Welcome!! Today, we will be talking about the rise in mobile marketing and how a new innovative tool – called QR codes – is helping marketers make their printed materials more engaging. Let’s start by looking at some trends in the marketplace and why mobile marketing is so important.
Several research studies show us that consumers love their smartphones … and more people are getting smartphones every day. In fact, in 2009, more than 450 million people accessed the Internet through their mobile devices – and that is expected to double by 2013. In 2011 alone, it’s projected that more than 95 million smartphones will be sold. That’s a lot of people carrying around mobile devices and accessing the Internet every day. From a marketing perspective, we also know that mobile phone users are interacting with advertising. One study revealed that 49 million mobile phone users have engaged with an advertisement on their mobile phone. Specific to QR codes, a study by InfoTrends, a worldwide market research and strategic consulting company, found that 64.7% of marketers indicated some level of familiarity with mobile barcode technology. So, while QR codes are not a household term yet, they are growing in popularity and it presents a great opportunity for marketers looking to make an impact in today’s cluttered marketplace. So, let’s talk a bit more about what QR codes are.
QR code stands for Quick Response code. In essence, it is a barcode that encodes data. It is no different than the barcode scanners used at the grocery store check out. An example is shown here and can be scanned by your smartphone to provide you additional information. QR codes were originally created in Japan by Denso Wave Inc in 1994 and have become very popular in Japan and Asia. A QR code is fairly compact but can hold a tremendous amount of data. For example: It can hold 4,296 alphanumeric characters It can hold 7,089 numeric only characters Or, 2,953 bytes of binary code (8 bits) When scanned, a QR code most commonly takes you to a website that has been optimized for mobile devices. But within the data, a QR code can contain other information including a phone number, calendar event, contact information (vCard), SMS (text) message, or geo-location (mapping) information. Now that you know what a QR code is, we’ll talk about how a QR code gets created.
QR codes can be created free of charge on a number of websites. I’ve listed a few here, or you can Google “QR code creator” to find others. However, if you are looking to create multiple QR codes or build tracking into the QR code, you’ll likely want to seek out a professional to help you. FOR THE SPEAKER: If someone asks about tracking, there are a few ways to do it: 1. You can work with a company like EasyPURLs, and they will create QR codes for each recipient – just like PURLs – and you would be able to track the results through their reporting system/dashboard. 2. You can also use Google Analytics. Here’s how to set up QR Code tracking using Google Analytics: The first step is to add a tracking code to the URL of your target response page. Go to Google’s URL-Builder tool and load the target URL for your QR Code, your campaign Source, Medium, and Name. For example, you could create a code with tracking for your Facebook page. You would set “facebook” as the Source, “qrcode” as the Medium and “trackable-qrcodes-facebook” as the Name. Click “Generate URL” and you’ll get a URL with tracking code. Here’s the URL for the example above: www.facebook.com/allegrampm/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=qrcode&utm_campaign=trackable-qrcodes-facebook. This would be the URL you convert into a QR code. After you’ve tested the QR Code, go into Google Analytics and navigate to Traffic Sources > Campaigns. You can sort by “Medium” and search for “qrcode” to see your visits.
The more common way to see a QR code is what I showed before – just a black and white bar code. But, of course, marketers and designers weren’t happy with that! They wanted it to “match” the look and feel of their brand. So, companies have started experimenting with making the QR codes more customized. Some say branding your QR code will increase your scan rate because people are more likely to trust it. This has not been studied enough to know for sure, but it is something that can be done and it dresses up your QR code. So once you create your QR code, how do your customers scan it?
Your customers would need to have a smartphone that connects to the Internet, and they would also need to have a QR code reader on their phone. Some of the latest smartphones already have a QR code reader, but if not, they can download one. Some of the most popular ones are listed here, and shown on the iPhone. Most are free to download. So, what can you put a QR code on?
You can put a QR code on pretty much anything. From business cards to invitations to posters and print ads, QR codes help make any printed piece more interactive and can provide your customers with valuable information about your product or service. So, once your customers scans a QR code, what do they see?
As mentioned, the most common thing a QR code links to is a website. However, many marketers make the mistake of driving customers to a home page or worse yet, a home page of a website that is not optimized for mobile devices. QR codes are all about engagement, so whatever you link to needs to add value to the customer. You need to give them a reason to scan the QR code and get something different than if they just went to your website. Whether it’s a video or a coupon, make sure it’s easy to view on a mobile device. Let’s look at some specific examples of how QR codes are being used …
Restaurants are seeing a lot of value in using QR codes to educate their customers and increase return visits. On a take-out menu, a QR code could lead to a map or a site to place an order online. On a menu used in the restaurant, a diner could scan the QR code and view pictures of the entrées or see the nutritional information of the meals. Linking a QR code to customer reviews or a discount off their next purchase can also add value to an otherwise “static” menu.
Real estate agents are always looking for ways to share information about their properties for sale. By using a QR code on “for sale” signs, for example, buyers can scan the code to get additional information about the home while standing in front of the property for sale… they could view interior photos, comprehensive descriptions, and even a virtual tour of the property. It’s fast, convenient and best of all, agents don’t have to worry about running out of the printed property flyers.
Another industry embracing QR codes is retail establishments. From pet stores to clothing boutiques, QR codes can enhance a customer’s buying experience. In this example, you can see Gap used a QR code to promote their new line of pants. When a customer scanned the code, they accessed a mobile site where they could read reviews about the product, and see what style would be best for their body shape. Or, imagine you’re in an electronics store (like Best Buy) and you’re trying to decide what type of monitor to buy for your home office. You walk down the aisle and they all look the same, except you notice that the displays have a QR code on them. You scan the code on your smartphone and find detailed information about each product, consumer reviews, how the product compares with other similar models, and an easy way to email details to a friend who always gives you advice about these types of things. All with a quick scan of the QR code …
The possibilities are endless … You can place a QR code on a sign or poster that takes scanners to a special discount. Or, direct users to assembly instructions on a product label. Or, if you’re at a trade show or seminar, put a QR code on your handouts so attendees can view additional resources from your presentation. The sky’s the limit. Just remember, plastering QR codes on everything is not the answer – it’s just adding to the meaningless clutter in the marketplace. Before you do anything, you need to think strategically. What do you want to accomplish? Who are you targeting? Once you’ve done that, you can determine if QR codes can help you achieve your goal.
Thanks again for your attendance and attention. I hope you are leaving here today with a better understanding of this new technology and that you’ll think of us the next time you have a marketing or print communications project.
QR codes: Connecting print with mobile marketing
• More than 450 million mobile Internet users worldwide in 2009, a number that is expected to more than double by end of 2013. * • It’s predicted more than 95 million smartphones will be sold in the U.S. in 2011. ** • A nationally-representative survey of U.S. mobile phone users revealed that 49 million have engaged with an advertisement on their mobile phone. *** • 64.7% of marketers indicated some level of familiarity with mobile barcode technology. ***** IDC, a market intelligence provider** Technology research company Gartner*** Lightspeed Research**** InfoTrends, 2010
• Quick Response (QR) barcodes• Created in Japan in 1994• 2D barcode that hold 4,296 alphanumeric characters• Contains: phone, URL, contact info, text• Scannable by smartphones
• Can create a QR code at no cost – http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ – http://www.qurify.com• If you want tracking built in or a personalized QR code for each recipient, that requires additional work (contact a professional)
Branding your QR code can increase scanrate because people are more likely to trust it
• Several QR Readers (most available at no cost through your phone): – Quick Mark – NeoReader – OptiScan – Barcode Scanner – ScanLife – TagReader
• Business cards• Invitations• Posters• Menus• Brochures• Anything Image sources: 2d-code.co.uk and qranywhere.blogspot.com
• Align the mobile experience after a person clicks on a code with the goals of the campaign• Make sure whatever you’re linking your QR code to (video, website, contact information, image, GPS location) is optimized for mobile devices
Use on menus: • Nutritional value • Photos of items • Customer reviews • Coupon or discount • Online orders • Reservations • Interactive map QR code leads to site with nutritional and allergen information.Image source: 2d-code.co.uk
• On a realtor’s “for sale” sign or home sell sheets, users can get additional specifications about the property or a virtual room tour Image source: www.flickr.com
• Give consumers access to coupons and special offers at point-of-purchase signs and displays • Drive shoppers to a website that includes reviews about a product Shoppers directed to a mobile site where they can see what style is best for their buildImage source: 2d-code.co.uk and view peer reviews.
• Billboards or posters that take scanners to a mobile site with campaign-specific information or offers• Product labels that, for example, connect to assembly instruction• Print ads or direct mail that lead to videos• Presentation materials that link to additional data and resources• Trade show booths to gather leads and deliver downloads in multimedia formats