Keeping Print Relevant

Quick Response (QR) codes are free to generate. A typical sell price is $100, but I have seen as high as $750. As a PSP or MSP (print service provider or marketing service provider), this is almost too good to be true. Having generated these 2D barcodes across hundreds of campaigns, I have to tell you it is not.

Yes, there is a slight investment into training prepress personnel (about 30 minutes), and yes, it feels really funny for the first few times when you are sitting across the table from your client as the so-called “expert,” but it is well worth it in the long run.

Two-dimensional QR codes are always square and typically no smaller than a 1x1-inch pattern of dots that you are seeing crop up everywhere, from direct mail to event name tags and billboards. Their fundamental value is that they let the target consumer engage with the ad by letting a mobile device scan it and take some sort of action about the product or service.

For example, imagine a postcard mailing you produced for your client to introduce a new type of power washer. Now imagine there was a QR code placed on the postcard which, once scanned, takes the consumer to a YouTube video to show them the results of the equipment in multiple scenarios. Would that help close the gap in the consumer’s mind about the value of the product and also drive sales to your customer?

A REAL postal discount!

One can no longer say the USPS is not being aggressive! The US Postal Service recently announced a 3-cent upfront discount for all Standard and First Class letters that have a QR code printed on them. As marketers and printers, we know that clients will often try to reduce the cost of print, but they will rarely question established postage costs. We also know that QR codes are white-hot right now as they are improving the response rates of direct mail.

My advice: Explain the opportunity to your customers. Tell them about this first-ever USPS summer sale and the opportunity to test a QR code on their next direct mail piece at no additional charge to them. Keep the $.03 fee in there for the QR code generation and consulting time it takes to figure out how to best drive response to your clients’ piece. For digital print and/or litho (yes, QR codes work just as well in the litho process), this can translate to a significant revenue opportunity this summer as well as greater mindshare and relationship with your customer.

By the way, the discount is for a limited time only and ends August 31, so start innovating with your customers today!

And as always, keep printing, my friends.

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