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Home arrow Tuesdays with Tukaiz arrow Tuesdays with Tukaiz Blog arrow USPS Mobile Barcode Discount: New Guidelines for 2012
USPS Mobile Barcode Discount: New Guidelines for 2012
Monday, July 23 2012

Last summer, the USPS announced a program that would provide a 3% postage discount to business mailers and marketers who place a mobile barcode, such as a QR Code, anywhere on their direct mail piece. This discount was an experiment focused simply on increasing the use of mobile barcodes for integrated media experiences and encouraging more direct mail marketing. With significant growth in the use and adoption of mobile technology over the past year, the USPS direct mail promotion is back for a second round, running from July 1 to August 31, 2012. This promotion builds upon its initial requirements to highlight a few key changes relative to the trends quickly emerging in mobile technology.

Why is this promotion a big deal? Discounts on postage are most often limited to extremely large mass mailings that many businesses cannot afford to do. The mobile barcode discount extends this opportunity to businesses of all sizes by requiring relatively low mailing volume and encourages them to leverage a newer technology that has recently gained a quite a bit of interest in the U.S. A recent study by InfoTrends entitled Mobile Technology: Making Print Interactive reported a 194% year-over-year growth of marketers using mobile barcodes from 2010 to 2011.

This year's new requirements will also help guide marketers in the right direction when it comes to their mobile marketing and mobile commerce strategy with a few key changes:


  • The mobile barcode must direct the recipient to a mobile-optimized website. If a product is being advertised on the piece, the entire purchase process must be optimized for mobile devices. If a personalized website or URL is present, the landing page or microsite linked via a mobile barcode must be optimized for mobile devices. Last year's promotion didn't specify that content linked via barcodes needed to be optimized for mobile devices, resulting in lots of barcodes but also a lot of poor end-to-end experiences from mailers looking for discounts. This year's promotion tries to enforce some best practices that mobile marketers need to follow.
  • The discount has been reduced from 3% to 2%. From this change, we can assume that there is anticipation for a large number of participants for this year's promotion due to the 2011 promotion yielding a high number of participants, as well as demand for achieving postal rate discounts in any way possible.


The proper execution of mobile barcodes and mobile commerce ensure a memorable experience for the recipient, encouraging engagement in future interactions. The changes made to this year's promotion show that the USPS is raising the bar on direct mail, realigning with where mobile trends are going, and pushing marketers to do more work in the interest of the recipient to qualify.

In addition to changes in the participation criteria, there are a variety of resources that have been made available on the USPS website for those interested in learning more about mobile technology, best practices in using it, and understanding how to participate in the promotion. These tools complementing the promotion help to ensure marketers put their best foot forward by integrating new technologies with their mailings in an effort to drive more sales for the business and more mail for the USPS.


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