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10/11/2011 / loyaltymarketingnews

Are marketers killing consumer enthusiasm for QR codes?

Marketers are at various stages in the adoption of QR codes as part of their ongoing marketing efforts. However, simply linking to a video or mobile page may damage consumer enthusiasm and dampen their willingness to engage.

Mobile bar codes use is increasingly growing as is the adoption of smartphone devices. Not executing a mobile bar code campaign well can hurt the relationship between brands and consumers.

“Yes, all QR code campaigns are not perfect and some do lack good execution,” said Laura Marriott, CEO of NeoMedia Technologies, Seattle.

“QR code campaigns today are in their infancy, so we expect campaign deployments to improve as businesses and retailers become more educated, and learn how to enhance their overall strategies and programs,” she said.

“It is important for a brand to think about the big picture.”

Not enough
In July, energy drink giant Red Bull placed QR codes on bus shelters to promote an new event that challenged teams of inventors to create the future.

The event gave inventors a theme and 72 hours to build something useful, imaginative and inspiring.

When consumers scanned the QR code with their mobile devices they were redirected to a video that highlighted the challenge and what they could expect from the event.

Although placing QR codes on bus shelters was a good idea, simply have a video might not have been enough.

In addition to leading consumers to a video, Red Bull could have also included a mobile page that featured event information.

That would have been useful for the consumer instead of simply leading them to a mobile video that they could have watched once and forgot about after.

Mobile bar code don’ts
Sure-fire ways to hamper the success of a mobile campaign include not featuring simple instructions around how to scan the code or featuring incomplete or unclear calls to action.

Additionally, placing mobile bar codes on collateral or signs that are not in a suitable location – such as a billboard that is far away from the sidewalk, on TV for 2 seconds, next to a busy road where it would be dangerous to stop to scan or a subway station with no network access – will prove to be ineffective.

Another way to hamper the success of a QR code campaign is delivering content that is not valuable to the consumer and directing them to a page that is not mobile optimized.

“You have to consider what the campaign’s end objective is and how adding a mobile bar code helps meet that objective,” Ms. Marriott said. “What will the consumer expect when they scan it and what is the context in which they will scan – location, time, and other environmental factors.”

Brand awareness
Such as any other new marketing tool, it takes some time to understand best practices and some brands and marketers are using mobile bar code technology better than others.

Fast food franchise Taco Bell used mobile bar codes on its fountain drink cups and big box packaging to offer exclusive MTV content to hungry consumers.

Consumers were redirected to a mobile-optimized page where they could watch and listen to videos, as well as browse content.

The campaign was not only engaging, but also well executed.

Consumers did not have to search for the QR codes. They were featured on the products and promoted on the company’s Web site.

Taco Bell educated users about the mobile bar codes and encouraged them to download a QR code reader to participate.

In addition, the content was updated weekly to further build on that user engagement.

“Too many codes link to non-mobile formatted pages, or are simply printed at sizes that are too small or dense,” said David Javitch, vice president of marketing at Scanbuy, New York.

“It is new to most people, so we recommend thinking through the experience,” he said. “QR codes are very simple to set up, but it has to start with a strategy and a value for the user.

“In their simplest form, QR codes are a quick way for people to get more information from the Web, but there is a much bigger opportunity to be realized.”

According to Mr. Javitch, it is important that marketers think about the end business objective.

“Mobile bar codes can launch a pre-filled emails to request an opt-in, they can be setup to replicate an instant win or treasure hunt campaign, and they can even lead to a pre-filled status on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter,” Mr. Javitch said.

“Video can be great because it gives the user more information from something static like a package, but make sure you lead the user to additional content – don’t end the experience with a video,” he said.

“Allow the user to share the video, sign up for more, or even purchase a product in a few clicks – this makes every media asset more valuable.”

Daily strategy
Many companies are integrating QR codes in their day-to-day strategies and using them to their advantage.

For example, Home Depot used QR codes to provide more information about Martha Stewart’s new line.

Instead of bombarding a user with information overload the company chose something small – Martha Stewart’s new line instead of its entire inventory – and targeted consumers from there.

The mobile bar codes provided users with videos, tips from Ms. Stewart and production information about her new line.

The execution was not static, but was filled with something that users could have engaged with – whether it was just a video or tips or all of the above.

“You have to think strategically about where mobile bar codes will be placed and what content will be of value to the person scanning it at that time,” Mr. Javitch said. “Try to make the destination you lead the user to be mobile-optimized.

“Remember that social network like Facebook and Twitter have mobile versions,” he said. “Try to offer multiple options for the user.

Mr. Javitch also said that a call-to-action is critical.

“Include a call to action on why to scan the code,” Mr. Javitch said. “For example you can say, ‘Scan this for exclusive content.’”

“This will motivate the audience to scan your code,” he said.

Scanning evolution
With brands that lack a clear cut execution strategy and commitment there is generally a lower response rate, per Nicole Skogg, CEO of SpyderLynk, Denver.

“We’ve worked with clients that are just beginning to test the waters and find that these clients’ programs are less successful because they generally don’t deploy programs following best practices,” Ms. Skogg said.

Brands and marketers should think about their mobile bar code strategy and dig deeper, beyond just linking to a video or static page.

Mobile bar codes are able to deliver a strong engaging experience to consumers.

It is important to craft a campaign that is of interest to a marketer’s target audience.

“In mass marketing, consumer are most likely to respond to broadly appealing opportunities to win prizes or access to exclusive content – a compelling incentive can drive 10 times more the participation compared to non-incentivized programs,” Ms. Skogg said.

“Programs offering product information like recipes or demo videos have proven to be successful with consumers actively considering a purchase and are most effectively placed in retail or where consumers are doing product research,” she said.

While awareness of QR codes is growing exponentially, assuming consumers understand how to activate it without instructions can be a mistake.

“Programs offering clear instructions on using mobile bar codes can drive participation up by 50-80 percent,” Ms. Skogg said.

“The effectiveness of a mobile bar code campaign or offer is highly dependent on driving awareness, crafting a compelling offer, explaining to consumers how to engage and using accessible technology,” she said.


(via Mobile Marketer)


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