We have all been told that when opportunity knocks, we need to answer. In the last eight months, a loud knock has come to our industry in the form of an odd-looking, dotted square called a QR code. The quick response code, which has proliferated on printed material all over the world, can give a marketer the leverage needed over the competition to expand his business. If you haven’t heard the loud knock, read on.
QR codes now dot the printed landscape on posters, billboards, and print ads. Even mail pieces are being printed with QR codes—from postcards to envelopes for transactional and direct mailings. The QR code is simply a barcode that can be read by a mobile phone and link the smartphone user to deeper content on the Web.
Why should the printing industry care about this technology that seems directed at a younger generation? A QR code can draw a target audience to your website or to personalized content, and that is most effective in engaging customers. When a customer opts into an experience, it stands out over the vast array of offers we are all subjected to daily. The QR code bridges the physical world of print media with the digital space of the Web; it allows print to be more relevant in a digital world and extends the reach of physical media.
Most importantly, the knowledge of how to use and leverage the QR code gives you an advantage over your competitors, and over the alternatives people seek when needing printed material or marketing services.
At Pitney Bowes, the new Connect+ Series transforms the way most people think about a mailing system—with its capability to print QR codes and customized graphics for more effective communications. It is one example of a new printing technology that can easily print marketing messages, including custom QR codes, on the outside of an envelope at the moment of mailing—no waiting, no lead times.
Equally versatile and easy to use, the just introduced pbSmart Codes QR offering allows businesses to create a single QR code that can be added to an email, a poster, even uploaded to a Connect+ printer and used in direct mail. To remain competitive, choices to effectively reach end-users must include these digital options.
In a survey of small businesses conducted in April by Pitney Bowes, while only 9% of respondents used QR codes in the last year, 45% of those who did are already using them on business cards, print ads, and direct mail. And the trend is growing fast. According to USA Today, use of QR codes is up 4,000% in the last year.
Many businesses don’t have the resources or knowledge to maximize the effectiveness of their marketing communications or begin to know how to integrate QR codes into the mix. They often look to outsource. Who better than the local printer, who generates the original marketing materials, to extend their services and expertise to advise them? By understanding the power of using QR codes and having the equipment and services in place to easily design and integrate them on marketing communications and mail pieces, the printer then becomes more of a valued marketing services consultant who happens to do printing.
That can be the sustainable competitive advantage you need to earn your customers’ business. With the right tools, you can offer clients new expertise on how to leverage QR codes in their marketing, and print their customized documents and envelopes quickly and efficiently with new technology.
With the Connect+ Series, the placement of a QR code on an envelope transforms a mail piece from a static message with limited shelf life to one that opens the door to a deeper exposure to the product, service, or company that sends it. It is a way to get the recipient to link back to the business to see the full breadth of the services it offers. The QR code is engaging and immediate. It is the door to expanded opportunity, and it’s time to open it.
To find out more about leveraging QR codes and the Connect+ Series, visit Pitney Bowes (Booth 2010) during GRAPH EXPO 2011.