I received an email message that CommScore reported 14 million United States users scanned a QR code in the month of June. This begs the question, what are folks doing to leverage QR in their business? We continue to see the reports that smart phone shipments are outpacing PC shipments; it becomes when not if they overtake the number of PCs. All of these smart phones present opportunities for keeping your customers engaged, which means at a minimum one must have a mobile-friendly web site and content specifically developed for the growing number of smart phone users.
I think the US lags behind Asia and Europe in harnessing the marketing power of QR. I expect we will see more uses for QR, which will shortly morph into near field communication (NFC), by advertisers in ways that continue to improve quality of service and communication with their audience. For instance in Asia, one can scan a QR whilst commuting to work in the morning, and upon returning home that evening the product, will be at their door ready for use in the evenings dinner. Other examples I have found include embedding a QR/Chip into monuments for our departed to be remembered in a multi-media format. Headstone maker’s need only embed an inexpensive chip into the stone/vase/niche. If you have been to a museum in the past year, you have probably experienced this technology at work, when you scan and listen to the art history. Disney World’s Epcot even used this technology to allow children to engage in an episode of Kim-Possible, while mom and dad make their happy hour pub crawl through the world show case, brilliant.
Creativity in Marketing
Thursday August 4, 2011
MoreVisibility’s Twitterchat took place today, August 4th. MoreVisibility’s chat (#MVCHAT) discussed some new and creative ways that marketers are engaging with consumers. Participants included Executive Vice President, Danielle Leitch (@DanielleLeitch) and Mike Siers (@mikesiers). The topics discussed included:
MVCHAT is a weekly 30 minute discussion starting at 3:30 pm (est) covering a variety of online marketing topics. Clients, advertisers, and online marketing enthusiasts are invited to participate in this rapid-fire conversation by following and including #MVCHAT in tweets. Read more about #MVCHAT in the news here.
Barcodes to be read by mobile devices are popping-up everywhere – theme parks, “For Sale” signs on houses, DVDs, cereal boxes, and pretty much every other flat (or slightly curved) surface! Although, there is not a standard 2D barcode platform dominating the mobile tagging market, two types have gained recognition in the consumer market place: Microsoft Tags (made of triangles) and Quick Response (QR) Codes (made of squares). Have you seen a version of either of these two types of mobile barcodes?
Microsoft Tags have been used by companies around the world on their products and in their marketing campaigns. A few examples of companies using Microsoft Tags are Conde Nast Traveler, Dominos, Dr. Pepper, Ford, Fox Entertainment (for the movie Avatar), General Mills, Kraft, Porsche, Whole Foods and many more. QR Codes have been used by a variety of companies as well. For example, the QR Code maker ScanLife has worked with Target, Gap, UPS, Verizon, and Heineken.
Additional styles of codes that can be scanned include, but are not limited to, Universal Product Codes (used primarily in stores to track products), DataMatrix, EZcode, JagTag, SnapTag, Cool-Data-Matrix, Aztec, UPCODE, Trillcode, Quickmark, Shotcode (shaped like a bullseye), mCode, and Beetagg (made up of hexagons). Each of these barcodes has their own pros and cons. Readers (barcode scanners) are able to read some codes but not others. Microsoft Tags must be read by Microsoft Tag Reader. Some codes are free and some have an extra fee associated with customization or analytics.
Now that you are familiar with the variations in barcodes, you are probably curious as to what kind of information a barcode can share with those who scan it. Scanned barcodes can respond with various types information. Microsoft Tags can show a website, plain text, contact information, or result in a dialed number. ScanLife’s barcodes can respond with those options or additional responses such as sending a calendar entry, sending an instant win notice, displaying a menu of options, sending an email, or sending a tweet.
The first step for businesses is to choose which barcode you would like to create. The second step is to create the barcode. MoreVisibility has created barcodes for a number of clients and offers the service through our Mobile division. The third step is to publish the barcode electronically or physically print it on marketing materials. A barcode could also be printed on a sticker or insert to be mailed or included with a product. The last step, and possibly most important, is measuring the campaign through analytics.
Although QR Codes have been around since 1994 (and Microsoft Tags since 2006), the explosion of the smartphone marketplace has had a significant impact on mobile tagging technology. Companies small and large are testing putting barcodes on their products and marketing materials. We have many ideas for our clients on how to integrate barcodes with their marketing strategy and look forward to seeing this area grow.