As a member of what some marketeers euphemistically call 3rd Age (ie old), my acceptance – not to mention use – of new technology tends to come some way after the ‘Early Adopters’.
And I guess you could say that QR codes are already past that point anyway.
I do have a smart phone; I do have a QR reader on it (Red Laser, since you ask – and I do know how to use it); but I have hardly used it, because most of the codes used direct you to a traditional web-site Home Page, which on the average mobile device is more or less illegible, however much you try to expand the image.
A couple of weeks back, however, I bumped into two guys who are intent on rectifying all that, and making the technology not just an effective generator of warm/hot sales leads, but also an effective tracker of the cost-effectiveness of comparative marketing media.
As a marketing man at heart, this warmed the cockles of said heart, to the extent that I’ve become a bit of an advocate of the system – so for once,there’s nothing cynical or grumpy about this missive. It’s all positive, because I’ve seen the potential for growing sales through what is really a very cheap add-on to your marketing activity.
The key, apparently, is firstly to make sure that the web-site your QR codes point at is a landing page designed to summarise your offer and be easily legible on a mobile device; secondly to predicate the availability of more detailed information on the provision of some personal details; and finally to be able to track (in real time), measure and follow up all such respondents.
And needless to say, these chaps have developed a proprietary system for doing just that. Simples.
If you’re still with me, unless you’re a bit of a techie and already know all this stuff, you’re probably wondering – however clever all this sounds in principle – what the practical uses of this wondrous new(-ish) technology actually are.
Read on …
I’m making a couple of assumptions here, which is always dangerous: 1. You have a smart phone; 2. You know how to download and use apps. If those assumptions are wrong, you probably aren’t still reading anyway. So … using your mobile phone camera (and the associated app: Red Laser, remember? I gather it’s pre-installed on Blackberrys) you scan a QR code and it automatically directs you to a web-site.
Let’s say you’re selling houses on a new development: an interested party lands on a page that summarises the overall development in suitably purple prose. But if you want to know a bit more detail (prices or availability, say – or even take a 360-degree tour), you have to fill in your name, e-mail address and mobile phone number to get to the next level.
Anyone who does so can safely be assumed to be a reasonably warm prospect. More to the point, the sales people have instant real-time access to these expressions of interest, and can make an immediate follow-up phone call – striking while the iron is hot.
But the technology has many other interesting applications too, once you start to think through the potential.
At first sight, the technology lends itself to bigger ticket items like houses, cars, boats and luxury goods, but then you start thinking about all the other possibilities:
Retail promotions at major parks
On-pack promotion entries/applications for fast-moving consumer goods.
Quantitative market research surveys.
Tracking consumer responsiveness/cost-effectiveness by individual marketing communications media, for media owners and agencies.
With communications generally going mobile (to quote an old Who song), there are endless promotional possibilities in play here, and as you can tell, I’m an enthusiastic proponent. Partly because of the relative simplicity (and cheapness) of it; but mainly because I can see here a real means for marketing people to justify expenditure – not to mention their own positions.
There are plenty of people claiming to generate codes (which anyone can do, as you’ll see here) and track them, but mostly all you get is anonymous data of minimum practical use. Here’s a system that really puts the technology to hard sales use.
Now I’ve pointed them out, you’ll start to notice them everywhere!
David Croydon: 01844 238692 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org