What was the year? 2009? 2010? QR codes were 'the next big thing'. They had such great promise. Turn any print advertisement, packaging or promotional experience into a digital touchpoint.
Richer engagement. Richer analytics. But they never delivered. (Some people perpetually say 'next year' is the year for mass adoption).
But there is one technology that comes pre-installed on 100% of handsets and which can exceed both the engagement and analytics that QR codes promised.
QR codes often get slated for being ugly and unpopular with consumers, but they still frequently crop up on ads and billboards so marketers must still see some potential in these little pixelated squares.
Often the problem with QR codes is that they are badly implemented, while it’s all too easy to find examples of codes that are impossible to scan.
However, when marketers take care over the user experience, the technology can be put to good use, with Toyota being a notable example.
Having previously highlighted six examples of QR code campaigns that actually worked I thought it would be worth trawling the internet to see if any new case studies had cropped up.
While strolling around Farringdon the other day I was handed a copy of the new Argos catalogue by a cheery store employee.
Having already reviewed several of Argos’ digital products, including its mobile app, I thought it would be interesting to see how the company integrates digital elements into its catalogue.
Print has long been the backbone of Argos’ business and no doubt still is, yet as times change digital will become a more important revenue stream.
So, here’s a quick look at how Argos is adapting to the changing times...
Like most people I’m not a huge fan of estate agents, but like most people I’m also nosey and want to peek inside homes down my street.
This means that even though I am not in the market for a new home I find myself browsing estate agent websites more frequently than I perhaps should.
In general my snooping takes place on my mobile phone after I’ve spotted a ‘for sale’ sign while strolling to the tube, and as I don’t want to believe that I’m the only person in the world guilty of this behaviour I feel that mobile is an area that estate agents should be looking to exploit.
If someone sees a house up for sale or rent and wants to know more then it’s a good idea to allow them to access the details there and then, otherwise they may forget to look up the information when they finally get home or to work.
Don Draper has left the building is an announcement bound to dismay any woman with a pulse, but it should hearten marketers.
That’s because Don Draper represents the old school of marketing, said Tom Fishburne, CEO of Marketoon Studios, at Integrated Marketing Week earlier this month.
In the Draper model, marketers decided what the brand stood for and what its strategy was. Every touch point with the customer was controlled.
Today those touch points have exploded and marketers have far less control, said Fishburne. To succeed in such an environment, we need to create marketing worth sharing, he continued, outlining five guiding principles.
The high street’s struggles with ecommerce and the digital age have been well publicised in the past 12 months as a number of previously dominant brands have gone to the wall.
And in general the brands that have thrived are those that were quick to adapt and integrate digital technologies in-store, such as John Lewis and House of Fraser.
In our report How The Internet Can Save The High Street we detailed some of the new tactics and strategies that retailers should be trying to take advantage of, such as click-and-collect, mobile search, apps and QR codes.
QR codes are a much-maligned technology - particularly by us – however they can be used in-store to allow customers to access additional product information and reviews.
Over the past couple of years, QR codes have cropped up everywhere from billboards to ketchup bottles, and have become a must-have gimmick for some marketers.
At our Digital Cream event this week, I was discussing QR and mobile marketing with Mark Brill, who had been moderating the mobile roundtable.
The upshot is that, when used well, QR codes can be a useful tactic for marketers, when used badly they're utterly pointless.
Mark showed me some excellent examples of QR codes, good and bad, from his Pinterest page.
Here is a selection of those....
This is Sartre.
This is me scratching an itch.
Although there are plenty of statistics that suggest people have scanned QR codes out and about, used Blippar watching television and Aurasma whilst reading their sportsday match programmes, I’m a bit of a sceptic.
Virgin’s provision of free WiFi on the London Underground, the service notably being free to use on Vodafone and EE, has led many to ponder how this will impact on marketing and advertising in the subterranean rat race.
Some have claimed augmented reality (AR) will start to take off as the technology matures along with marketers, and there’s a signal to enable web content for QR codes/ RFID and the like.
However, unless scanning is heavily incentivised, I’m of the opinion there are at least five reasons why this isn’t going to be heavily adopted, and you can agree or disagree in our comments section below.
One of the loftier goals associated with the increased adoption of smartphones is the creation of the ‘the internet of things’.
More than just a catchy phrase, the idea is that digital technology can be used to connect everything in the physical world to the web with smartphones acting as a universal remote to control our surroundings.
The opportunities that this presents for brands were discussed by Evrythng’s Andy Hobsbawm and Diageo’s Venky Balakrishnan at Econsultancy’s JUMP New York event.
Hobsbawm began by highlighting examples of products that are already blurring the lines between real life and digital, such as a central heating system called Nest that learns to control the temperature of the owner’s home based on their previous behaviour.
As we round off the long weekend of deals with Cyber Monday, we have officially started the holiday season which can account for 20-40% of retailer's annual sales. This year, the NRF has estimated an increase of 4.1% of holiday sales to the tune of $586.1 billion with projections of $2 billion in online sales today in the US and Europe alone.
But retailers can't forget the importance of mobile. 16% of consumers are estimated to shop on their mobiles over the holiday season, up from 13% in 2011. As mobile becomes even more of a keystone in holiday campaigns and shopping, it's import to understand how consumers are using their devices.
The IAB in partnership with Prosper Mobile Insights released its second annual Mobile Shoppers study to show where mobile shopping hotspots are around the US as well as how consumers are influenced by apps and digital coupons.