What you don’t know about commingling mail can cost you time and money!
The mail industry is complex, and navigating the USPS can seem intimidating - to the point of stopping a lot of marketers, mailers and other organizations from realizing significant postal savings. Demystifying commingled mail may help you decide if it’s a good option for your organization.
What’s commingled mail?
In a nutshell: Commingling mail is the automated sorting of multiple mailings into a single mail tray. This mixing of mail is done to satisfy USPS requirements for five-digit discount rates.
How it works: Mailers need to put a minimum of 150 pieces of mail, per ZIP code, in a mail tray. Commingling increases your chance for hitting the magic 150-piece number.
Example: Imagine there are three mailers, and each has 50 pieces for zip code 44102. Alone, they all qualify for a three-digit rate. But together, they all qualify for the lower five-digit rate.
When you commingle your mail with a five million piece mailing, your chances of qualification for five-digit rates skyrocket.
What commingling is not
Don’t confuse commingling with co-palletization: Co-palletizing mail is the process of manually building single destination postal skids. This will only impact destination entry discounts.
Some mailers are also under the impression that commingling adds time to a mailing, due to the coordination and extra steps. But commingled mail actually saves time: It’s consolidated and touched less (keeping the mail piece’s integrity, to boot), and also ships deeper into the USPS system from the outset.
There’s also a misconception that commingling mail means you will lose flexibility. That once your job is started, it can’t be undone - like mixing cake ingredients together in a bowl. This is not true for data-enhanced commingled mail. Smart use of customer data means mail pieces can actually be moved in and out of mailings - like pieces on a chessboard. You actually receive added flexibility, and a process for addressing any problems or concerns that arise after a mailing has begun.
The benefits of commingled mailings
The benefits of commingled mail are many: The USPS is anxious to reward you for doing a part of the work! The less they work, the more you save - through the highest possible automation discounts, deep penetration into the USPS system, and low postage expenses. Add to that reduced cycle times, and mail pieces arriving in better shape, and it's a clear win for all involved parties.
So don't let misconceptions about commingled mail turn you off to the process; be direct with your mail service provider, and ask pointed questions until you are satisfied.