USPS to launch mobile barcode incentive campaign

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The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will initiate a program this summer incenting businesses to incorporate 2D mobile codes on their direct marketing fliers, said Tom Foti, manager of direct mail and periodicals at USPS, during the panel “Promotions and Incentives for Mail” at the 2012 National Postal Forum in Orlando, Fla. Between July 1 and August 31, participating companies will receive a 2% discount on commercial mail containing a mobile barcode that leads to a website that either facilitates mobile commerce or contains a personalized URL.

The campaign is an evolution of the Postal Service's 2011 mobile barcode campaign, Foti said, which was implemented to retain customers, increase awareness and relevance of the agency, increase customer engagement, stimulate revenue growth and acquire new customers.

“We learned a lot about how customers used mobile bar codes,” Foti said of the far-reaching 2011 campaign that involved 4000 mailers sending 5.1 million pieces in 76,000 mailings.

However, 30% of participants did not use the best practices recommended by the agency. From those, Foti said, “we heard about customer complaints and bad experiences. We realized we had to be more instructive in setting our requirements.”

For the 2012 campaign, the USPS will be more specific in how enterprise-customers should incorporate 2D barcodes; additionally, the USPS will emphasize the importance of personalization and enabling mobile purchasing in order to drive value to consumers.

The new best practices guidelines for the 2012 Mobile Barcode campaign, to which participating companies must adhere, include sending consumers to a mobile optimized site that also has content relevant to the mailing. “Part of that relevance means giving the customer some directional copy so the customer knows what he's going to get by scanning the code,” Foti said. Finally, the USPS requests participating companies have an analytical platform to determine the effectiveness of the flyer with the mobile barcode.

Foti said enterprise customers should not send consumers to a site that enables electronic billing. “We don't want customers to use this for recurring bill payments,” Foti said. “That has risk on our First Class remittance volume.”

The 2012 Mobile Barcode campaign is consistent with the USPS's long-term technological goals toward integrating mail into multichannel campaigns, outlined by Patrick Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO of the USPS, during his keynote speech.

Enterprise customers interested in participating can register at the Business Customer Gateway (BCG).

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