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To Commingle or not to Commingle, that is the question?

June 16, 2011

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By Elise Buck

As a full service mailshop we are always looking for ways to help our clients save money in their direct mail campaigns. One of the best ways we have found is through their postage savings, especially when combined with direct entry point and network distribution center or sectional center facility (NDC/SCF) drop shipping, where we partner with a commingling provider.

First, let’s answer a few basic questions, such as, what is commingled mail? Simple – it is what it sounds like: it’s taking your direct mail and sorting it with other company’s mail to qualify for postage discounts. This is great for small mailers who may otherwise not be able to take advantage of certain postage discounts.

Next, why commingle? Well to start with, most comminglers will offer you a guaranteed per piece price, inclusive of postage, freight and processing, so no surprise freight bill on the back end after your job has completed mailing. Even better is faster in-home delivery as a majority of your mail goes directly to the SCF bypassing many of the stops your mail takes when mailing direct entry point.

For example, a standard letter rate mailing at direct entry point, you can expect about a 16-18 day in home, for NDC/SCF Drop Ship you can expect about 13-15 days but with commingle your in-home delivery is typically 10-11days. This can all be proven with tracking your mail, which many of you (I hope!) are already probably doing!

Along with faster in-home delivery, you can potentially save on data processing/presort charges with your mail shop. It’s great for quantities less than 200M, when you are mailing nationwide and you don’t qualify for the Drop Ship Discounts. Commingling is also great for mailings when you have multiple panels or tests, with separate zip strings, within a single drop.

In the past, another hurdle for the commingler was the lack of the USPS 3602 Form (which was a consolidated postage statement), now used is the USPS 3607 Form, also known as the Mailing Transaction Receipt, which provides you with your counts. No need to be concerned because your commingler should always provide you with a customer counts report. And again, if you are tracking, you’ll see that your mail is getting delivered.

So how do you go about finding out if you should comingle? An expert from your data processing, mail shop or production services company provider should offer you a postal analysis of your data and provide you the savings up front, prior to presort, so that you can make the decision as to how you want your mail entered into the system.

Direct mail still generates more revenue than the other marketing channels, so understanding all the tools and resources available to you to do it in the most cost effective way is extremely important for a direct marketer. Commingling is just one of those ways to get mail delivered faster and more cost effectively.
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Elise Buck , Director of Marketing & Sales at The Mail Bag, Inc. has over 30 years of Direct Marketing experience primarily serving Nonprofit Organizations and the Agencies that serve them offering data processing/postal savings, printing, personalization and lettershop services. Newly located in Baltimore, MD. For more information, contact Elise at 410.565.5061

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