Part II: Decoding the Intelligent Mail Barcode
For example, from his experience in the IMB pilot program, Charley Howard, VP of postal affairs for Harte-Hanks, a direct and targeted marketing solutions provider, recommends using a font with an adjustable x-y axis, especially when coding for mail trays. "You need to have a font that you can adjust the x-y axis on. You can't just click and drag and make it fit because if you do that, you make it an unreadable barcode, and you're going to have a problem," he explains.
In preparing millions of pieces for clients, Howard has had to rethink his company's quality control (QC) systems. "One of the things that a lot of people don't realize that you have to invest in is the QC. You can't read this barcode. And even using a scanner, how do you know what's there is what belongs there?" he asks. The solution, he says, is to develop systems that interlink, so when you scan a piece, all of the necessary data is in front of you. Updating QC alone can mean sizable investments of time and money for printers and fulfillment houses.
Improve Your Trigger and E-mail Campaigns
The availability of pURLs, landing pages and variable data technology has enabled mail marketers to conduct trigger campaigns, where a customer or purchase behavior leads to another marketing communication. Adding postal delivery information to a trigger campaign or CRM cycle creates an enhanced opportunity to make timely, relevant customer touches down the line.
"The barcode provides us information on when the piece is being delivered, and then based on that we can have further communications go out," Longacre details. He adds that he cannot imagine doing a marketing campaign without IMB technology, now that he's experienced its benefits.
Chris Duncan, senior director of promotions for OfficeMax, says IMB is more about strategy than compliance. "If we have multi-
tactic campaigns, we can time our tactics better. So if we're going to mail someone a catalog and then follow up with a phone call, we can make sure that follow-up phone call is timed correctly," Duncan explains. Longacre says his clients that send e-mail reminders 48 hours after a direct mail campaign hits its in-home date experience a 25 percent to 30 percent boost in response.