Qfuse Blog - QR Code, NFC, and Mobile Marketing News

Make Digital Displays Interactive With QR Codes

Posted on March 31st, 2014 by

Big Green Egg1There have been some large improvements in physical advertising recently, for example physical displays, or kiosks that you might see at a shopping mall or gas station.  These kiosks would formerly only have been able to place a single poster or other physical advertisement in their display, but now with the introduction of digital displays they can rotate multiple ads in the same physical space.  And in addition to this, often times the displays can integrate video or rich media as well, greatly increasing the effectiveness of the advertisement.

Despite these improvements however, they remain generally static and passive, meaning their effectiveness is still lacking.  In order to achieve such a physical advertisement’s potential a QR code can be added directly into the digital media.

The addition of a QR code, if properly applied, means the potential target audience can now engage with the brand, and be alerted or connected to any related content or promotions at the moment the advertisement is most likely to have piqued their interest.  Not only this, but they can now take the brand/promotion with them on their smart phone and continue the interaction (perhaps through an app) or ensure a later purchase.

For example, say there was a digital display on a kiosk in a mall, and the display included a QR code.  Next to the QR code in large writing a call-to-action might clearly tell potential customers that if they scan the code they will receive a coupon that is usable only for that day.  The customer can then scan the code and take the coupon with them to said store in the mall and make a purchase that they otherwise might not have made.

If this particular code is a dynamic code then new coupons/specials can be offered every day and the QR code can be changed to meet whatever the needs are of a specific day.  Perhaps a store has an abundance of inventory for jeans, the QR code coupon could be changed to offer a buy one get one, or a special discount for those scanning the code on that specific product etc.

Adding QR codes and using them in this sort of way to capture customers attention and provide them with incentives to make additional purchases is the best way to make a physical advertisement live up to its potential and drastically increase its value.  Don’t lose out on this sort of additional value your ads could be providing, use QR codes.  But also use them well.

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2014: The Year of Mobile

Posted on March 24th, 2014 by

Museum of LondonAccording to a recent Forbes article on mobile technology, 2014 is going to be ‘the year of mobile.’  What is meant by this is that mobile will finally become a “mainstream marketing solution.”

Mobile has been largely adopted by consumers, and yet it has taken marketers a few years to catch up, or really to even put themselves in the race.  The numbers though are getting to a point where marketers must take this increasing gap seriously.  According to data from IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark, mobile traffic is driving 25% of total online traffic to retail sites, is accounting for more than 20% of all online sales, and mobile sales are up 55% over last year with exponential growth appearing very likely.

According to the Forbes article, the average firm invests only two to three percent towards their mobile budgets, but the leading mobile firms are beginning to increase their mobile budgets to 10 or even 25%.  Indicating that some firms are finally starting to take mobile as seriously as they should.

As Jay Henderson, Strategy Program Director at IBM, states in the Forbes article, the best strategy for firms is “to take a ‘mobile first’ approach,” and he “encourages marketers to build mobile sites form the ground up, rather than force fitting an existing website into a smaller format.”  This is also what we would advise at Qfuse.

This is an important point, because rather than viewing mobile as separate and relatively insignificant, it should be viewed as vital to how business will be done in the near future, and integrated into the overall business plan.

As Henderson is quoted in the article, it is forward thinking marketers that “are investing in their mobile apps to include maps of the store, special promotions, and location based targeting.  Companies are adding QR codes and NFC to their in-store display to help bridge from physical to mobile.”  These sort of integrated plans will go a long way for the firms which implement them earliest.  Helping to increase in store sales, prevent lost sales from showrooming, helping increase brand interaction and awareness, and simply creating a better experience for the customer.

For marketers, 2014 should be a year of transition to mobile, and a year of mastering mobile technology and its existing tools.  Creating a strategy to build mobile from the ground up, and then connecting mobile to your physical marketing plan—through tools like QR codes, NFC tags, and mobile apps—will greatly increase the efficiency of the overall marketing strategy and enhance the end objectives.

To read more on this issues check out the Forbes article here, and to get started on, or improve upon you existing mobile strategy, check out Qfuse here.

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Yellow Tail Wine, QR Codes, and Mobile Brand Interaction

Posted on March 18th, 2014 by

Yellow Tail2As a brand it should be your goal to try and have customers interact with said brand as often as possible, and that such interaction is of high quality.  Doing this means greater familiarity is built between the customer and the brand, and it can in time create a sort of emotional tie between the two, this in turn should then help to increase future sales.  One problem is finding a means to connect with customers and entice them to interact, luckily a simple tool exists to help ensure this interaction: QR codes.

A recent personal example might help illuminate how this sort of interaction can be done using QR codes as your tool to accomplish the goal.

I had purchased a bottle of the wine Yellow Tail and when I proceeded to open it later that evening I saw that on the back label there was a QR code.  Unfortunately there was no call-to-action (I will discuss this later), but considering I write about QR codes regularly I figured I would scan it and see where it took me.

Surprisingly—considering their lack of a call-to-action—I was impressed with what I found.  Not only were they getting the technical aspects down—their page was mobile optimized—but they had a great way to incentivize customers to interact with their brand in addition to providing them with information that might also want.

Yellow TailBesides having a store locator, a list of all their wines, and a favorite recipe list, most importantly they had a rewards section where you could save Yellow Tail bottle caps and get points that you can accrue to buy various Yellow Tail swag.

This is a perfect way to incentivize customers to interact with you brand and feel like they are getting something in addition to just the particular product they are consuming.  This sort of interaction and rewards program is a great way to create a loyal customer who will more than likely make future purchases.

The only problem I found here is that lack of a call-to-action adjacent to the code (i.e. giving customers a clear reason/incentive to scan the code).  This is a very big problem however, particularly because everything else was done so well.

If you are using a QR code then it is obvious you would also want people to actually scan said code.  But most people are not going to waste the time scanning the code if they are not guaranteed to find something of interest on the other end.  Having a QR code without a call-to-action fails to provide the information most people need if they are going to decide to scan your code.

It is vitally important, particularly if you have something as great for brand interaction as a rewards program, to explain what the benefit is to scanning said QR code.  Convince people to scan the code, tell them why it is worth their time, and make sure it is.  Once this is done, and they have also been provided with positive brand interaction, said QR code campaign will be a success.

QR codes can be a great tool to reach many objectives, but whatever your reason for using them, just be sure you are using them correctly.

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Use QR Codes to Advertise Events and Contests

Posted on March 5th, 2014 by

popoversI was at one of my favorite Portsmouth, NH coffee shops called Popovers the other day and sitting next to the register was an advertisement to vote for the “Best of NH 2014”.  Accompanying this advertisement was a QR code of equal size urging people to scan the code and vote for the best of various categories.  This, I thought, was a great example of how QR codes can be used to promote similar contests and events.

Not only does this sort of advertising promote the actual “Best of NH” contest, but by this particular coffee shop having it displayed on their checkout counter right next to the register it also accomplishes something else for said coffee shop.  If a person is a customer at this business they are likely a supporter of said business since they have chosen your coffee shop in this case over the many other options.  So if you have the “Best of NH” advertisement and QR code (or any similar type of contest), they are most likely going to scan the code and vote for you.  Helping to promote your particular business and the overall event or contest.

If your business is putting on a contest that is just store wide, or if your organization is trying to promote a contest or event over a given region or through numerous businesses, having an advertisement that allows interaction and immediate entry at the time of peak interest by consumers, then QR codes can dramatically help the cause.

popovers1An advertisement with the QR code will help go a long way to the success of these sorts of things, but it is also important that you entice the target audience to actually scan the code.  This might be done by offering some sort of discount, or a raffle, or some other benefit, and then using a call-to-action to make sure this is known to all onlookers.  Do this and participation is likely to dramatically increase.

In this particular case of the Popovers coffee shop they at least got one extra vote that they wouldn’t have received had they not advertised the contest at their register.  Just by having it there they received my vote that otherwise would never have been cast, or would have gone to some other coffee shop.  And in this case, I suspect, every vote will matter in who wins the award, and the bragging rights that will go along with it (and maybe even a plaque! Who knows).

QR codes can serve many purposes, but using them to push in-store contests or area events is a perfect idea, so long as you are using them correctly and offering people something they would actually want or benefit from.   And of course be sure to use a platform that will make using your QR codes easy, effective, and in compliance with best practices.

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QR Codes and Short URLs - Choose the Best Tool for the Job (Not bit.ly or goo.gl)

Posted on February 23rd, 2014 by

url-shortner-qr-codeWhen creating a QR code that resolves to a URL it is generally advantageous to keep your URLs short, so that the code only needs to hold minimal data and can therefore be sized smaller and will scan more reliably. Codes that have long URLs embedded within them require the data to be more dense and therefore need to be somewhat larger.

To easily create short URLs for QR codes, many people opt to use a URL shortening service such as bit.ly and goo.gl . The obvious advantage being that such services allow you to take a long URL and immediately make it short, meaning your QR code is nice and small, with only minimal data. Another advantage is that these services will provide some basic stats on how many times the link has been clicked over time, so if you only use the link for a QR code you can get a sense of scan performance.

While URL shortening services like bit.ly and goo.gl are extremely practical for generating short URLs to share as links on the web, in email and social media posts, they are not well-suited for professional-grade QR code publication and management. Sure, these services are preferable compared embedding a long URL directly into a QR code, but it’s important to understand that they are not ideal.

The reason that bit.ly and goo.gl are not ideal for QR code campaigns, is because the destination URLs cannot be changed once your QR code is published. This means that the QR code you create using one of these services will always go to the same place and is locked forever. It’s not hard to imagine how this can be problematic when you are producing printed materials with QR codes (e.g. advertisements, displays, packaging, labels, business cards, brochures, publications, etc) – what happens if you want to change the destination of the code at some point after it’s printed? If you’ve use bit.ly or goo.gl to create your QR code you’re out of luck.

In order to maintain true control over your QR codes, even after they’ve been printed and published, you need to use a professional system (e.g. such as Qfuse) that generates dynamic QR codes. Dynamic QR codes allow you to change the code’s destination at any time, according to your business needs. Such management features, combined with powerful qr code scan analytics, is the only way to ensure that you can maintain complete control and measurement of your code’s performance throughout its lifecycle.

If you simply need a QR code for personal use than bit.ly and goo.gl are probably sufficient for your needs. But if you’re planning a professional campaign with any longevity, you’ll want to make sure you use the right tools for the job, so look elsewhere.

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