Embracing CMYK+ with Special Colors and Unique Textures

USPS promotions can enhance your direct mail…and save you some money!



Eve Padula


Every November, the United States Postal Service (USPS) publishes its direct mail promotions for the coming year. These promotions haven’t changed much over the past few years, so they should be quite familiar to direct mailers by now. In case you haven’t been paying attention (tsk, tsk), the list of promotions includes Tactile Sensory and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement, Emerging and Advanced Technology, Earned Value Reply Mail, Personalized Color Transpromo, Informed Delivery, as well as Mobile Shopping.


Source: United States Postal Service


Although these promotions have remained largely unchanged for the past few years, many people and organizations remain unaware of them or don’t understand the value that they can deliver. For some marketers, saving a few dollars on the postage for a marketing campaign might not be enough to justify the extra cost that is required to produce these pieces. As a result, communicating the differentiating value of these promotions is key. One such promotion—Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive Mailpiece Engagement—offers a 4% discount on multisensory mail pieces. Mailers that incorporate textures, scents, sounds, or even tastes into their mailings can benefit from this discount.


As I discussed in one of my previous blogs, direct mail can engage multiple senses for a more memorable experience. Mailers can of course take this in many different directions encompassing the five senses, but ongoing advancements in CMYK+ (printing beyond the colors of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) can help mailers make the most of this promotion with special visual and tactile effects.


Knowledge Is Power

Most organizations have good intentions and really take the time to think about their go-to-market strategies, how to improve market awareness, as well as the best ways to share any new and exciting solutions.


Even with the best intentions, though, businesses can be consumed by day-to-day tasks that leave little time for education and enrichment. According to Keypoint Intelligence’s research, 56% of respondents were “very knowledgeable” about their firms’ fifth color/CMYK+ capabilities. The flip side of this is that a sizeable minority (44%) were less knowledgeable about these capabilities. PSPs must make it a priority to educate everyone within their organization about the investment potential of increased color capabilities.


How knowledgeable are you about your company’s capabilities in terms of adding
CMYK+ to printed products?
Source: Keypoint Intelligence's 2021 CMYK+: Commercial Printing Demands, Need,
and Opportunity Assessment study


When considering an investment in fifth color capabilities, educating and training your team is a critical first step. Without proper training, even the best sales professionals can find themselves struggling to demonstrate value in a meaningful way. Sales professionals who have a thorough understanding of how CMYK+ can elevate even the most mundane messages will be better positioned to uncover new opportunities for growth.


Telling Your Story with CMYK+

Most marketers understand that unique colors like neons and metallics as well as special textures can impact the behavior of mail recipients, but these benefits can be difficult for salespeople to explain. Meanwhile, attention-grabbing samples can clearly communicate the value of combining CMYK+ with direct mail.


Sources: PostcardsRUs & Omaha Steaks


It might seem natural to focus on the vibrant colors or realistic textures in the samples, but truly effective sales conversations will discuss how these print embellishments can elevate a brand’s perceived quality. The value proposition of digital print must also be incorporated in the conversation, so it’s important to cover the value of delivering exciting, eye-catching designs with greater speed to market. For each colorful, vibrant sample, an effective story will include sharing the gains that other clients achieved, why they chose to incorporate CMYK+ capabilities into their direct mail, and why the USPS’s promotions are worth investigating.


Keypoint Intelligence’s Opinion

The USPS’s promotions are a commitment to direct mail, as well as a reflection of the postal service’s knowledge about what can set marketers apart and truly attract attention in a competitive marketplace. Rather than focusing on the postal discount, though, sales reps must communicate the value of CMYK+ and the USPS’s promotions in terms of customer attention and brand differentiation.


Subscribers to Keypoint Intelligence’s On Demand Printing & Publishing, Business Development Strategies, and Customer Communications Advisory Services can access additional research, forecast data, and analysis on the impact that color can have on direct mail. If you’re not a subscriber, just send us an email at sales@keypointintelligence.com for more information.


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