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The following is an excerpt from my book, “Business Transformation: A Path To Profitability For The Mailing And Fulfillment Industries.” To read more, visit the book’s official website here. One way to ensure that legacy revenue continues to roll in as you make this transition is to work with your clients on ways they can make their business communications more interactive. As marketers increasingly turn to electronic media, they are seduced by the instantaneous response and tracking and the ability to more rapidly get a dialog going with recipients when using digital media. Your job is to educate them on how to effectively blend direct mail or other printed output into that mix, making their campaigns even more effective than they might be with digital alone. That means making print interactive – giving it the ability to deliver a more effective means of tracking results and a simpler path to getting that dialog going. Most marketers consider print to be a static medium. It is expensive to produce and time-consuming to distribute. It can be difficult to track results of a print-only campaign, and even more difficult to change or refine strategies midstream. This is a misconception. Print can be interactive, cost-effective, trackable and flexible when implemented properly in a multi-touch campaign. The most common means of making print interactive is by including coupons. If they are appropriately marked with offer codes, bar codes or other means of tracking their source, marketers can measure their effectiveness. But it can take time to tally the results. There are two other tools available right now that can include coupons (or not), but also deliver a richer set of results against a wider variety of metrics:

Personalized URLS or pURLS –

These are URLs, or internet addresses, that are personalized to the recipient (e.g., www.johndoe.retailoutlet.com). The recipient is directed to a personalized web microsite directly related to the promotional piece she received, whether by mail or email. The site generally has a similar look and feel to the original communication and can be personalized not only with her name, but also by using demographic, psychographic and other known data about the recipient to make it a relevant experience. The pURL establishes a direct link between printed direct mail and the Internet. As soon as a recipient hits her pURL, the dialog begins, as does the tracking. It not only provides an opportunity for the recipient to take advantage of a relevant offer, but it also gives the marketer an opportunity to collect more information about the recipient in order that future communications can be even more finely tuned.

QR Codes –

The disadvantage of a pURL on a printed piece is that recipients have to key in an address into a web browser. This may involve waiting until they get home or have a break from work, and that may result in the action being sidelined. This can also be true of coupons. This is one reason that QR Codes are becoming more popular in the U.S. (they have already penetrated the market more deeply in Asia and Europe). By placing a QR Code instead of or in addition to a pURL on a printed piece, you provide the recipient with two options: Either type the pURL into a browser, or simply point and click the QR Code with your phone camera to be taken to the exact same destination in a mobile-friendly format. It is easier than typing in the address, it can be done on the run, and it is still unique enough in the U.S. to make people curious enough to check it out. Once that QR Code is snapped, the tracking of the campaign results begins. Thanks for reading! Want more information on QR Codes? My companies can help!

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