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USPS Informed Delivery - Part III: Managing Informed Delivery Through the Mail.dat Specification

August 3, 2017by Team Assurety

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In Part I of our series on USPS Informed Delivery, we described the communications platform and discussed commercial mailers’ concerns surrounding it. Our synthesis was that hybrid digital, digital marketing, and digital communication are here to stay and mailers should look to increase their ROI by utilizing the Informed Delivery platform in innovative ways, offering new ideas and services to mail Owners and businesses.

In Part II of the Informed Delivery article series, we described business use cases by different industry verticals and how they can best use the hybrid digital marketing platform.

In this Part III of the informed Delivery article series, we are focused on helping the operations staff at an MSP or marketer who manage Mail.dat in support of payment and verification processes, and who may be in charge of marketing management in the same jobs. This article is more geared toward technical folks.

The most up-to-date information is available in the Informed Delivery Guide and PostalOne! Guides. At the time of the publication of this article, this is the latest guidance.

Key facts about Informed Delivery (ID) as of August 2, 2017:

  • Over 16.4 Million users
  • 97% recognize the brand and product
  • The open rate went up to 76% and click-through rate is 34% which beats most market norms.
  • Satisfaction with the program improved to 89% and 93% would recommend this program to family and friends.
  • 76% of consumers trust mail and 56% of consumers stated the receiving the Informed delivery mail is a real pleasure.

In this video, Founder and CEO Shariq Mirza provides a technical overview of Informed Delivery campaign management through the lens of Mail.dat. After the video, check out our discussion and illustrations on the ten things mailers need to know about ID and Mail.dat.

Ten things to know about Informed Delivery (ID) management through the Mail.dat specification:

  1. The USPS is supporting Mail.dat version 18 and 19 and onwards for the Informed Delivery platform.
  2. The USPS is requiring that all mailers and marketers test the ID campaigns in the CAT (Customer Acceptance Testing) environment first. For technical help, they can email The Informed Delivery eDoc contact USPSInformedDeliveryeDoc@usps.gov.
  3. For all ID business and program-related questions, the correct email address is USPSInformedDeliveryCampaigns@usps.gov.
  4. Sophisticated marketers who work with MSPs must come up with piece serialization and segmentation criteria before defining campaigns. They must remember that piece range based campaigns are currently the most complex use case that is supported.
  5. The current key files for creating campaigns in Mail.dat include:
    1. Component (CPT) that provides unique piece versions in the job
    2. Referenceable Mail Summary (RMS) that provides campaign title, campaign display name to show in ID portal, unique meaningful campaign code (Currently USPS regenerates this code but long term USPS will use mailers campaign code), campaign start date campaign end date
    3. Referenceable Mail Record (RMR) provides the URL in the RMR Value field and the RMR content type identifies which type of URL is provided in the RMR Value field, e.g., ride-along image URL (Flag of A), ride-along image target URL (Flag of B), replacement image URL (Flag of C), flags of D and E are not supported
    4. RMR ID type which tells us if the campaign is linked with a piece version in Component (CPT) or P (PDR) or B (PBC) record
    5. RMS ID links the RMR records to the RMS summary records and the RMR ID field provides key Id for the RMR records; RMR records can then be linked to PDR (Piece Detail record) or PBC (Piece Barcode Record) records.
    6. Please note, at this time, RMB (Referenceable Barcode Record) designed purely for marketers and mail Owners, outside of the presort process, is planned for support in a future PostalOne! release.
    7. OPTIONALLY, only for start and end dates at the container level for the campaigns, CSM can be used which will over-ride the campaign start and end dates in RMR. Campaign start date cannot be in the past for more than seven days. See the diagram  below:

Mail.dat 19-1 ID Files (November 2018 support)

mail.dat 17-2 database design chart-clean.png

Click image to view full size
  1. There are two simple ways to create campaigns using Mail.dat; one is to use the Component (CPT) and create RMS records tied to RMR, driving all campaigns in RMR from the Component Record where all physical pieces in PDR or PBC which are tied to the Component will get the campaigns that are tied to the specific Component records. The other method is to define physical piece ranges in PDR or PBC and assign each piece range campaign in RMR, defining the start and end dates and campaign title, code, display field in the RMS. See the diagram below:

Informed Delivery Mail.dat Scenarios

informed delivery mail.dat scenarios-clean.png

Click image to view full size
  1. Currently, only physical piece range based campaigns are allowed, and if the job has a serial number that restarts at 000,000,001 after reaching the 999,999,999 serial, the job must have two campaigns, e.g:
  • Job ID = 12345678
  • MID = 012345
  • Total pieces in job = 100,197
  • Latest serial available and serial start = 999,956,123
    • Serial capacity reached at = 999,999,999
    • Serial restarted at = 000,000,001
  • Serial ends = 000,056,321
  • Informed Delivery® (based on the rule of 7 fields) creates Campaign with:
    • START SERIAL = 000,056,321
    • END SERIAL = 999,956,123

Current Solution:

  • Job contains two campaigns
    • With field 7 (Type D) different between the two campaigns
    • One for serial 999,956,123 — 999,999,999
    • the other for serial 000,000,001 – 000,056,321

Long term, USPS plans to implement individual piece level campaigns that don’t require ranges.

  1. When MLOCR and comingling MSPs combine pieces from multiple jobs, as long as the campaign data from RMR remains lined up with the correct CPT or PDR/PBC records, the campaign will be executed.
  2. When consolidators for co-mail or combined mail merge multiple address lists to create consolidated jobs, they need to ensure all campaigns tied to the versions or physical pieces remain in-tact. There is no impact to co-palletized mailings since their campaigns are managed in the origin jobs filed by mailers with the PostalOne! system.
  3. For flats mailings, make sure to use RMR content type of C for replacement image for image data since flats are not scanned by MPE and are made available through the ID platform.

Contact Assurety to provide analysis and improvement to your CRM and ROI through refining customer profiles. Tired of paying multiple site licensing costs and not getting the support you deserve from the Vendor of your Post-Presort software? A web-based centralized single install will save you costs and maintenance headaches. You can use AIMS Plus™, the industry’s flagship web-based Mail.dat and Mail.XML post-presort software to easily start managing Informed Delivery campaigns. Contact us for consulting or a demo of AIMS.

1.1         Disclaimer:

United States Postal Service®, PostalOne!™, IMb, Informed Delivery™ are trademarks of the United States Postal Service®. This is not a complete list of the trademarks that are associated with the Postal Service™.

Mail.dat® Transportation Messaging®, also known as Mail.XML, and Mail.dat® are registered trademarks of International Digital Enterprise Alliance, Inc.

Team Assurety

by Team Assurety

Assurety Consulting & Solutions Inc.

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OUR LOCATIONSWhere to find us?
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Casablanca
Karachi
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Find us on these social network sites

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© 2003 – 2020 Assurety Consulting™, Inc. All rights reserved.