Marketing Using Today’s Technologies – How Not To Go “Mad”

Marketing using 2D barcodesIf you’re like me, you’ve watched the wizards on the TV show “Mad Men” make their sales pitches. Back then the components available to marketing professionals were little more than TV, Radio, Print, Billboards, and Direct Mail.

Fast forward to today where a vast and rapidly changing array of technology-fueled marketing components is available to us.  This ever-evolving menu can be overwhelming enough to make us all go “Mad:” Should we Tweet? Leverage 2D/Mobile Barcodes? Post on Facebook? Use digital media?  All of the above? It’s hard to keep up, but not being apprised of the latest components puts marketers at a serious disadvantage when developing a winning marketing plan.

You might wonder how a marketer uses 2D/Mobile Barcodes. As someone whose eyes roll to the back of my head when things get overly technical, I had to have quite a few experts explain to me how a Mobile Barcode works, and why a marketer like myself would want to use it.  Now I use them on a regular basis. To help you better assess whether Mobile Barcodes are right for you and your marketing campaign, I thought I’d share what I’d learned (minus the techno-babble).

Think about if you were selling a product and took an approach similar to one from back in the “Mad Men” days. Let’s say you have a fabulous new vacuum cleaner you want to sell.  You could post a billboard at a bus stop, but if the person getting on the bus is interested in your vacuum, how would he or she take immediate action?  And, how would you measure the effectiveness of your billboard?  Hmmm… the classic marketer’s dilemma.

Perhaps you try door-to-door sales or some other form of direct marketing to introduce your vacuum.  Unfortunately, because of the perceived intrusiveness of this type of marketing, consumers could close the door, hang up, or tune you out.

Enter Mobile Barcodes.  You may have seen some already.  They look like this:

Marketing using 2D barcodes

Barcodes are packed with all sorts of information — information that helps you and your potential customer.  Here’s how. Let’s go back to that billboard. Instead of it being a static, un-measurable, un-actionable marketing medium, you could put a Mobile Barcode on it that would allow customers to scan the barcode with their mobile devices. If they do, any or all of the following can happen (it’s your marketing vehicle, so you can decide what to provide):

  • they can receive a promotional coupon,
  • be emailed or texted information,
  • sign up for a free trial,
  • get a price quote,
  • watch a video,
  • or enter to win a sweepstakes–you name it.

You can put the code on almost anything –magazines, billboards, direct mail, the Internet, TV ads, in-store displays, even cereal boxes. You can also track code scans in real-time and download reports that analyze usage by code, demographics, technographics, time and location – all highly important when your CMO asks, “How effective was your ad campaign?”

I’d like to believe that unlike other media, consumers don’t consider barcodes an intrusive way for us to market to them. In fact, ABI research recently noted that 80 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed expressed interest in scanning mobile barcodes. Another 69 percent said they’d scan a barcode to receive coupons and discounts.

Another bonus: if two weeks into your campaign you decide to change the information/coupon/offer, you don’t have to pay to change the billboard or magazine ad — just modify what customers will receive when they scan your mobile barcode and do so behind the scenes and inexpensively. According to Pontiflex, the average cost per a Mobile Barcode lead is approximately $0.60.  (Which makes answering another favorite CMO question, “How much did this ad campaign cost us?” more pleasant to answer.)

If you’re interested in trying this type of marketing approach, here are my recommendations:

  • Start Small!! – Begin with a trial
  • Provide Value – Give consumers a compelling reason to scan
  • Alert the Consumer – In the event they haven’t done so already, explain to consumers how, for free, they can download the mobile scanner to their mobile device.
  • Measure Results – Review the results of your campaign, refine your approach and repeat success

The net-net? This type of mobile marketing solution lets potential customers connect with your brand at the point of interest for a more meaningful, measurable and connected experience…. And hopefully it’ll help keep you from going “Mad!”

Have you implemented barcodes in any of your marketing materials?
What other interesting uses has your company found for mobile barcodes?
Barbara Jones Mobility Marketing Director AT&T About Barbara