A Fresh, "Quick" Idea for Direct Mail

Despite the internet and wide use of e-mail, direct mail is still one of the leading marketing tools used by businesses. In a recent survey by the CMO Council, eighty-four percent of respondents produce print collateral. Fifty-seven percent of those respondents specified that they use direct mail as a marketing tool.

From personal experience, I know that I still receive a ton of direct mail both at work and at home every week – if not daily. Because there are so many communication channels and ways to reach consumers and business professionals, it is critical that if you choose to use direct mail that the message stands out.

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One of the newer technologies that we are seeing a lot of promise in is adding two-dimensional bar codes to direct mail. These are also known as QR or quick response codes. Not only are they appearing in a variety of print outlets, but they are also appearing on billboards in Times Square and in television commercials. These QR codes started out in very consumer-driven advertisements, but there is great potential in using these in B2B applications.

Here’s a generic example: Company X is going to its biggest trade show of the year and is introducing its new product for the first time. This event is the best place to not only meet with existing customers, but to connect with prospective customers, too. However, the show floor has limited hours and it is filled with hundreds of vendor booths for attendees to visit. How do you capture the attention of this audience to get them to stop by the booth? You contact them before the show.

This can happen in several ways, but let’s assume direct mail is one of the chosen elements. Direct mail response rates are traditionally low, as the address can be incorrect or the piece may get tossed before it is even really looked at. Furthermore, if you are using a postcard or other smaller piece, the space for conveying your message is limited. That is where the QR codes come in. Anyone who has a smartphone (I am willing to bet the majority of executive-level business professionals do) can easily scan a QR code, which will instantly take them to a website that has more details or even an engaging video message.

 width=QR codes, as seen here, still have an eye-catching factor. This will help grab the audience’s attention before it is tossed in the trash. Additionally, they give you the ability to tell a deeper message than what can be said on a 5 x 7 postcard. QR codes are not the best tool for every audience, so it is important to know the demographics of those you are trying to reach. If you have questions about QR codes or a success story to share, let me know!

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