USPS IMb Deadline | January 2014

IMb Deadline January 2014

USPSIMbDeadlineSince the Postal Service agreed to offer bulk mail discounts to those companies organizing their mail and presenting the correct bulk mail paperwork, the rules have continued to change and expand.

Along with preparing the mail and paperwork in a specific way, the USPS raised the bar a few years ago when they implemented Move Update rules. And they continue to drive change today.

The USPS decided in January 2013 that in order to continue receiving  automation discounts on your outgoing mail, bulk mailers must adopt the Intelligent Mail barcode, or IMb. Ask your mail consolidator if they are currently using Intelligent Mail barcode, or what their plan is to have their process compliant by January 26, 2014.  (At Strahm we use IMb on all mailings.)

If you plan to implement IMb on your own, make sure you are not caught off guard by the looming deadline. Realize that there is much more involved than buying the complex software required – expect to spend some time getting set up correctly.

These new requirements will provide tracking of your mail as it moves through the mailstream. This can be quite a benefit to marketers; providing even more data for Return on Investment from a mailing.

If your mail is not IMb compliant, you can still mail at the higher, non-automated postage rate. But be forewarned that in the very near future it may become a requirement that you are IMb compliant to receive any bulk mail discount.

Another option is to outsource your mail (either presort only or printing and mailing) to an outside vendor. If you are already outsourcing, make sure your vendor is IMb ready! Ask the question and then ask yourself “Do I want to work with a vendor who did not take the time and steps necessary to protect my postage discounts?”

If you have questions about Intelligent Mail barcodes, feel free to contact one of our Customer Service Representatives today. (816) 756-2733 or


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