When QR Code Marketing Works

In advertising, QR codes (otherwise known as Quick Response Codes) are the last thing that marketers want to use these days. Issues like: the scanner doesn’t work or issues with downloading the code reader are usually the main reasons why marketers shy away.

With the improvement of the smart phone technology, things could be looking up for QR codes. Here are a few instances where QR code marketing could be effective:

You optimize the user experience: Make the time to scan worth their while. For their Valentine’s Day Promotion, ATL Automotive  (Jamaica’s leading automotive group dealer) posted a simple black & white full-page press ad in the Observer, with a QR code and a “call-to-action” message: Scan your code for a chance to win tickets to see “Fifty Shades of Grey” on Valentine’s Day! #FiftyShadesofAudi

 

The idea that you can win a coveted ticket to the “most talked about movie of the year” has an air of excitement to it.

It has to add value: If the code is leading to a coupon, discount, a chance to win offer or a more in-depth insight into the brand then I say by all means use it. However, if your code is just leading to the home page of a website or your Facebook page, skip it.

Did I scan the code to for a chance to win the tickets? Unfortunately, I did not. They did post the code on their Instagram page and I typed in the url. It took me to a mailing list subscription.

However, the black and white ad also offered a hashtag, #50ShadesofAudi which encourages the conversation to continue on social media.

It suits the brand:  According to Mashable, “The QR Code was invented in Japan by the Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process, and was originally designed to allow components to be scanned at high-speed.”

For ATL Automotive, which is a company who sells cars, the idea of using something  that was once used to track vehicles is poetic.

Christian Grey also mentions Audi in the book. Also poetic.

Alternatives to QR codes? SMS short codes, for one can be really effective. Do you think QR codes can work in advertising? Leave me your comments.

 

5 Trends Destined to Shape the Media this Year

Last month, myself and a few other marketers came together at a #MarketersMeetUp to discuss our forecasts for 2015. It was an interesting conversation that lead to predictions far beyond this year. These are a few that really stuck:

1. The use of Social Media Influencers.

While Facebook campaigns and viral videos are interesting and can garner likes and shares, they don’t always produce engagement that is long-lasting. With endorsements from social media influencers such as tv personalities, athletes, musicians, etc., brands can not only reach target audiences but can create long-lasting advocates who will willingly share their love for the brand.

Chris Gayle at the 2014 Miss Jamaica Universe Pageant http://instagram.com/p/sWUQplIeeN/?modal=true

See the list below of top influencers in Jamaica by category by Twitter followers:

Sports-related: Usain Bolt (< 3.6mil), Chris Gayle (<1.9 mil), Lennox Lewis (<375,000), Yohan Blake (<300,000).

Music: Sean Paul (<1.2 mil), Tessanne Chin (<250,000), Mavado (< 200,000), Jah Cure (<190,000), Taurrus Riley (<160,000), Wayne Marshall (<100,000), Chronixx (<82,000), Protoje (<32,000)

TV Personalities: Miss Kitty (<100,000), Yendi Phillips (<60,000).

An endorsement in a tweet, Facebook post or Instagram post by these top accounts could create an impact.

2. Mobile Integration

With the invent of LoopJamaica.com and its seamless integration onto every new Digicel smartphone, having the latest news at your fingertips will allow brands to target audiences even when they are away from their computers. As mobile use continues to grow, brands will have another channel to tap into. Communication is now a two-pronged approach: stories about the brands and offerings tied into ads with the links to more information about products.

Gleaner and Observer are right behind. Both have apps available for download. Most recently, TeenAge Observer discontinued its printed publication and will now be exclusively online allowing for brands to tap into the Jamaican youth market. With the high cost of print media, the possibilities of curating content that will engage preteens and teens online is limitless.

3. Online influencing offline

With the success of Dutty Berry, a vlogger who inspired Jamaica to support Tessanne on her road to winning “The Voice” and more recently Bella Blair, brands will feel compelled to utilize these personalities to become ambassadors. The real value in their presence is that they are already engaging online, have a strong fan base and are reaching the audience in a way that traditional media sometimes doesn’t. Bella Blair for example, has a YouTube channel with over 35,000 subscribers and within the past year, received her own show called, “Bella’s Bizarre World” on RETV. Bella is creating content that is fresh, young and different but still appealing to a wide audience. Check out Bella in the new 2015 Cran Wata Ad:

Cran Wata Bella TV Ad

Check out the video that inspired the TV Ad 

4. Mobile Dominance

Its been in discussion for years and now it seems to be on the “tips of the tongues” of many folks, particularly as the rise of mobile usage and telecoms are determined to sell phones and data plans. Websites will have to be designed for mobile as you will lose the interest of readers in a second. Mobile e-commerce is also a forecast for 2015.

5. Blogger Nation

With the success of the Caribbean Blog and Social Media Awards late last year, brands witnessed the possibilities of using bloggers to create content around their messages and offerings. As bloggers continue to grow their audiences and create content that is personal and inspiring–brands will want to get on board.

Here’s Irie Dawta’s Orange Chicken recipe featuring Tru-Juice

Do CEOs Tweet?

Photo Courtesy of Inc.com

 

I’m in process of planning a social media plan targeting high rollers to attend a gala for an international NGO.

I spent most of the weekend watching my mother , a former CEO and well over 45, spend many hours obsessing over her friends’ profiles on Facebook—their children’s baby announcements, marriages, trips, etc.

Which made me start to think how often do the over 45 age group really engage on social networks?

Even though she’s retired, she’s addicted to her email and still uses it as an essential form of communication with her friends and former colleagues.

But back to the strategy for the gala. I narrowed down my target audience to: White and Black males, over 45 who earn over $100,000 a year.

My mom has never tweeted or had the desire to use any other means of social media apart from Facebook. Which led me to think:

Do CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies tweet? Do they have time to tweet?

According to Pew Internet study released February 14, 52 percent of the age group 50-64 year olds use social networks with 65 percent being well educated. 66 percent earned more than $100,000 a year.

So the average CEO is online but its more than likely that they are not interested in tweeting and if they are, like many celebrities they have hired someone to do it.

Facebook is still rated the highest with an average of 67 percent saying they use it often.

What I also found interesting was that the Pew study discussed the characteristic of a Facebook user:

  • Facebook users are more trusting than others
  • Facebook users have more close relationships
  • Internet users get more support from their social ties and Facebook users get the most support
  • Facebook users are much more politically engaged than most people
  • Facebook revives “dormant” relationships

Strategy vs. “Just winging it”

Strategy vs. “Just winging it”

When I look at the likes of Seth Godin and Jeff Bullas, they are both in the small group of “marketing gurus”, but they are very very different.
Seth Godin may blog once a week and his posts are short — but very concise and consistent in driving his messages home to his readers.
Jeff Bullas on the other hand is very mainstream, but practical and makes us think of things that maybe we hadn’t thought of before.
Jeff probably blogs 3-4 times a week and as result we are always aware of him, while Seth may blog once a week but, his inspirational blog posts resonate with us for a long time.
HOW TO STAND OUT
So how do they stand out? Strategy. They both decided that they were going to be different by defining themselves in the large “marketing blogger” pool.
In an effort to be different, you have to set your value position, and that is in everything you do – service or product, what are you bringing to the table that may be different than someone else?
Set your standards high and be sure to hone in on the exceptional ability of your product or service. Once you know that you have your strategy- the “key ingredient” that will set you apart from your competitors.
HOW I DID IT
Many people ask me how do I set myself apart from the rest? Well for me it is very easy- I am able to create a niche in the market, because I have several skills that make me stand out.
In my years in Advertising, I established myself as an exceptional designer and creative consultant. I have art directed, photographed and designed my own campaigns- with little or no budget, for well-established businesses. In the height of the last Olympics, I can recall assisting in the design and project management of many projects, surrounding Usain Bolt as their spokesperson, which included a 14 parish island-wide billboard campaign. At around that same time, I started my online t-shirt business in 2006, where I was able to use low cost methods to reach a large audience.
As a result, these achievements tied in with my strategic communication skills, have brought me to point where I am now able to navigate my clients’ businesses through many economic downturns, adjusting their expenditures to accommodate every state they are in- and still produce measurable results.


BE PREPARED TO FAIL WITHOUT A STRATEGY
If you ever consider working without a strategy and just decide to “wing” it, be prepared to fail. If you can’t measure your results- through website clicks, engagement and ultimately ROI then your strategy has failed, and you need to go back to square one.