Think print is passé? What if you could make your next print campaign mobile?
Traditionally, print is one-way communication: you speaking to the customer. One new way to make your POP “pop” is to offer the customer the opportunity to engage with your brand directly, right on the spot. QR (Quick Response)/Data matrix codes and Microsoft® tags allow retailers to create a truly interactive marketing program. These odd looking shapes provide consumers with extra information, pull coupons at the point of purchase and even play videos to help them understand more about the product.
How does it work? QR codes act as two-dimensional barcodes that quickly transfer information to a mobile device. Just take a photo of the barcode with your smartphone camera and it instants sends you to a specific webpage, video or image of the company’s choosing. Click here to watch a video for more information.
One company recently made an attention-getting statement with a billboard QR code. And this past spring, one conference featured QR codes on everything from business cards and t-shirts to registrants’ badges. When you met someone at the event, you could scan the badge with your smart phone and automatically be connected to the person’s social network. Google is also encouraging the trend by placing QR codes in the windows of local businesses that point to their online listings page.
So, is this the next big thing that can connect your product with Gen Wow? It won’t replace POP marketing, but it can enhance it. Here are a few points to consider before rushing in:
• The technology requires a smart phone. Do your customers carry smart phones? Currently around 20 percent of the U.S. population has them but that number is rising dramatically, with 50 percent usage predicted by the year 2012. ¹
• The consumer may need to download software on the phone, and that could be a barrier to some. Or the software could be already in place … it’s just that your consumers may not understand how it works. That’s why some are putting instructions on the signage (see example).
• Retailers (or your POP partners) need to organize and maintain the data for tracking purposes. This will help drive your ROI calculations for each campaign.
It really is very easy to generate a tag or QR code. Many websites exist that allow you to generate them for free. But, as with debates of the past (beta vs. VHS and Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD), it seems that retailers either need to pick one method, or support both QR codes and Microsoft tags, which could take up additional print real estate. Regardless, it’s simple and, with a little organization, could help you bring in additional consumers.