. We even help clients manage data, add digital services that integrate with your mailing and generate lift across mail/digital channels and track your response rates. All you need to do is ask. If you’re feeling stuck and don’t know where to start, contact us today. We’ll get you and your mail where it needs to go.


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