By Christine Winter, PR/marketing programs manager
You’ve probably heard the mantra “we live in a world where we are bombarded daily with irrelevant and generic data, messages and information.” And by now, you’ve probably heard that embedding personalized images and URLs (PURLs) into your targeted marketing campaigns can help you cut through the clutter and generate a higher response.
While all of that remains true, marketers – and the service providers that support them – must continue to adapt to the ever-changing marketing culture across print and new media. In today’s mobile society, that means the integration of such digital technology as quick response (QR) codes within traditional direct mail pieces. And this trend is gaining major momentum.
So, what is this technology? What marketing goals do they meet? Why should you include them in your marketing? Here’s what we think.
To be literal, QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that have significantly greater storage than that of a traditional barcode. They were originally used for tracking parts by vehicle manufacturers, but are now quickly gaining popularity with the mobile phone industry. When incorporated into one-to-one marketing communications, smartphone users can scan and decode them with a QR code reader to be automatically linked to websites, pictures, videos, product reviews, social media sites, etc. For print providers, they offer a unique way to use the print component to drive a response through other media and continue the conversation.
So, okay, you’ve heard all this. But what you might not have known is that XMPie makes generating QR codes within one-to-one marketing communication pieces a breeze. We have customers using them already to direct recipients of their direct mail pieces to PURLs – what we like to call response URLs™ (RURLs) – videos, and even dynamic maps. And they are seeing results, which they attest to the fact that scanning a code to get to a website is much easier than typing the address in a mobile browser, for example.
The XMPie Advantage
When creating personalized QR codes, XMPie and its Automatic Dynamic Object Replacement (ADOR) technology has a unique edge over other technology providers. This is because with XMPie software, you never have to worry about the information in the QR code (i.e. Jane Doe’s contact information) matching the information in the personalized communication piece on which it was included (i.e. Jane Doe’s business card). Consistency between the QR code and its context is automatic because XMPie encodes and images a QR code in the same step, leaving no room for mistakes in selecting the code image for a given individual.
This differs from non-XMPie solutions in that many times the creation of a QR code image and the coding of the image are done by separate tools. The room for errors in selecting the wrong image is wide open, and the process coordination investments in order to minimize these types of errors are very high. Hence, with XMPie, a match is effortless – it’s just built in – and creating QR codes is really simple and reliable.
Just Five Easy Steps
Process for Creating QR Codes in XMPie
- Open static art in InDesign
- Link to data source
- Create a new Content Object (information to be encoded into code can be a combination of static text and variable text)
- Create a graphic box on the design where the QR Code will go
- Select the new graphic box and double click the Content Object to link the two together
The bottom line? QR codes are soon-to-be-everywhere, and they make it easier for your customers to access the information you want them to respond to. And let’s not forget that with XMPie, you can actually track QR codes just like any other event or action in a campaign. So, yes, you should include them in your marketing. It’s as easy as X-M-Pie. Cheesy, I know.
Check out the previous blog post by David Baldaro for an example of a campaign XMPie executed using QR codes, and stay tuned for more on this very fascinating technology.