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Merge channels with QR codes and direct mail

It's likely that many companies already run multichannel marketing campaigns, using address verification and email validation software to keep track of their customers' contact information and send them materials through their preferred communication methods.

However, some organizations may still struggle with creating a strategy that draws a connection between the traditional and digital marketing worlds. A popular tactic for merging direct mail with online assets such as websites and social media sites has been adding quick response codes to postcards and letters. Yet many efforts to use QR codes have failed.

In a piece for Chief Marketer, Beth Negus Viveiros recommends that companies make sure the code is relevant and applicable to their particular campaign in order to achieve better results.

Jim Levinger, president of Q-Ray Media, told the magazine that there are a few rules that will make QR codes an asset, not a burden, in a marketing push. First, be sure the piece of mail that your customer receives carries a strong enough message to make them want to scan the code.

Equally important, make sure that once a consumer follows the QR code to a specific URL, he or she is able to read the content on the smaller screens of mobile devices. Create methods of measuring response rates and whether the effort delivered a satisfactory return on investment.

"If a QR code takes a prospect to a landing page that isn't relevant, the marketer will say 'I tried that and it didn't work,'" Levinger said. "Well, of course it didn't work, because the program wasn't very well thought-out. Too many folks have used QR codes as gimmicks, to fill white space in an ad. There needs to be a strategic point."

USPS recently launched a program to give more commercial organizations a reason to use QR codes. The mailing service announced in May that it would be giving companies a 2 percent postage discount for any cards, flats and letters that were sent First Class or via Standard Mail and that carried a 2D barcode.

Gary Reblin, the vice president of domestic products for USPS, commented that mobile technologies were among the fastest-growing marketing sectors, and said integrating them with direct mail could provide merchants with higher returns. He added that the power of direct mail to personalize communications would only be enhanced by mobile capabilities.ADNFCR-16001315-ID-800790357-ADNFCR