Today’s marketers have more options than ever before. Should you use a personalized URL? QR code? 1:1 postcard? They are all effective tools. But which tool is the right one?

Although we tend to think about personalized URLs, QR codes, and the like as types of marketing campaigns, they are really response mechanisms. You receive a postcard in the mail. It has terrific graphics, smart copy, and a compelling offer. That’s the marketing campaign. Now what? How are people going to respond to your call to action? That’s the response mechanism.

For example, recipients can do the following:

• Log into a personalized URL

• Snap a QR code and be taken to a mobile website

• Make a telephone call

• Go to your website (general URL)

• Tear off a form and mail it back

It’s All About the Response

There are many ways to respond to the offer they have received. The “right” response mechanisms can vary at any given time based on your campaign and target audience.

Even if you are sending a highly personalized postcard, for example, you might want to use a telephone number as your primary response mechanism. Let’s say you are selling vacation packages to retirees. It is possible for a travel company to put together very personalized mailers based on income and past vacation packages purchased, but for this particular audience a telephone number might net the most responses.

If you’re an insurance company looking to generate leads and qualify prospects, you might want to encourage recipients to log into a personalized URL. There, they can answer questions that will help you qualify those leads and provide them with customized responses based on their individual needs, but in a no-pressure environment.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to market a mobile application to help consumers compare grocery store prices and download coupons, you might want to use a QR code. This allows people to access and download the app immediately—at the very moment it catches their interest and on the very device on which it is intended to operate.