USPS plans discount for marketers using 2D barcodes

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The US Postal Service will conduct a promotion this summer rewarding mailers for using two-dimensional barcodes on their marketing materials as part of the organization's larger initiative to attract advertisers to the mail.

The promotion, scheduled for this July and August, will give mailers who use smartphone friendly barcodes a 3% postage discount on qualifying Standard and First-Class mail letters, flats or cards.

Tom Foti, manager of marketing mail at the USPS, said the organization does not have a specific volume goal for the initiative. However, it is keeping an eye on various metrics as it increases awareness of the use of QR codes on mailings, he said.

“We will monitor the amount of mail, volume and number of customers, but I think this is an investment into the long-term benefit of the products,” said Foti. “So we want to work with our customers as a way of getting awareness up.”

The promotion is open to marketers, including nonprofits, who submit qualifying First-Class or Standard mail letters, flats or cards electronically using a permit imprint payment method, the USPS said in a statement. All participating mailpieces must have a mobile two-dimensional barcode on the outside of, or within the mailpiece, and all marketing information relayed by the barcode must be relevant to the mailpiece's contents, the organization said.

The USPS has not yet discussed extending the program beyond its planned two-month period, said Dave Lewin, PR representative at the USPS, via email.

The USPS, which ran a net loss of $8.5 billion in its 2010 fiscal year, is also conducting a “postage back guarantee this month for large marketers who use the mail. It will also launch a b-to-b marketing campaign this September to tout the mail as an effective marketing medium.

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