Choosing Reply Mail Type

There are two basic types of reply mail—business reply mail (BRM) and courtesy reply mail (CRM). Although BRM and CRM are similar, there is a significant difference.

Business Reply Mail

Business reply mail (BRM) requires that postage be paid by your dept. (the sender) if your customer (the respondent) mails the reply back to you. BRM is appropriate when your customer needs a little extra inducement to reply—in other words, the response or its timing is not assured. This type of reply mail is frequently used for surveys by researchers pursuing questionnaire responses, or  development  seeking donations and marketing seeking orders.

The extra inducement is provided because your customer does not need to affix the return postage, does not have to supply a postcard or envelope, and does not need to put an address on the mailpiece. Exhibit 5-1 shows a standard BRM piece in postcard and envelope formats.

Courtesy Reply Mail

Courtesy reply mail (CRM) requires your customer (the respondent) to affix the postage before mailing the reply back to you (the sender). CRM is appropriate when the response is more or less assured, such as for billings (see Exhibit5-2).

Although the customer usually pays the return postage (unless you prepay it by a meter, as in meter reply mail (MRM) - see page 96), the preaddressed postcard or envelope add convenience and ensures addressing accuracy. Exhibit 5-2 shows a standard CRM piece in postcard and envelope formats.

Exhibit 5-1
BRM Postcard and Envelope (not drawn to scale)

Graphic of BRM postcard and envelope as described in the text.

Exhibit 5-2
CRM Postcard and Envelope (not drawn to scale)

 Benefiting From Reply Mail

Reply mail offers two major advantages: faster response and more accurate delivery.

The easier you make it for your customer to respond, the quicker the return will come. A preaddressed (and perhaps postage-paid) envelope containing the customer's response or check is easy to mail. Customers have positive attitudes about marketers, and fund-raisers who show foresight and consideration by providing reply mail cards, envelopes, or labels.

With BRM and CRM, your address is preprinted. This is especially important when you want payments and inquiries directed to an address that is different from your usual mailing address.

Because there is no chance that your customer can misaddress the mail to you, you eliminate potential misdeliveries.

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