August 18, 2011

Quick Response Codes – A Quick Overview

WHAT’S A QR CODE?

A QR Code (it stands for “Quick Response”) is a mobile phone readable bar-code that’s been big in Japan forever, broke into Europe a while back, and is now getting traction in USA.In its simplest sense think “print based hypertext link” – simply encode a URL into the QR Code and then point a mobile phone (or other camera-enabled mobile) at it. If the device has had QR Code decoding software installed on it, it will fire up its browser and go straight to that URL.But it doesn’t stop there – a QR Code can also contain a phone number, an SMS message, V-Card data or just plain alphanumeric text, and the scanning device will respond by opening up the correct application to handle the encoded data appropriately courtesy of the FNC1 Application Identifiers that are embedded in the encoded data.

The technical specifications for a QR Code are set down in the ISO-18004 standard so they are the same all over the world, and the only significant variations from one QR code to another (apart from the data it contains) is the number of modules required to store the data.To make things a bit more robust, the QR Code also contains its own error correction data, internal orientation calibration and self-alignment markers. In this way it doesn’t matter whether the QR code is upside down or wrapped around a curved surface, the message will still get through.That’s the technical bit – what does it do for marketing – Speeds the decision process up, improves immediate response so getting sales and clients engaged more rapidly. Creates an immediate response to a campaign with an immediate call to action rather than a delayed one that often deters the client from activity and sales.

 

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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August 5, 2011

Not a Mark of Distinction

Royal Mail without consultation to any of its 60 million customers or to major stakeholders in the Direct Mail industry such as Romax, proposed imposing (and maybe still are) what they are calling a Mark Design Specification (MDS). What is an MDS? It is a message that Royal Mail intend to print over the top of all mailed items that they deliver (99 plus % of addressed mail to the UK’s households), in an attempt to inform the public that this mail has indeed been delivered by Royal Mail.

We are opposed to not only the way that this has been proposed (i.e. – without consultation and via email giving only a few weeks notice) but also the damage that it will cause in terms of destraction of the marketing message and potential obscurance of the message being delivered to our client’s customers by Royal Mail’s marketing medium – direct mail.

Below is a letter sent from Romax to Jim Bulmer, Head of Franking and Mailing House Development, Royal Mail.

If you want to enter this discussion and add weight to the cancelation of what certainly is not a mark of distinction – let us know.

Sent 5th August 2011

Dear Jim

I have been keeping up to date with the above proposed Mark Design Specification to be printed directly by Royal Mail onto posted items to delivered by Royal Mail both through ‘End to End’ and as part of the ‘Final Mail’ Downstream Access service.

When I first received the notification via e-mail of the imminent introduction without any prior knowledge or consultation to my knowledge, I was flabbergasted!

Although I appreciate the importance of branding and recognition to Royal Mail in a de-monopolised market, to introduce this mark without discussion is absurd.

Our clients use the outer envelope, packaging and print space on mailers to create brand awareness and their own product, not Royal Mail’s. Use of DM as a media is increasingly difficult to sell, despite its clear advantages, so to alienate key users of the medium by not consulting with them or, to my knowledge, doing any market research is incredulous. Just because regulation says you can do it, doesn’t imply you should do it!

Having discussed this with many clients, and with my account managers dealing with over 500 client users of Direct Mail, I must stress our deep concern over this proposal, which simply adds additional complications to work and will drive clients further away from post as a marketing medium should it be introduced.

Does Royal Mail actually believe, that the 60 Million recipients of mail across the UK don’t know that Royal Mail delivers the vast majority of their mail? Has any research been done into this?

I hold Royal Mail in great respect and often defend it against undeserved bad press, but on this occasion, the bad press is deserved.

I look forward to hearing positive news over the withdrawal of this intended MDS.

Yours sincerely,

Robin Sumner

Managing Director

 

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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