Paper Matters Blog
Scan and Save: How QR Codes can Rescue your Budget

In today’s increasingly tech-savvy world, blending print and digital marketing strategies is necessary to remain competitive. The challenge is creating a plan and making it fit your budget. That’s why we’ve been promoting the 2023 United States Postal Service (USPS) Programs and Incentives. Their annual promotions are making it possible for marketers to pair the advantages of direct mail with new advancements in print technology at a discount, which can potentially lead to higher returns from your marketing campaigns.

We broke down both the Tactile, Sensory & Interactives promotion and the Personalized Color Transpromo incentive earlier this year; now we’re laying out how you can take advantage of the 2023 Emerging and Advanced Technology promo for your business.

What is the Promotion?

The USPS Emerging and Advanced Technology promotion incentivizes the use of digital components in your direct mail campaigns by offering a 2% discount on postage for eligible mailpieces. Emerging technologies cover a number of experiences such as QR codes, augmented reality or near-field communication. The best part is that you qualify for the discount by using an omnichannel strategy—a strategy that’s proven to make an impact.

You may be worried that working with new technology will raise costs, but qualifying for the discount can be as easy as incorporating scannable images into your printed piece. Let’s use QR codes as an example.

Innovation at a Discount

Over the last few years, consumers have grown more and more comfortable using QR codes during everyday activities. Many of us have used QR codes to view anything from restaurant menus to grocery aisle discounts to instructions at your doctor’s office.

QR codes, or quick response codes, are a type of two-dimensional barcode that can be scanned using a smartphone camera. QR codes can be used to link physical objects, such as printed materials, to digital content, such as a website or video. The benefits of using QR codes in printed materials for direct mail campaigns include:

  1. Engaging your audience

    • QR codes can be used to provide an interactive experience for recipients of your direct mail campaign. By scanning the code, recipients can access additional information about your product or service, watch a video or enter a contest, helping to capture their attention and keep them engaged with your brand. We employed this strategy during a recent campaign when we used a QR code in a printed piece to send audiences to a custom landing page.
  2. Measure response rates

    • QR codes can be used to track the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign. By using unique QR codes for each mailpiece, you can track how many recipients scanned the code and accessed your digital content. This can help you to measure response rates and determine the success of your campaign.
  3. Gather data

    • QR codes can also be used to gather data about your audience. For example, you can ask recipients to fill out a survey after scanning the code or offer a discount code in exchange for their email address. This can help you to gather valuable information about your audience and refine your marketing strategy accordingly.
  4. Save space and cost

    • QR codes can provide additional information about your product or service without taking up valuable space in your printed materials. Instead of including lengthy descriptions or instructions, you can simply include a QR code that links to your website or a video. This can help to save on printing and postage costs while still providing valuable information to your audience. We used QR codes in our Digital Papers brochure (pictured below) to direct users to stocking charts that would have been too lengthy to incorporate into the printed piece.

While some of these benefits may be specific to QR codes or scannable images, any of the qualifying technologies listed by USPS can add value to your brand. The combination of the savings of the 2023 USPS Emerging and Advanced Technology promotion and the advantages of QR codes and other technologies, gives any marketer a powerful tool to elevate their campaigns.

 

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Contributors

Nicholas Pearson
Marketing Specialist
Meredith Collins
Customer Marketing Manager
John Parke
Customer Marketing Manager
Paige Goff
Vice President of Sustainability
Deborah Corn
Domtar Paper
Roland Basdeo
Graphic Designer
Susan Jones