Archive for June, 2011

Dos and Don’ts of Using Personalized QR Codes in Direct Mail

Personalized QR Code Check List

Check out what to do and not to do when creating personalized QR Codes.

Direct mail – such as postcards, letters, brochures and trans-promo communications – is a perfect medium for incorporating a personalized QR Code.   So perfect, in fact, that the United States Postal Service is getting in on the action by offering a discount for using a QR Code this summer.  We’ve covered a lot of ground in the past few months with QR Codes, so if you are looking for information, here are resources you will find helpful:

Things “To Do” and “Not To Do” When Working With Personalized QR Codes

Ready to dive in?  Here is another resource that will help you with personalized QR Codes: our check list of things “to do” and “not to do.”


  • Include clear instructions on how to download a QR Code reader with your QR Code
  • Include a short personalized URL for those who do not wish to use a mobile device
  • Program your PURL to automatically detect the type of device a visitor is using, and route them to the mobile or full-screen version of PURL
  • Make sure there is a valid reason for using a Personalized web site (see sidebar for some inspiration)
  • Pre-populate all forms with the information you already have (this is the best reason to use a personalized mobile web site!)
  • Provide a phone number and email address on the printed piece and personalized mobile web site
  • Test the QR Code with a variety of devices and code readers
  • Make sure the reader knows that the offer is available by scanning the QR Code or visiting the PURL


  • Link your personalized QR Code to non-mobile web pages
  • Leave the recipient hanging without a next step. Make clear calls to action on both the direct mail piece and on the mobile web site.
  • Use the same offer or call to action on the mailer and the web site. You want to advance the recipient in the buying process, not run them around in a circle.
  • Make your QR Code smaller than 1 inch by 1 inch.
  • Skimp on the white space around the QR Code. You want it to easily scan on the first try.
  • Make the code too complex by using a long URL. Complex codes are harder for some scanners to read.
  • Place the personalized QR Code on a curved surface, a fold, or too close to the spine

Experience a Personalized QR Code

Personalized QR Code Sample

Personalized QR Code for "Kristina Smith." Scan the code with your mobile device to view the personalized, mobile-friendly landing page.

Mail Print recently launched a personalized QR Code campaign to gain feedback from recipients of their magazine Connect. At right is a sample personalized QR Code, leading to a personalized mobile web page for a fictional Kristina Smith.

Of course, not everyone has a smartphone or access to a QR Code scanner, or prefers to visit websites on their mobile device. That’s why it’s important to also include the address of the PURL in your marketing, and build your PURL to automatically detect each visitor’s device (small screen or computer) and route them to the mobile or non-mobile version of their personalized site.

You can see the non-mobile version of the PURL on your computer by going to:

Personalized QR Codes and Personalized URL’s really go hand in hand to provide your audience with the easiest way for them to access your online content.

Cost Justifying the Investment in New Marketing Systems

Hidden Costs of Marketing Collateral

Identify the invisible costs to justify the investment in new marketing technology.

As companies consider an investment in marketing asset management , Web to Print, communications portals, marketing automation, or other marketing systems, they eventually get to the stage where financial justification is required.  Based upon years of guiding companies through these calculations, we are proud to offer a guide to help you determine the true cost/benefit of these systems.

Download “How Much Are You Really Spending On Marketing Collateral?”

Although this paper was written specifically for marketing asset management and collateral management, it is really relevant to the majority of new marketing technologies on the market.  In this concise paper (it is really a quick read), you’ll find ideas and plans to justify the investment in new marketing systems.  The three main ideas are:

  • Learn how to identify invisible costs in your organization
  • Review a real life case study of a company saving over $80,000 per year
  • Develop a cost savings estimate for your company using the template and example provided

 You can download this resource here:

Cost of Marketing Collateral

Download Report: How Much Are You Really Spending on Marketing Collateral?

Soft Vs Hard Cost Savings

Here’s something to think about that’s not included in the white paper: whether or not to make a marketing technology investment is often a question of how human resources are utilized.  A substantial portion of the savings comes from freeing up human resources.  Some companies look at this as a “soft cost” and simply redeploy the freed up human resources on activities that are more valuable to the company than deploying marketing materials.  Companies that are looking to reduce “hard cost” create a plan to reduce human resource costs through attrition, promotions, transfers or staff reduction.

Human Resource Planning Plays a Vital Role

An important second part of the cost justification process is to know how and what you plan to do with these soon-to-be “additional” human resources.  Plans that are presented without giving clear insight into how you will handle this are often disqualified as fluffy or inaccurate, and can ruin the possibility of gaining new marketing systems.

Inspiring Ideas for Using Personalized QR Codes

Personalized QR Codes entice engagement.

Personalized QR Codes entice engagement.

Personalized QR Codes offer a highly interactive and personal way to interact with your target audience.  Strategically, a personalized QR Code is a slightly different experience from pushing a text message to a group of recipients.  The QR Code gives the recipient the power to decide if they want to engage with your company using their mobile device.  Your initial marketing message has to be spot on, and have a clear, valid, and appealing call to action. 

Side note:  if you need background information on Personalized QR Codes, review “Catapult Your Direct Marketing with Personalized QR Codes.”  

Advance Engagement With a Great User Experience and Strong Call to Action

Just as important as the method of getting a prospect or customer to a personalized site is the content and call to action on the PURL. Here are some ways you can use personalized QR Code campaigns to drive real marketing results:

  • Pre-populate landing page forms to improve the user experience and completion rate:

    • Enter a contest, drawing or sweepstakes
    • Ask for a phone call or meeting
    • Request additional information
    • Make a purchase
    • Register for webinars or seminars
    • RSVP for events
  • Deliver targeted offers:

    • Vary the amount of a discount based upon the value of the customer, segmentation or profile
    • Utilize unique promo codes to track redemption on an individual basis
    • Adjust expiration dates based upon when the personalized QR Code is scanned
  • Push contact information to the mobile device:

    • Instead of using generic contact info, include customized data and photos for each visitor’s dedicated sales rep or customer service contact
    • Make it easy for recipients to save contact information to their mobile device
    • Provide “click to dial” and “click to email” for immediate response from the mobile device
  • Engage customers on a new level:

    • Quickly poll or survey customers on a recent experience
    • Enroll in an e-newsletter
    • Sign up for your blog
    • Deliver engaging video
  • Make purchasing faster and easier:

    • Route customers to a product purchase page with their personalized offer applied
  • Go viral:

    • Provide links for visitors to share their PURL (Personalized URL) or offer with other potential customers via social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter

When you apply segmentation, profiling and other targeting tools, you can tailor both the initial experience and the online event to improve intrigue, engagement, and the connection you foster between your company and the recipient.  And that’s really what it is all about… making the recipient feel as if they are “the one” you are connecting with… not that they are “one of many” you randomly sent an advertising message.

B2B Marketing Best Performing Channels

Only 30% use mail, email and web together

Do you really believe that only 30% of US companies find a combination of mail, email and web campaigns generate the most business?

If you need statistics about the potential potency of multi-channel communications in business-to-business marketing, this blog post is for you.  Pitney Bowes recently surveyed 4,000 B2B marketers—divided equally throughout the U.S., U.K., France and Germany—to uncover current B2B thinking regarding marketing channel choice and business communications in today’s complex and challenging communication environment. Here is a summary of the research (in four quick bullets!)

Examining Stand-Alone and Multichannel B2B Marketing Efforts For Generating Business:

  • Direct mail comes out as the top stand-alone channel. In the U.S., 19 percent of companies feel that stand-alone direct mail generates the most business for them, and in the E.U., 12 percent of companies report this.
  • In comparison to stand-alone direct mail, 10 percent of U.S. companies favor solo e-mail campaigns (8 percent E.U.) and 7 percent rely on stand-alone search engine marketing (6 percent E.U.).
  • More respondents favor integrated marketing as the best approach. 30 percent of U.S. firms cited a combination of mail, e-mail and web campaigns as generating the most business for them (27 percent E.U.).
  • 58 percent of U.S. firms and 53 percent of E.U. firms feel that concentrating solely on electronic media would seriously damage their ability to generate leads.

Here’s the perplexing question: why are these percentages so low?  (Especially the multi-channel approach.)  I wonder if companies who are communicating in multiple channels, don’t have them coordinated, and therefore don’t perceive themselves to be using multi-channel communications.  Hmmm… post your comments below if you have thoughts on this.