Direct Mail Magic with QR Codes

There’s a real estate boom happening where I live, and pretty much everywhere in North America right now. That means my mailbox gets filled with direct mail from realtors who want to sell me a new home or get me to list my home through their brokerage. We literally get dozens of these in a month, and I’m sure some of you do as well. For many, these postcards go directly into the recycle bin.  Others – like me – always take a glance at what’s moving and landing in the neighborhood. Maybe there’s a dream home out there that’s waiting to find us.

Direct Mail and Engagement

Direct Mail is a lot like that philosophical saying, “If a tree falls in the forest but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”. What I mean by that is the following:  If a marketer can’t tell if someone has looked at their direct mail piece or not, did it really create engagement? This doesn’t just apply to real estate agents, of course. It cuts across the many industries using direct mail to engage with customers and prospects: banks, insurance companies, car dealerships and furniture stores – they are all using direct mail to sell high-value items to high-value customers. Most, if not all, have no idea how to measure the full engagement of their campaigns.

Friction & Engagement

Calls to action on direct mailers (an e-mail address, a website, or a phone number) can provide a simple way to measure engagement and response. Still, in a digital world full of clicks and swipes, it’s often too much friction for someone to take the time and make a call or send an email. Yes, we’re just that lazy these days. Moreover, unless the marketer specifically asks, there’s no way of telling if an e-mail or phone call came as a result of the direct mail.

The question then becomes, is there a frictionless way to engage direct mail recipients that can also be specifically attributed to the campaigns themselves?

Personalized Direct Mail and QR Codes

Personalized direct mail campaigns leverage pre-addressed pieces directed to customer or prospect households. For example, a real estate agent may use a data file containing 500 addresses in a given neighborhood, and mail out individual postcards to the respective “homeowners” residing at these addresses.

By including a unique, personalized QR Code on each postcard – that might for example, allow a signup to a newsletter for exclusive information – the agent can implement frictionless response that implicitly ties back to that specific address and direct mail piece. When a homeowner scans the QR Code on the postcard, the realtor will know exactly which house the scan is from, and when the homeowner submits an e-mail address and name, that data would append immediately to the contact address data held by the agent.

Openscreen and Personalized QR Codes

Openscreen’s flexible API enables marketers and direct mail print systems to store contact address information, and in turn, generate unique scannable QR Codes tied to each. Marketers can generate batch files of QR Codes to bring to their print company, or printing presses can directly integrate to Openscreen to enable this functionality as a value-add for their customers.

Online advertisers like Google and Facebook may have disrupted the advertising landscape by moving measurable and frictionless ads to the online digital world, but by leveraging contactless technologies like QR Codes, physical advertising can implement a similar magic.

Enhancing Agriculture with QR Codes

Some experts suggest that if we don’t figure out a way to improve agricultural output by 2050, this planet will have more people than it can feed. That’s a scary, but not completely unrealistic thought. In response to that, almost every aspect of farming and agriculture undergoing some level of transformation using technology. After all, our current and future generations may depend on it.

The Importance of Good Soil

I recently came across the Netflix documentary “Kiss the Ground”. It takes a multifaceted view of the importance of soil management to promote better food outcomes, optimize our use of resources, and decrease our carbon footprint.  Many of us know that soil can trap carbon dioxide emissions, but I was surprised to learn that healthier soil is must more effective at the task.  Technology has become an important tool in measuring and improving the quality of soil around the world.

Agronomists and Soil Collection

Agronomists, the professionals who practice in the science and management of agriculture, collect soil for quality testing. This practice is becoming more important as farmers aim to get more out of their land. Soil is collected, sent to a lab, and analyzed on a regular basis.  Resulting data can drive better seed prescriptions, fertilizer recommendations, and even generate valuable carbon credits for farmers. Yet, surprisingly, soil collection is a very manual process. Agronomists often use clipboards and paper to capture data when they head out to fields, leaving actual data entry to technicians who receive samples at the lab.

Openscreen, QR Codes, and Agriculture Technology

We see QR Codes as an effective way to automate the agronomist’s soil-collection lifecycle. From field to lab, serialized QR Codes can allow soil collectors to scan a bag at the point of collection. From there, important data like time and location can automatically be captured, while the QR Code can be programmed to bring the agronomist to a data collection app. Then, workflows in the app can track the bag every time it is scanned, as seed prescriptions are generated, and carbon credits are accumulated.

Openscreen’s powerful SDK provides an easy way to generate unique, trackable QR Codes at scale, which can be used to digitize agriculture technology. As manual tasks like soil collection become important elements of our food supply chain, leveraging contactless technology like QR Codes throughout the lifecycle can provide quality, assurance, speed, and advanced reporting for all stakeholders involved.

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