By now I am sure that everyone in our industry is aware of the QR code, the small, monochromatic cube that can transform printed material into rich online multimedia content. If you aren’t, here is a great link to learn more!
There are many advantages to using QR codes on your printed pieces, and many marketers have had great success with them. But the United States Postal Service has just upped the ante. From July 1 through August 31, the USPS will be offering a 3% discount on all first-class and standard mail letters and flats that include a mobile barcode on the printed piece. The push is designed to give customers an incentive to use QR codes, which will help the USPS demonstrate how printed and mailed materials can still prove relevant in a digital world. While this may seem like a small thing to many, you have to consider the source. This marks a new way of thinking for the USPS, a company that is operating under an $8.5 billion budget deficit due to the decreased mail volume over the last decade. This promotion suggests that the USPS is trying new things and thinking outside the box. Let’s hope this trend continues.
I originally thought that the QR code had to contain data specific to the piece’s mailing address, but I was wrong. The QR code must only be relevant to the marketing purpose of the mailing and offer the end user a multimedia experience above and beyond what is offered on the printed piece. More detailed specifications about this program can be found here.
Basically, if you do a lot of direct mail, you should already be using QR codes to engage your customers beyond the printed piece. The instant metrics and added features alone should be reason enough to adopt QR technology. The 3% discount on postage should just be icing on the cake, so why not take advantage of this?
Food for thought: Valpak is using QR codes on their summer mailings, but they don’t mention the postage savings of around $2 million, coincidence, I think not!
Author: John Mehl