Does my mail item qualify as Personalized Mail?

To figure out if the primary intent of your mail item is promotional, you must ask, “What’s the primary message that I want to ask the recipient to respond to when they receive the item”?

Your mailing is promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail™ if the intent is to motivate a person to take action and:

  • Buy or acquire a product or service
  • Use a specific program
  • Contribute to or support a cause or event

Promotional

Items are considered promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail if they’re:

  • Promoting a specific product, service, program, or event
  • Designed to influence customers by creating awareness, consideration, or purchase over others

Examples include:

  • Advertising brochures
  • Invitations to a promotional event or sale
  • Political mailings such as a profile of a candidate running for election
  • Promotional offers to enrol in a new service
  • Samples and promotional items
  • Acquisition mailings designed to reach prospects and gain new customers and to create new business
  • Customer retention mailings designed to keep your current customer base

Non-promotional

These are examples of non-promotional items that wouldn’t qualify as Personalized Mail. This list isn’t exhaustive.

Education materials

  • Updates to professional handbooks
  • Opinion surveys
  • Census mailings

Transactional communications

  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Tax forms or tax receipts
  • Proxies
  • Fulfilment of products or services
  • Fulfilment or replacement of financial cards (credit or debit cards)
  • Paid subscriptions
  • Identification cards

Informational communications

  • Recall notices
  • Annual reminders
  • Notifications of changes
  • Renewal notices
  • Election (voting) notices not promoting a candidate or party

Can I mail my item using the Personalized Mail Service?

When creating your item, you must first decide if it’s promotional and if you can mail it using the Personalized Mail service. This section includes examples to help guide you through this process.

Financial reports/annual reports

Reports on financial performance may qualify as Personalized Mail if you send out the information for promotional purposes.

Promotional

Examples of financial reports/annual reports that we consider to be promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail:

  1. Reports on financial performance intended primarily for promotional purposes, such as:
  • Annual, semi-annual, and quarterly reports of mutual funds and corporations
  • Prospectuses
  • Segregated fund reports mailed by insurance companies

The intent of sending out these reports is to show the performance of the investments and promote additional products or services that may interest clients.

  1. Annual reports sent by an association or business to promote past performance to keep or attract new members. Often these reports will promote upcoming events or programs. The intent is to motivate a person to take action.

Reports, whether financial or annual, may qualify as Personalized Mail if the information within is intended to:

  • Support future investments
  • Keep a customer base and promote customer loyalty
  • Ask for donations
  • Encourage additional investments
  • Motivate a person to take action
An example of a promotional annual/financial report
Another example of a promotional annual/financial report
A third example of a promotional annual/financial report

Non-promotional

Reports, whether financial or annual, that are sent out to tell recipients of annual results and editorial information are considered informational and non-promotional. These reports don’t qualify as Personalized Mail.

Informational (non-promotional) financial and annual reports typically:

  • Inform members of industry relevant information
  • Report on what’s occurred over the past year
  • Don’t promote upcoming events
  • Aren’t intended to attract new members
  • Have a primary intent to educate the recipient
  • Contain proxies or vote ballots

Non-promotional items don't qualify as Personalized Mail.

A fourth example of a non-promotional annual/financial report

Consent mailings (opt-in/opt-out)

Consent mailings, also known as Opt-in/Opt-out forms, are intended to seek the recipient’s preference (a choice that they need to make) or consent (a change that may affect them).

Promotional

Consent mailings are considered promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail if the primary intent of the messaging is to:

  • Outline the benefits of a program or service available to a customer
  • Upsell additional products and services
  • Ask for additional contributions or investments

Consent mailings should:

  • Primarily promote the product, service, or business as the main messaging
  • Offer the recipient a choice
  • Highlight the benefits and advantages of the selection or selections you’re offering to the recipient
  • Be clearly branded
An example of an opt-in consent mailing

Non-promotional

Consent mailings don't qualify as Personalized Mail if:

  • The primary intent is to fulfil a legal obligation to inform recipients of a change in their financial reporting or accounts and provide an option to choose

Non-promotional consent mailings typically:

  • Reflect messaging that’s giving details about an upcoming or recent change
  • Reflect a change that’s being made on behalf of the recipient
  • Are mandatory
  • Are legally required

Non-promotional items don't qualify as Personalized Mail.

An example of an opt-out consent mailing

Loyalty and retention mailings

Loyalty marketing and retention campaigns are mailings that focus on growing and keeping existing customers through incentives, branding, and customer recognition.

Promotional

Loyalty and retention mailings are considered promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail when they:

  • Are intended to keep a brand top of mind
  • Have the primary intent to win-back customers who may have left or are considering the competition
  • Recognize the existing relationship with the customer
  • Encourage repeat or enhanced interaction or sales
  • Offer incentives
  • Highlight the benefits of an upcoming or recent change
An example of a promotional loyalty/retention mailing

Non-promotional

Loyalty or retention mailings are non-promotional and don't qualify for Personalized Mail if they:

  • Notify customers of a change
  • Provide transactional information such as invoices and statements
  • Have updates to professional handbooks or other informational documentation
  • Are sent to fulfil an order
An example of a non-promotional loyalty/retention mailing

Loyalty card programs

Loyalty card programs reward customers for making purchases from the same vendor or company with the goal of:

  • Lowering the turnover among users
  • Maximizing existing customers spend
  • Expanding the customer base

These programs offer a membership card where customers will accumulate points and receive exclusive offers.

Promotional

Loyalty card programs are considered promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail when they:

  • Are open to the general public
  • Offer incentives, points, and exclusive offers to members
  • Aren’t linked to a debit or credit card

Loyalty card programs that meet these requirements are eligible to mail all communications related to the maintenance of their program as Personalized Mail.

This includes:

  • Membership acquisition
  • Membership card fulfilment (solicited or unsolicited)
  • Loyalty card renewal or replacement
  • Changes to the existing loyalty program
  • Changes to the overall program (all members)
  • Changes to a person’s status level or benefits
  • Membership card statements
  • Summary of points with a promotional offer
  • Transaction details
  • Thank you, birthday, and Christmas cards to members with or without promotional offerings
  • Welcome kits with or without promotional offers
  • Rebates related to the program
  • Fulfilment of items (in the size and weight band for Personalized Mail) earned through points accumulated on your card
An example of a loyalty card

Non-promotional

Mailings related to a loyalty card program in the following categories are non-promotional and don’t qualify as Personalized Mail because we consider them to be transactional:

  • Loyalty cards and mailings that aren’t open to the general public
  • Mailings relating to a provisional membership and association
  • Loyalty programs linked to a debit or credit card
  • Mailings that have information related to a professional association membership

Please note: These items may qualify under a different section of this guide, depending on the primary intent of the item you’re mailing.

A customer about to use their debit card in a point-of-sale machine
A person holding their professional association card

Catalogues/mini-catalogues

Catalogues are printed matter with a list of items for sale containing an item description, item numbers, and sometimes prices.

Promotional

Catalogues

We consider catalogues that promote a product or service as promotional. These catalogues may qualify as Personalized Mail. This includes paid or free catalogues.

Catalogues generally:

  • Have a listing of items for sale
  • Have prices or item numbers
  • Are made up of several pages bound together
  • Have the word “Catalogue” in the title

Mini-catalogues

Mini-catalogues are an acquisition tool, ideal for eCommerce companies to provide a list of products and services they offer. Mini-catalogues are a cost-effective way to drive online and offline sales. They allow your company to cut mail and production costs without sacrificing circulation or frequency.

To be considered promotional, a mini-catalogue must:

An example of a catalogue and mini-catalogue

Non-promotional

We consider catalogues that don’t meet the definition and criteria above to be non-promotional. These catalogues don’t qualify as Personalized Mail.

Calendars and waste calendars

A calendar or waste calendar is a chart or series of pages showing the days, weeks, and months of a particular year. It may also provide particular seasonal information.

Promotional

Calendars are considered promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail when they include promotional content being sent to current or prospective customers or donors.

We consider calendars to be promotional when they:

  • Have a primary intent to keep content top of mind
  • Are clearly branded
  • Bear contact information for the sender
  • Have content related to the brand you’re promoting
  • Have offers or reminders to further promote the businesses, events, or programs
An example of a promotional waste calendar
An example of a promotional calendar

Non-promotional

If the primary intent of the calendar is to distribute information or provide scheduling, the calendar is non-promotional and doesn’t qualify as Personalized Mail.

Non-promotional calendars:

  • May or may not be branded
  • Are intended to be used as a schedule
  • Don’t promote a product, service, or program
  • Provide information or reminders such as a schedule or contact information
  • Are sent to fulfil an order

Non-promotional items don’t qualify as Personalized Mail.

An example of a non-promotional waste calendar
An example of a non-promotional wall calendar

Newsletters

A newsletter is a written report, issued periodically, that provides information and news to people with a specific interest in the organization or subject.

Newsletters are typically issued by a business, institution, or other organization.

Promotional

Promotional newsletters engage customers by providing them with updates and editorial content that will help to encourage repeat business and keep a brand top of mind. Promotional newsletters may qualify as Personalized Mail.

Promotional newsletters may have some announcements or other news or editorial content but will also:

  • Remind customers of the value that they offer
  • Highlight upcoming sales or offers
  • Announce sales, incentives, events, or enrollment dates
  • Have coupons for use in store or online
  • Ask for or encourage donations
  • Provide enrollment dates and contact information
An example of a promotional newsletter

Non-promotional

A newsletter is considered non-promotional and doesn’t qualify as Personalized Mail when its main intent is to communicate information.

Non-promotional newsletters typically:

  • Have primarily editorial content
  • Intend to educate, inform, or disseminate information

Non-promotional items don't qualify as Personalized Mail.

An example of a non-promotional newsletter

Fulfilment

Fulfilment is the delivery of an item requested by the recipient, either for free or at a cost.

Promotional

We consider fulfilment of a product as promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail when:

  • The recipient procures the item through a specific promotion

and/or

  • The item has significant product branding that allows a company to keep their brand visible to the consumer (for example, cereal box promotions)

Promotional fulfilment items include:

  • Free gifts or samples that are clearly branded
  • Free items where the intention is to keep a product or brand top of mind
  • Free items sent after a promotion or a contest
  • Free items intended to encourage future sales
  • Samples with a coupon or other incentive
Examples of promotional fulfilment items

Non-promotional

Items that you mail with the intent to fulfil an order for a product or service are non-promotional and don’t qualify as Personalized Mail.

Fulfilment of non-promotional items include items:

  • For which payment was made
  • That are received as part of a subscription
  • Procured to fill an order

Non-promotional items don’t qualify as Personalized Mail.

An example of a non-promotional fulfilment item

Surveys

A survey is a document intending to collect the opinions of a group of people based on a series of questions.

Promotional

We consider surveys as promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail when they have the intent to collect consumer information that will be used to motivate someone to:

  • Buy or acquire a product or service
  • Contribute to or help a cause

A survey is promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail when:

  • The information collected will be used to gain insight into a customer preference or experience for future marketing purposes
  • The survey outlines the benefits that the participant will gain from their participation
  • The results will enhance options, services, or products available to the recipient
  • It’s intended to help a consumer make a decision
An example of a promotional survey

Non-promotional

Opinion and census surveys are non-promotional and don’t qualify as Personalized Mail because they have the intent of collecting information to be used for planning or educational purposes and don’t promote the sale of a product or service.

Non-promotional surveys:

  • Collect information that will be used for research or as part of a study
  • Are intended to gain statistical data
  • Won’t lead to the participant being contacted in any way after the survey

Non-promotional items don't qualify as Personalized Mail.

An example of a non-promotional survey
Another example of a non-promotional survey

Greeting or thank-you cards

A greeting or thank-you card is a decorative card sent to convey good wishes usually tied to a holiday or occasion or to convey appreciation and thanks.

Promotional

We consider greeting or thank-you cards as promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail when they’re used to:

  • Keep brands top of mind
  • Encourage traffic to store locations
  • Encourage additional future donations

Promotional greeting or thank-you cards should:

  • Be clearly branded
  • Be mailed to existing or prospective customers
  • Provide contact information
  • Be personalized to the recipient
An example of a promotional greeting card
Another example of a promotional greeting card
An example of a promotional thank-you card

Non-promotional

Non-promotional greeting cards that don’t qualify as Personalized Mail are:

  • Not branded
  • Sent to personal contacts
  • Invitations to personal events including:
    • Wedding invitations
    • Birth announcements
    • Anniversary party invitations
Examples of non-promotional greeting cards

Welcome kits

Welcome kits are packages that you send to customers who have recently signed up for a service or made a significant purchase with your business.

Promotional

Promotional welcome kits are considered promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail when they:

  • Have significant details to promote the use of the program or service
  • Offer incentive for recipients to sign up for more programs or services

Welcome kits should:

  • Be clearly branded
  • Provide information to encourage or make use of the service easier
  • Offer contact information for additional support or sales opportunities
  • Be personalized to the recipient
  • Thank or recognize the recipient for their business
  • Promote extra services that complement the service
An example of a promotional welcome kit

Non-promotional

When welcome packages only have account information or terms and conditions of the purchase, they’re considered non-promotional and won’t qualify as Personalized Mail. The intent of these welcome packages is only to give relevant information to the subscriber or customer.

Non-promotional welcome kits may include:

  • Receipts
  • Invoices
  • Notices
  • Legal terms and conditions
  • Proxies
  • Tax receipts
  • Fulfilment of the item itself

Non-promotional items don’t qualify as Personalized Mail.

An example of a non-promotional welcome kit

Renewal offers and notices

Renewal offers and notices encourage recipients to:

  • Renew or re-subscribe to a product or service
  • Enrol to a product or service

Promotional

We consider renewal offers as promotional and may qualify as Personalized Mail when they provide a subscriber with a special promotional discount or incentive to renew. We may consider renewal offers to be promotional when they require or encourage the recipient to take action and arrange for further payment.

Promotional renewal offers and notices should:

  • Offer incentives to renew a service or subscription
  • Remind a subscriber of upcoming expiry and highlight the benefits of renewal
  • Need action or payment by the consumer or subscriber
An example of a promotional renewal offer

Non-promotional

Non-promotional renewal notices inform the recipient of an upcoming expiry or end date to their subscription and no action is needed. Renewal is automatically arranged or withdrawn as part of an existing agreement with no action needed.

Non-promotional renewal notices:

  • Notify of termination or expiry of a service or subscription
  • Don’t need action
  • Notify of an automatic renewal (pre-authorized payment)
  • Provide a contract at the time of renewal

Non-promotional items don't qualify as Personalized Mail.

An example of a non-promotional notice