Postal Pieces: Free Paper Publishers Invited to "Go Postal"

By Donna Hanbery

For free paper publishers planning to attend the annual Association of Free Community Publications (AFCP) conference in Las Vegas, Friday morning April 26, 2019 will present an opportunity to "go Postal".

Donna Hanbery, executive director of the Saturation Mailers Coalition (SMC), will be hosting a Postal roundtable in a separate meeting room on Friday, April 26, 2019 from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. The United States Postal Service is sending Steven Mills, the product manager with responsibility for saturation mail, the type of mail used by free paper publishers.

This will be an opportunity to present ideas, ask questions, and to share your concerns with somebody from Postal Headquarters.

There is no formal agenda for this meeting. It is a "no holds barred" open discussion. Mills and Hanbery will be attending the conference Thursday, and will also be interested in networking and meeting with publishers that are in, or are interested in, the mail. Publishers are invited to ask questions about current promotions, potentially suggest future promotion ideas, and to have your voice heard.

Hanbery recommends that interested publishers bring their business cards and be prepared to exchange business cards and "get a contact" at Postal Service Headquarters. She also recommends that participants that have had problems with service, or have had customers express concern about rates or service, put something in writing about their experiences and issues the Postal Service might want to address, to give to Steve Mills to take back to Headquarters.

Finally, and importantly, every publisher coming to the break-out session should consider bringing copies of their publications. Please come! This is your chance to let the Postal Service know what it is doing right, wrong, or could be doing to earn more of your business and the business of your customers.

Is the Definition of Marketing Mail Changing?

If you have been concerned that the Postal Service might change the definition of Marketing Mail to prohibit anything but paper content (i.e. note pads, calendars, greeting cards, or other items that have been delivered by Marketing Mail), you may be interested in reading the draft of a potential new regulation that would prohibit use of Marketing Mail letters and flats for general "sales" fulfillment purposes, but would allow fulfillment of primarily paper-based items and the inclusion of some non-paper items like small gifts or trinkets used in advertising promotions or premiums like thank you's.

Hanbery said, "From my standpoint, I think this proposed rule will allow SMC members that have been using non-paper items as promotional content in advertising mail to keep doing what you have done in the past. It is MUCH better than the original proposal that simply prohibited any Marketing Mail content that was ‘not paper.'"

If this is something that concerns you, contact the FMA office at 352-237-3409 or via email to for a copy of the proposed rule.

Donna E. Hanbery is the Executive Director of the Saturation Mailers Coalition. Contact her at 612-340-9350 or via email to:


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