Posted on June 10th, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
I live in a small coastal New Hampshire city named Portsmouth; the same New England town where the War of American Secession began (contrary to popular belief it was not concord MA) in case there are any history buffs out there. Portsmouth is located an hour north of Boston, 45 minutes south of Portland, ME and roughly the same from the mountains; it is quite possibly the perfect location to live (assuming you ignore winter).
Portsmouth’s history, it’s dining, night life, coastal setting, and undeniable adorableness as a perfect old New England town, means that tourists and other casual visitors will be making their way around the city. This means they might not quite be sure of what to do, where to go, or how to find their way around.
This problem for the tourist is a problem that local businesses should, and did, take advantage of. If the tourist doesn’t know where to go, why not advertise your restaurant, or retail establishment, and help them figure out where to spend their time and Federal Reserve Notes?
Well I was hanging out during Market Square day—where every living soul and in the surrounding area and their mother head downtown for live music, unhealthy food, and adult libations—and saw a great QR code advertisement attempting to help tourists and casual visitors find their way around town.
This is a great example of a QR code providing a free service to potential consumers, but also helping local businesses attract customers. The tourist benefits from being able to find a list of nearby restaurants or other shops, and the nearby restaurant and shop get to trade their product or service for money. A beautiful symbiotic relationship made possible with QR codes.
The QR code itself stands out, particularly with the two toned color. It is large enough and with a low density to allow easy scanning. It has a good call to action explaining what you will get by scanning the code. And the QR code takes you to a mobile optimized landing page. This is pretty much a perfect use of QR codes.
There are two problems I see, one with mobile experience, and the other with the physical execution of the campaign.
The first is in regards to the mobile landing page. It is great that the creators knew enough to have a mobile landing page, but the problem arises when you click on one of the landing page buttons. When you do this you are actually taken to a non-mobile optimized website that lists and describes the places to visit. This page took forever to load, and was hard to navigate, and thus completely ruining the experience, and causing a loss in my interest.
The second issue I had was simply that there were not enough of these ads around the city to ensure tourists and other visitors would find them. I was just lucky enough o have parked in front of one.
This example of a QR code campaign though is a great one, and something other towns and cities should do. It helps the visitor who does not know their way around or where to go, and helps local businesses by giving them an opportunity to market themselves to potential customers.
QR codes have many possible uses, and this is just one, but make sure that if you are going to use this tool for any use, you do so by following our best practices. But also be sure you have chosen your QR code/mobile site platform wisely to allow for easy use and only a small dent to your bank account.
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Posted on June 7th, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
I wrote the other day about why publishing companies should use QR codes in books, particularly non-fiction books, as a way to engage readers with the material. But in retrospect I don’t want this use to be seen as limited to just books, but instead should be used in all print, including magazines and newspapers.
Though you are starting to see some QR code use in these mediums, it is still rare and shouldn’t be. For any of you out there in the publishing industry, here are some ways you could use this technology to improve your product:
Enhancing Static Content with Videos
Let’s say you are a magazine like Mens Health, or Fitness. Often times you might have articles about different work outs, techniques, proper form etc. Well traditionally you could only try and verbally describe what it is you are talking about, or at best show a picture or two. With QR codes though this changes. Now you might have a full work out guide and for each exercise have a QR code that directs the reader to a video on a mobile landing page showing the exercise in action, or the proper way to do a particular lift, or whatever else might prove enlightening to your reader. This allows you to save space, engage your readers, and make everything far more clear and easy to understand.
Providing Additional Information and Sales Opportunities
Now let’s say you are a cooking magazine, in this situation you could connect your readers to videos of a particular recipe being prepared, or learn more about a particular chef or restaurant being discussed, or provide lists of ingredients or cooking instructions, or even advertise online deals of certain cooking products etc. This can help to provide additional value to the reader and even help drive sales.
Show Expert Interviews on Mobile Devices
If you are a newspaper and run a story about some citizen revolt in some foreign country, you could include a QR code that sends the reader to interviews with citizens said revolt, or a video about the country being discussed, or a past article about the same topic highlighting some important facts specific to the current situation.
Newspapers in particular can really benefit from this technology since they cover so many different issues, ideas, and places. Whether it is an article about a movie (QR code could take the reader to the trailer or review), the current state of the economy (QR code could take the reader to graphs, interviews, or debates), or even fashion (the QR code could take you to someone walking down the runway in the suit or dress, or a coupon or sale), the uses are expansive.
Magazines and newspapers are seeing drops in readership for many reasons, but one way to bring readers back in the fold is to give them more value. QR Codes do that. But along with this, QR codes can help connect the reader with the convenience of their smartphone or tablet and allow them to take some part of the magazine or newspaper with them anywhere they go, or simply by allowing them to feel like they are still in the 21st century,
Revenue streams can even open up by having all connected content run ads, weather on the mobile landing pages, or even on the connected video.
If you are someone who works for a newspaper or magazine, it is time to take full advantage of this technology and it is time to use it, and use QR codes properly, to bring readership back and increase revenue. Just make sure you find a QR code analytics and management platform that does almost all of the work for you and for a reasonable cost. You know, like Qfuse.
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Posted on June 5th, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
I had to make a late night run to Target the other day when I realized I was out of cat food for my obese cat, and trust me you don’t want to be around her when she doesn’t have an available supply of food.
While at Target trying to pick out my next bag of cat food, and deciding that I needed to put her on a diet—or a lifestyle change if you prefer—and choose a brand that wasn’t made out of junk food, I picked up a bag or Purina One Indoor Cat Food after reading almost every ingredient list of the many choices and my decision was made (have you ever read the ingredients on some cat foods? …Not good). When I arrived home and opened the bag I noticed a QR code on the back and started to read the associated content.
Purina was using the QR code on the back of their bag to help advertise one of the causes they support. The cause they were supporting was providing all necessary food to some 15 animal shelters across the country, and an additional $1.5 million to other organizations that help homeless pets. Really a great cause for all the animal lovers out there.
Upon scanning their QR code you are taken to a Youtube video providing more information on their cause and highlighting the story of a woman at one of these shelters who ended up giving an older cat a great home.
Purina used the QR code well, ensuring a low density code, a great call to action, and a good purpose with the consumer directed straight to a video on the cause Purina wants to support and increase their customer’s awareness of.
For all you other companies out there considering putting QR codes on your product packaging consider this simple, but effective, use by Purina as a solid example of what to do in your own QR code campaign.
Really though there is no reason not to place a QR code on product packaging since this is the most obvious and beneficial use of QR codes. You can use them to promote coupons or special deals, provide information on your products uses or technology, or even help increase sales of accessories or other related products, the uses are almost endless.
If you haven’t begun using QR codes though, or even if you have, make sure you use a platform that seamlessly connects the QR codes with mobile landing pages, social media, videos, and analytics. Your life will be much easier in doing so.
My Obese Cat…
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Posted on June 3rd, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
There is no longer any excuse for a publishing company—particularly ones that publish a lot of non-fiction—to not be using QR codes. Here is why.
QR codes can add an immense amount of value and entertainment to any book and for an incredibly small cost. They help connect the reader from the physical world of his book and its limitations, to the almost unlimited online world, greatly enhancing the experience of the reader.
Here are just a few ways this can be done:
Share Complex Data through QR Codes
Say you are publishing a book about the state of the world economy, but there is only so much room in the book for tables, graphs or other similar data illustrations, or maybe there is no room for such things. With a QR code you can save the space in the book that would normally be used for a large chart and instead allow the reader to scan the QR code to be directed to this particular chart and others relevant to the discussion that could never have made it into the book due to lack of physical space. The reader now has more information, and potentially more engaging information, at his fingertips.
Link Video or Written Interviews of Experts
Maybe throughout this same book on world economies the author refers to an interview with an expert in the field, or a debate between experts, or some particular news story. In many books there might not be the space to write out the entire transcript, so the reader loses out. With a QR code on the other hand, the reader can have access to these sorts of videos. Upon scanning the code readers can be taken to a video of the interview, or debate, or clip of a news report from TV. This makes the discussion even more real and relatable, can help prove a point, act as a source, or simply provide more information. The reader now finds his experience with the book is greater than just what is in between the pages.
For an example of something similar see the July 2013 issue Reason Magazine (photo right).
Boosting Sales of Other Books
Lastly, a QR code can help in sales of other books from the same publishing company. If you place a QR code on the last page of the book with a call to action saying something like “If you found this book interesting why don’t you try other books on this topic or by this author. Scan the code.” Then have a QR code that upon scanning directs the reader to an Amazon page, or some other site that lists other books where they can click to buy.
QR codes are a wonderful technology with an incredible number of uses for almost any industry. For the publishing industry there really are many ways in which this technology could help enhance the experience of the reader, and even help increase future sales. Just make sure you have a QR code platform that provides all the resources you need to adhere to the best practices (like mobile optimized landing pages and QR code analytics), is inexpensive, and incredibly easy to use. To learn more about using Qfuse for your publishing needs go here.
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Posted on June 2nd, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
I have read and written about hundreds of uses for QR codes, some more creative than others, yet I am always finding new uses for this technology and am often reminded that the uses are almost unlimited. The latest example I have found was a use of QR codes by Mercedes-Benz.
Cars have been getting safer through new developments in their frames and additional security features like air bags. This has helped lead to the lowest traffic fatality rates ever. In turn, this has also made the problem of rescuing trapped drivers much harder.
Emergency responders ideally try to find a particular car’s specs, or “rescue sheet”, which includes information about the gas tank, electric wires, batteries, high pressure cylinders, airbags and everything else, before they can begin the rescue process. Often times this is unavailable and so they must perform the rescue without fully understanding the particular car they are dealing with.
To help this process along and improve the chances of a rescue attempt, Mercedes-Benz found a way to ensure that all information about the particular model car is available to these emergency responders. Their solution: QR codes.
What Mercedes-Benz did was place a QR code on all of their car’s fuel tank covers and the B-pillar on the opposite side of the vehicle (meaning the support beam found behind the driver or front passenger). Upon scanning the code the emergency responder is given the specific information they need in order to make a successful rescue.
This is an incredibly smart, creative, and inexpensive safety addition for Mercedes-Benz. It provides additional value for the customer, it helps the emergency responders do their job, and gives Mercedes-Benz a leg up on the competition when it comes to safety.
This is just one more example of how useful QR codes can be with just a little outside the box thinking. Now all Mercedes-Benz needs to do is start using the Qfuse platform and proceed with other great QR code marketing campaigns.
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