Posts Tagged QR Code

What Are Barcodes?

Barcodes, Barcodes, Barcodes!

What are barcodes? Ever wonder why there are so many different ones?

The answer lies within what kind of data, how much data, and what the common uses are of the barcode. Barcodes are methods of machine-readable data identification and collection. They were first introduced in the 1940s and have evolved across a wide variety of industries. Barcodes have tracking capabilities that go far beyond the supermarket checkout. They provide a useful means to capture and share data electronically.

Barcodes are expressed as a series of wide and narrow bars. They usually have unique start and stop codes so that the barcode scanner can determine if the barcode is being scanned forward or backward. When scanned a signal goes to the computer and decodes the information.

Barcodes are split into four different categories. These include:

  1. Numeric-Only Barcodes:
    • Usually used for retail applications in the US and Canada
    • Have error correction and self-checking features
    • UPC barcodes fall in this category
  2. Alpha-Numeric:
    • All-purpose worldwide code
    • Can include large quantity of information and error reduction
    • Widely used in healthcare industry
  3. 2-Dimensional:
    • Used for order confirmation and material control
    • Ideal for encoding large amounts of information
    • QR codes fall in this category
  4. Industry Standards for Labels: Made up of industries using their own barcode systems
    • Bookland EAN encodes ISBN numbers, used internationally to mark books
    • ISSN and the SISAC Barcode: International Standard Serial Numbering
    • OPC: Optical Industry Association barcode for marking retail optical products
    • UCC/EAN-128: Widely used data formatting model for Code 128
    • UPC Shipping Container Symbol: ITF-14

With all these available options at times it can be difficult to decide which barcode is the best solution. To compare all the barcode possibilities check out: http://www.makebarcode.com/specs/barcodechart.html. Do some digging and see what fits your present task the best!

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Increase ROI with Direct Mail Design | Top 10 Recommendations

Often I am asked by novice direct mailers what elements to include on their mail piece. They are simply looking to design the best mailer possible to yield a high ROI.

Here are my Top 10 recommendations                        (in no particular order)

  1. Make sure your list, mail piece and message are all targeted to the correct audience. What is your goal – lead generation, customer retention, a new product roll out?
  2. A clear, provocative call to action and a nice incentive.
  3. A compelling message – don’t forget, most people want to know “What’s in it for Me?”
  4. A First Class mail permit.  Don’t skimp on standard mail postage. 10% of your mailing list may never receive the mail piece and you’d be surprised how many people simply disregard any piece of mail with a standard permit.
  5. Add a PURL, or Personalized URL. This will tie your printed piece with an online experience. Make sure the PURL ties in with your theme.
  6. As long as we’re adding hot new technology with that PURL, let’s add a QR, or Quick Response, code. You’ve probably been seeing a lot of QR codes on all kinds or marketing – from billboards to pizza boxes. We’ll talk more about QR codes and using them effectively in an upcoming blog.
  7. Use a fresh, unexpected image and a memorable tag line. You only have seconds to grab the reader’s attention.
  8. You’ve probably heard it said a million times, and it’s true, your response rate is only as good as your list. We will delve into list effectiveness in future blogs.
  9. Include a follow up on the call to action. Perhaps include an expiration date. This also makes room for a second communication (perhaps an email?).
  10. Since we repeated the call to action, repeat the PURL as well. Remind them how to respond to that call to action!
Tell us, what are your thoughts on creating the ideal direct mail piece?  We’d love to hear your suggestions!

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USPS Promo | Using Variable Data Personalization?

Using Variable Data Personalization?

Take advantage of this current USPS promotion “Mail and Digital Personalization Program”.

USPSpromoMay 1 through June 30, 2014 USPS is allowing mailers using personalization such as personal URLs, web pages or mobile applications linked to the mailpiece a 2% discount on eligible postage.
Message and content of the mailpiece must be relevant and highly personalized to qualify. Personalized content must contain or be based on factual or behavioral information specific to the recipient. An address block alone does not qualify.

Each mailpiece must contain a pURL, or mobile technology such as QR codes, that direct recipients to an active, unique website. Unique URLs allow the mailer to track and measure individual web activity.

Eligible mail classes include First Class presort and automation letters, cards and flats as well as Standard Mail letters and flats. Postage payment may be permit imprint, or precancelled stamp permit. Some mailings using meter imprint may qualify – check with your local BMEU. Mailing must be presented between May 1 and June 30, 2014.

You can learn more about this variable data promotion by visiting Postal Explorer. A range of documents, including an FAQ can be found here – https://ribbs.usps.gov/mailingpromotions/documents/tech_guides/MailandDigitalPersonalizationPromotion.htm

 

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Data Tips | Don’t Let All The Talk of Big Data Scare You Off!

Don’t Let All The Talk of Big Data Scare You Off!

Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Decide on a strategy: How can you improve your current strategy with data? Think about what data you want to collect and how it will be used in future marketing efforts. How will this affect the marketing channels you choose – direct mail, email, social media?BigData
  2. What do your customers want?  Identifying what matters to your customers allows you to improve your communications with them. This also helps you craft and target personalized messages to customers through any of the marketing channels you may choose.
  3. Don’t ask for too much:  Give some thought to what data you really need right now. Do you need to improve your email address list? Find out what services/products are most important to customers? Determine how satisfied they are with your business? Keep it short and simple for them to respond. You can always dig deeper for more information down the road.
  4. Give multiple methods of responding:  If you are using direct mail to contact customers/prospects, include a website where they can submit information, take a survey, etc. Consider response cards, pURL’s and QR codes. Make sure all pieces are mobile compatible. Test, test, test to make sure all of your communication platforms work seamlessly.
  5. Don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged: Data is a big area and can be a lot to wrap your head around. Start small. And don’t expect overnight success. Build on what you have and tweak your communications as you add more data.

More questions about how data can help you grow your business and deepen relationships with customers? Call one of our qualified Customer Service Representatives today to discuss your needs. | (816) 756-2733

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Increase ROI with Direct Mail Design

Often I am asked by novice direct mailers what elements to include on their mail piece. They are simply looking to design the best mailer possible to yield a high ROI.directmail

Here Are My Top 10 Recommendations

(In no particular order)

  1. Make sure your list, mail piece and message are all targeted to the correct audience. What is your goal – lead generation, customer retention, a new product roll out?
  2. A clear, provocative call to action and a nice incentive.
  3. A compelling message – don’t forget, most people want to know “What’s in it for Me?”
  4. A First Class mail permit.  Don’t skimp on standard mail postage. 10% of your mailing list may never receive the mail piece and you’d be surprised how many people simply disregard any piece of mail with a standard permit.
  5. Add a PURL, or Personalized URL. This will tie your printed piece with an online experience. Make sure the PURL ties in with your theme.
  6. As long as we’re adding hot new technology with that PURL, let’s add a QR, or Quick Response, code. You’ve probably been seeing a lot of QR codes on all kinds or marketing – from billboards to pizza boxes. We’ll talk more about QR codes and using them effectively in an upcoming blog.
  7. Use a fresh, unexpected image and a memorable tag line. You only have seconds to grab the reader’s attention.
  8. You’ve probably heard it said a million times, and it’s true, your response rate is only as good as your list. We will delve into list effectiveness in future blogs.
  9. Include a follow up on the call to action. Perhaps include an expiration date. This also makes room for a second communication (perhaps an email?).
  10. Since we repeated the call to action, repeat the PURL as well.  Remind them how to respond to that call to action!

Tell us, what are your thoughts on creating the ideal direct mail piece?  We’d love to hear your suggestions!

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USPS | 2013 Promos and Incentives

USPS Promotions and Incentives Announced for 2013

promosFirst Class and Standard mailers have six (6) new USPS promotions/incentives to take advantage of at various times throughout 2013.  The objective is to increase mail volumes from mailers.

The USPS was so successful with the Mobile Barcode incentives over the past two years, that similar incentives are offered and new incentives are being rolled out.

 

All programs will require the use of Intelligent Mail barcodes and electronic documentation submission.

Mobile Coupon/Click to Call

March 1 – April 30, 2013 (registration January 15 – April 30, 2013)

This promotion is based on showing the value of direct mail by encouraging customers to integrate printed coupons in the mail with mobile accessibility to redeem the coupon.  An upfront 2% postage discount is offered.

Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion

April 1 – June 30, 2013 (registration January 1 – March 31, 2013)

First Class Mail Business Reply and Courtesy Reply mailers will receive a $0.02 postage credit for each piece of Business Reply Mail (BRM) or Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) piece that is scanned in the postal network.  This promotion encourages mailers to provide a reply mechanism that would utilize the USPS as a service provider for consumer replies.

Emerging Technologies

August 1 – September 30, 2013 (registration June 15 – September 30, 2013)

Designed to promote awareness of new technologies such as Near-Field Communication, Augmented Reality and Authentication, this promotion builds on the success of past Mobile Barcode promotions.  Mailers receive an upfront 2% postage discount.

Picture Permit

August 1 – September 30, 2013 (registration June 15 – September 30, 2013)

The Picture Permit promotion is designed to increase the use of picture permit indicia, which improves a mailpiece’s visibility and impact as a marketing tool.  First Class letters and postcards will receive a $0.01 discount per piece, and Standard Mail letters will be discounted $0.02 per piece.

Product Samples

August 1 – September 30, 2013 (registration May 1 – September 30, 2013)

The Product Samples promotion rewards mailers with a 5% upfront postage discount on qualifying mail that contains product samples.  The objective is to re-invigorate product sampling through the mail.

Mobile Buy-It-Now

November 1 – December 31, 2013 (registration September 15 – December 31, 2013)

An upfront 2% postage discount to mailers adopting and investing in technologies that enhance and engage consumers with mail.  Objective is to show how direct mail combined with mobile technology can be a convenient method for consumers to do their holiday shopping.

Details of each program in a handy, downloadable guide – https://ribbs.usps.gov/mobilebarcode/documents/tech_guides/FY13PromotionsCalendar.pdf

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USPS Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion

U.S. Postal Service Planning 2012 Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion

Direct Mail Discounts for Online Merchants Timed for Cyber Monday

July 18, 2012

Release No. 12-084


WASHINGTON — Cyber Monday was the busiest shopping day last year. Up 29 percent over 2010, Cyber Monday’s purchasing surge was no doubt due to a number of deals offered by retailers. And with the deal the U.S. Postal Service is planning for online merchants this holiday season, Cyber Monday 2012 could be even better.

Designed to drive online product purchases by putting mobile-optimized promotional offers, coupons and catalogs into consumers’ hands, the U.S. Postal Service’s 2012 Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion will offer online merchants an upfront 2 percent postage discount on Standard Mail and First-Class Mail letters, flats and cards (presort and automation) that include a mobile barcode or print/mobile technology — such as a QR code — that can be read or scanned by a mobile device and leads the mail recipient to a mobile-optimized shopping website.  The promotion will run Nov. 7- Nov. 21, 2012.

Mailers may also qualify for an additional 1 percent postage rebate on their discounted mailings if a portion of their product orders are fulfilled via Priority Mail between Nov. 9, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2012. The 2012 Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion is subject to approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission.

“This latest pricing incentive solidifies the Postal Service’s leadership role as a catalyst of e-commerce trade between consumers and online merchants,” said Gary Reblin, vice president, Domestic Products. “The reliability of mail to serve as the on-ramp for mobile commerce, along with the tremendous growth of mobile devices, gives online merchants a surefire way to generate sales this holiday season.

“By offering a short-term promotion linking mail and mobile devices during the key holiday purchasing timeframe, the Postal Service is providing online merchants with an incentive designed to increase industry adoption of a physical-to-digital marketing approach.”

For additional information on the 2012 Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion, go to RIBBS.  Program registration opens Sept. 15, 2012, and continues through Nov. 21, 2012. Participants must agree to partake in a survey about the promotion.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Please Note: For broadcast quality video and audio, photo stills and other media resources, visit the USPS Newsroom at http://about.usps.com/news/welcome.htm.

A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation — 151 million residences, businesses and Post Office™ Boxes. The Postal Service™ receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With 32,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government, usps.com®, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $65 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 35th in the 2011 Fortune 500. In 2011, Oxford Strategic Consulting ranked the U.S. Postal Service number one in overall service performance of the posts in the top 20 wealthiest nations in the world. Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business magazines ranked the Postal Service as a leader in workforce diversity. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency for six years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.

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