A Missed Local Opportunity- Is Valpak still relevant?

Recently, I opened the blue Valpak envelope that arrives in my mailbox regularly. To tell you the truth, I had not opened one in years; it went straight to the recycle bin. This time around what caught my eye was the QR code on the envelope that promised more offers if I snapped it. I did, and it landed me on a generic Teleflora offer.

I did open the envelope and looked inside. Some good coupons from local restaurants, but no place that we regularly go. There were some OK services offers from plumbing to carpeting, but nothing that moved me to take action.

What most people don’t know is that Valpak is sometimes run by a franchisee locally, rather than from a national headquarters.  To be clear, I have no idea how that relationship works or the mechanics around how Valpak runs operates this model. But what I do know is that I expected local offers when I snapped the QR code with my phone. It was the QR code that got me to engage with the envelope after all these years.

Valpak is still relevant.  After all, they did get me to open the envelope. However, they completely missed the mark by not leveraging the unique features offered by QR codes to present hyper-targeted, local offers down from zip code level to the nearest shops to my phone’s location. One last thing; by effectively integrating mobile into the flow of direct mail offers, there is the opportunity of increasing the pass-along effect by making the offer portable on mobile devices.

2 thoughts on “A Missed Local Opportunity- Is Valpak still relevant?”

  1. Interesting blog post. I think the discussion needs to dig deeper – both on ability to market locally and the use of QR codes.

    Technically, scanning a QR code will take you to a web page (possibly with some static parameters). So it’s up to that web page to have geolocation smarts to make a truly local offer. That in turn means the website has to ask for permission to retrieve your location, at which time many customers will opt out in fear of not being a read-only interaction. The only way around that would be to customize the QR code to include the location information, which now becomes an issue of how granular the production and distribution can be without exploding cost?

    I think where QR codes have a better chance of offering value, is if the QR unlocks a special offer that can otherwise not be obtained. It enables an active engagement with an ROI for the consumer.

    I’ve played with QR codes for a bit, and they had a novelty value, but I think that has worn off already, mostly because they appear in so many non-value-add applications that people have now created a blind spot towards them.

    In terms of marketing locally, I think the better opportunity exists with a mobile application that the consumer has already established trust with. That application, based on that trust, may have gotten permission to access geolocation data and can use that data to provide superior localized services. But it also has to be comprehensive enough to be sticky and engaging.

    If Valpak wants to stay relevant, they should develop an app (unless they have already). As I walk into a store, or based on other personal data available to the app, they could notify me off special offers. If they can figure out a way to save consumers time and money without being too intrusive, then they may have a formula for the social generation.

    1. While a generic code can take you to a page, more advanced applications for these types of tags allow you to take full advantage of the location/GPS functions that most smart phones have. You can print a single QR and have it render different offers based on where it was snapped.

      I think the problem that Valpak has to overcome with regard to a mobile app, is how to bring that into a franchise situation. In any case, the mobile world is constantly evolving, and for one, I’d like to see offers made for me, pushed to me…as long as I have opted in. Don’t want get too Minority Report like though.

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