Ever noticed those 65 black bars that stretch beneath the mailing address on most mail you receive? That’s the Intelligent Barcode (IBC). What looks like a string of seemingly meaningless vertical black lines is actually a coded message packed with information about that mail–things like where it is headed and who mailed it.
Here’s the key though. In order to glean deeper meaning, you need to work with a mailing service that has the expertise and equipment to collect all the information to be gleaned through the Intelligent Barcode and turn it into meaningful reports.
We’ve been supplying such reports to our clients for the past six months.
Here’s how it works:
The IBC is sprayed on all the mail we process–from first-class mail like bills to flats and periodicals.
As a piece of mail makes stops along its route from our office to the post office to a recipient’s mailbox, the USPS scans it. We collect that information from the post office and, through specialized software, turn the data into reports.
What kind of reports, you ask? Well, some of the most valuable information we provide through these reports is about timing. When did the mail get to its destination? Sometimes businesses feel that their mail, especially direct mail pieces, are sent into a black hole. The reports we provide shine a light, showing business owners when their mail arrived at its intended destination. It usually does, by the way, and if it doesn’t, then we can go to the post office with proof and try to figure out what the problem is.
Here’s one way a business can use these reports. Let’s say a company has an important, time-sensitive mailing that goes out every year. The results from an IBC report could show whether they were sending their mailing soon enough. If some mailings aren’t reaching recipients on time, the mailing date could be adjusted for the next year. If the mailing is national in scope, differences in delivery time based on geography could be monitored and marketing plans for the future could be adjusted accordingly.
These reports can also show businesses the impact of a mailing. For example, if your offer for a free doughnut arrived at homes on a Wednesday and you saw an uptick in traffic to your doughnut shop on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, you could assume that your direct mail doughnut offer had something to do with it.
The biggest benefit in using the IBC to create these reports is that it makes postal delivery more transparent. It gives you the peace of mind that your direct mail is being delivered to your audience.
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