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USPS Mobile Barcode Redux

Date: June, 2012 --

Just as it did last year, even though you may have missed it, the US Postal Service will give you a nice juicy discount for direct mail that carries a mobile barcode. An important change this year is that the code, such as a QR code or even a 2D code, must link to either a functioning e-commerce site that is mobile compatible or to a PURL (personalized URL). The discount will be available from July 1 through August 31. (Yes, we know it’s not a big promotion season but that’s the point, isn’t it?)

QR codes, which many people find to be somewhat non-artistic, are not the required form of barcode, so if you can find something else with a more agreeable aesthetic by all means try it. Any code that a consumer can scan with their mobile phone that brings them to the online content will be acceptable. This could include a digital watermark or a snap tag. Keep in mind that 2D bar codes are read by many more phones than are QR codes, enabling your mobile content to reach a broader audience.

Eligible classes are Standard (Regular and Non-Profit) Letters and Flats and First-Class presort and Automation letters, Cards and Flats. Machinable letters, cards and flats in First Class and Standard bearing Intelligent Mail barcodes will be eligible. Non-profit direct mailers may also apply for the discount; however, periodicals are not eligible. Postage payment must be by permit imprint.

If your company hasn’t already registered at the USPS Business Customer Gateway, you’ll need to do that. Completion of a short survey is required.

The summer is not a bad time for a direct mail promotion, by the way. Certain products and offers are ‘warmly’ welcomed by consumers. Short-trip travel ideas to nearby historic sites, concerts, waterparks and other warm weather diversions would be in order. Lawn care and home maintenance are in season, and of course back-to-school offers for university students need to be sent in late July/early August.

And if you are a restaurant you might just emulate the direct mail campaign we describe in another of this month’s articles from Café Express in Texas, which very effectively used a ‘mail-PURL-social media’ strategy to introduce its breakfast menu.

Before you run off and plan your next innovative direct mail/QR campaign, don’t forget about the address data to which you are mailing this promotion. Data Services, Inc. is a leading provider of everything from address hygiene to merge/purge to NCOA that will ensure your database performs as well as your content. Think your data is already in perfect shape? Put it to the test with our free Data Quality Test and know before you mail!