QR codes. While they may look like an old promo gimmick from the alien film "District 9," everyone connected to direct mail is talking about them. They're the next big wave marketers appear to be jumping on. QR is just one type of 2D barcode, but they are everywhere: on billboards, printed ads in magazines, signs in cities, business cards, for-sale signs at homes ... and they're on envelopes and postcards, tons of them.
"QR" stands for "Quick Response" for a reason, and it also explains the codes' popularity: They give marketers another way to get a passive prospect to take immediate action — make a purchase, register for an event or take a survey. They dramatically turn a printed direct mail piece into an interactive mobile call to action.
A recent industry study revealed that QR code generation and usage has gone up 700 percent since January 2010. The number of scans in the U.S. has reached 35,000 to 40,000 a day from only 1,000 to 1,500. This, of course, coincides with the growth of smart phone usage, as QR codes (which consist of encoded text, a URL and other data) are designed to be scanned with a smart phone camera—connecting the prospect with a website, video, interactive map, coupon and so on.
The December webinar entitled "QR Code Best Practices - Increase Your Direct Mail Response and ROI," put on by Direct Marketing IQ, featured two direct marketers who've successfully used QR codes in campaigns for various companies: David Henkel, president of Johnson and Quin, a leader in targeted full-service direct mail printing, and Val DiGiacinto, vice president of The Ace Group, an industry leading marketing and print solutions provider, including QR codes.
After the webinar (still available on-demand) wrapped, both panelists were hit with many questions from interested listeners. Here are a few of those questions and answers.