The challenge of measuring and increasing direct mail engagement

Call tracking has been the primary go-to for measuring direct mail responses for years. It involves assigning a unique phone number to every outgoing direct mail campaign. Once deployed, these numbers will track customer engagement rates based on how many times companies hear back from their audience through incoming calls.

Phone tracking makes perfect sense when monitoring direct mail responses. Still, it presents one significant downside—phone calls can’t take an audience directly to a digital destination, providing little room for omnichannel experiences that increase the quality of customer interactions.

Katie Dyson, Marketing Manager at DRMG–Canada's leading Direct Mailer, with over 4,000 unique clients and 20 years under its belt, wanted to tap into a new touchpoint that served both as a direct response tracking tool and a seamless way for their advertising clients to engage with potential customers.

“For our company and clients, QR Code adoption success would mean: (1) Adding an additional point of engagement; (2) Effective attribution tracking that proves the impact and value of direct mail as a touchpoint; (3) Capturing location data which we can later use for campaign improvements.”

A QR Code to serve as a trackable customer touchpoint

Call tracking remains the dominant attribution tool for direct mail pieces. But Katie and the marketing team wanted to present a more definite engagement metric for their clients—one that can also double as a seamless customer touchpoint driving website traffic and conversions.

For Katie, the answer was dynamic QR Codes:

“If we can see that someone scans X times, that’s just further attribution for our campaigns. And if clients can prove it on their end through referral traffic, then it’s an easy conversation in terms of proving value through direct mail.”

Dynamic QR Codes provide access to a plethora of marketing benefits for traditional advertisers. For one, it allows businesses to add attribution tracking to physical marketing channels, like direct mail. Every QR Code scan collects first-party data, which is essential for Katie when measuring campaign performance.

Uniqode’s (formerly Beaconstac) dynamic QR Code solution offers versatility

Direct mail campaigns are dynamic by nature, often requiring adjustments based on various factors.

For instance, as Katie mentioned, the online destinations clients intend to direct traffic to at the beginning of a campaign aren’t necessarily fixed. Clients may decide to replace their existing promotional landing page at any time.

The versatility that dynamic QR Codes offer stood out for Katie:

“One of the things that stood out to us was the dynamic aspect. If we can keep the code the same, that’s huge for direct mail because if we use an incorrect phone number, there’s little we can do in terms of rectifications since the mail is already printed. It’s not like a digital ad where you can just take it down.”

Deploying dynamic QR Codes provided the flexibility the team needed to remedy the occasional human error. These QR Code variants allow instantaneous updates to their encoded destinations, which means their marketing team is free to edit each QR Code’s content even as the direct mail pieces are en route to their recipients.

“Dynamic QR Codes provide that extra bit of flexibility. Having that dynamic capability means that if a client asks ‘Can the QR Code go to this page instead?’ We can be like—actually, it can.”

Trackable QR Codes help optimize future direct mail campaigns

In addition to real-time updates, another thing that stood out for Katie was dynamic QR Codes’ ability to offer a mode for capturing audience engagement, which they compile for valuable marketing insights. Each QR Code scan on direct mail collateral captured first-party data, like unique engagements, dates, and location.

According to Katie, location tracking, in particular, brought significant value for the direct mail agency’s future campaign optimizations:

“The location tracking offered by Uniqode (formerly Beaconstac), that’s huge. We can see where people scan from and we can actually reuse that data to better target direct mail campaigns in the future.”

Scan location is just one of the metrics that can be collected from a QR Code scan. But once visualized into a report, it can provide a snapshot of a particular area’s demographics, which Katie and the team used to optimize an essential aspect of their marketing segmentation.

“We’ve used it on certain campaigns that are a little bit larger. We just do an export of the postal codes, upload it, and get the targeting. Or we can do reverse lookup—if we export the postal codes of where most people scan from, then we can look up what demographics are in that area and target similar areas based on that.”

DRMG migrates all its scan data and analytics into its data analytics system via Uniqode’s (formerly Beaconstac) API. Once pulled out, the data becomes available for easy viewing, allowing each client to ascertain their campaign’s current engagement performance.

“We also used Uniqode's (formerly Beaconstac) API to migrate scan data into our proprietary insight system so our customers can see their calls and scans all in one place.”

The outcome

DRMG found the exact tools it needed to configure a robust, convenient, and measurable customer touchpoint through Uniqode’s (formerly Beaconstac) dynamic QR Code solution. Each dynamic QR Code on a direct mail piece provided a portal that instantly connected each client to their target audiences. This frictionless connection led to an improvement in the direct mail agency’s overall engagement rate:

“As a whole, QR Code implementation on direct mail campaigns has definitely increased our engagement metrics. We’re also planning to do a detailed study on the effectiveness of QR Code usage with all the clients we’ve worked with to pitch to future prospects.”

As we’re writing this, DRMG has crossed 68,000+ QR Code engagements, reaching nearly 28,000+ unique users from over 200 cities in Canada. And due to dynamic QR Codes’ attributable nature, DRMG is now able to offer a more efficient point of interaction for its direct mail campaigns—allowing clients to expand on product value instantly while capturing insightful audience data.

28,000+
unique users engaged

200+
cities reached

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INDUSTRY

Direct Mail Advertising

LOCATION

Ontario, Canada

COMPANY SIZE

Mid-sized enterprise

OUTCOME

68,000+
scans
28,000+
unique users engaged
200+
cities reached
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“Uniqode's (formerly Beaconstac) platform has provided us with tools to formulate better and more interactive direct mail marketing campaigns. Dynamic QR Codes have given us more flexibility and leeway during campaign implementation. Advanced analytics has allowed us to derive campaign-specific insights and iterate on the fly.”

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Katie Dyson

Senior Digital Strategy Manager, Direct Response Media Group (DRMG)

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