Intelligent Mail Barcode

Intelligent Mail Barcode

The Intelligent Mail Barcode is the next generation of USPS barcode technology used to sort and track letters.

Intelligent Mail barcode technology, among other things, combines the capabilities of the POSTNET barcode and the Planet Code barcode into one unique barcode.

Postmaster General John Potter announced that the US Postal Service will push back the date of implementation for the Intelligent Mail barcode.

In an advisory notice, Potter wrote that the decision to change the date was in response to public feedback. “Many of you told us that January 2009 was too soon,” he wrote. “We will propose a May 2009 implementation, concurrent with our next annual price change.”

IMB will be required in May 2011.

In 2009 the IMB was slated to replace Postnet and Postal alpha numeric encoding technique, or PLANET, bar codes on domestic mail.

This new bar code has been popularly promoted as a combination of the Postnet bar code and the PLANET bar code, able to route and track mail with a single bar code.

The IMB brings much more than a simple combination of codes. Using the IMB, mailers know if and when mail gets delivered. Mail that is redirected by the Postal Service is now easily identified. Mailers can request address changes service information in the bar code at a greatly reduced cost. Many aspects of the delivery tracking expectations that FedEx and UPS have created are now met by the Postal Service, but at a dramatically lower cost.

The IMB uses a bar code symbology that allows up to 31 digits of information in 65 bars of four different lengths and position. Compare this to the current Postnet bar code that contains 11 digits of data in 62 bars.

This new bar code does a lot more than track delivery times. Unlike current postal bar codes, the IMB is not simply a font. An encoder, a USPS computer program, is required to convert the numeric value to the new bar code. This adds some complexity to the process for mailing companies, and the mailing software vendors are currently looking to develop better solutions to work with the IMB.

As mailers adapt to this new technology, look for even more creative uses for the unique IMB bar code such as tracking mail within the plant or driving advanced production applications. Just as the Postnet bar code ushered in a new mailing era in the early '90s, you can expect the IMB to bring another level of intelligence, tracking and ACS into the mailing world.

Here is the official USPS Q&A for Intelligent Mail Barcode


Contact Postal Systems for your next project!

Direct Mail Marketing Most Popular

Direct Mail Marketing, the Most Popular form of Marketing

Direct Mail is still the most popular form of marketing even with the onset of internet social marketing.

While historically the lion's share of my past articles have revolved around new technologies and advertising in electronic media outlets, I would be remiss to forget the foundation of all successful marketing plans…which of course is direct mail marketing. That's right, as a traditional marketing medium, it still packs the biggest overall punch as far as reach and brand impression is concerned. The fact is direct mail marketing has maintained the number one seat in overall marketing plan spending since essentially the medium was invented.

Both the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Advertising Age ( have released their 2009 projections for marketing spends, and Direct Mail is still number one, even with a slight decline expected this year.

2009 Projects: U.S. Ad Spending Totals by Medium (Advertising Age, January 2009)

Rank Medium (National and Local) % CHG %TOTAL
1 Direct Mail -2.0 22.6
2 Broadcast TV -7.4 15.7
3 Newspaper -11.7 12.2
4 Cable TV networks 1.0 8.4
5 Radio -6.1 6.4
6 Yellow Pages -4.7 5.1
7 Consumer magazine -7.0 4.7
8 Internet 5.0 4.6
All other -3.0 20.4
TOTAL -4.5 100.0

Though interactive marketing is cool and shows successful gains in such tried and true mediums as email and search marketing, its far reaching penetration isn't quite there yet. And we have to acknowledge that it may never be. Interactive marketing is about niche marketing, and when it's taken up in that approach, it out produces all other forms of advertising hands down. But when you are dealing with a product or service that has a broad appeal or geographical service area, direct mail marketing is the most effective way to get your message and your brand to the masses. Why else would such megabrands as AT&T, McDonald's, American Express, and even Dell put most of their year's marketing spend into direct mail marketing?

And for you naysayers out there, the top ranking is not just because direct mail marketing is more expensive than other interactive marketing mediums. The fact is – a successful marketing plan is based on the premise that you divide your budget based on ROI (return on investment). Is direct mail more expensive? Of course. But remember, if you view marketing as an outright expense rather than an investment, you've got the wrong approach.

Just like any marketing effort, direct mail can be ineffective if done incorrectly. And because of your investment in this medium, it becomes even more important that you understand and address the key components of direct mail to ensure a successful outcome for your campaign. More often than not, it takes the expertise of a practiced direct mail company (such as Postal Systems Inc.) to get your message out to the right mailboxes. So do your research and don't go it alone. What's the larger lesson? Don't put all your dollars into Internet marketing (despite all the hoopla). Direct mail marketing – when done correctly – will pay dividends.

Postal Systems Inc. - Direct Mail Services
Contact Postal Systems Inc.

Direct Mail Quote

Direct Mail Marketing Service Quote

Get your Quote for Quality Direct Mail Service.

Postal Systems Inc. specializes in Direct Mail Services.
We provide maximum postage discounts, great customer service, and over 15 years experience.
Contact us today for a Free Quote on your next Direct Mail project!

Fill out the information below to get your quote on your next Direct Mail Project .

Once you have submitted information about your direct mail job you will receive your quote by email or if requested we can call you.

We promise to respond to your quote request promptly and offer free consultation on all direct mail projects large and small.

We are the premier direct mailer in California offering NCOA services, data processing, variable data printing, and we know exactly how to send mail to optimize your discount resulting in some of the most competitive pricing for the highest quality service available.

We offer completely customized service to all of our customers who we get to know on a first name basis unlike other direct mail service providers.

If you have a question, problem, or are just looking for some information on direct mail you can feel free to contact Postal Systems at any time.

Postal Systems ReDesign

As some of may know, and most of you probably won't,
Postal Systems Inc. has been around since 1994!

That's 15 years of Direct Mail Services!

Unfortunately while striving to provide the best customer service, quality workflow, newest equipment and best technologies available we left our website back in 1994.(Well, maybe not 1994 more like 1999 but still...)

Now you might ask: How did Postal Systems survive / get new customers without the help of the internet?

The answer is simple...
1.We provide the best mailing services possible.
2.Our customers love us.
3.Those customers come back and also refer new customers to us.

Now over the past 15 years that has been working great for us, but 2009 is a new year!

For starters Postal Systems now has this blog.

We also now have a twitter page: PostalSystems on Twitter

The next big announcement is we are redesigning our website!
Our site is currently being done up with some
valid html, css, javascript (mootools) and all the ajax functionality your heart desires! Plus we are moving to a new server for blazing fast page views.

The new should be up within the end of Feb 09,
but here is a special sneek peek.

Here's the design so far, let me know what you think!