With the rise in use and effectiveness of mobile marketing becoming more and more apparent each day, nearly every business is looking for their piece of the mobile consumer pie. However, as with everything in marketing and advertising for brands and businesses, there are right and wrong ways to do everything – with a lot of grey space in between. The importance of businesses being intentional with their mobile marketing efforts is absolutely key to the success of their campaigns. As Rimma Kats, the Associate Editor for the Mobile Marketer states:
“[I]t is important for marketers to have a 360-degree marketing strategy. Instead of simply taking a QR code [or any piece of mobile marketing materials] and plastering it on anything, companies should invest time and effort [to] think of new ways to engage new and existing consumers.”
Quick-Response (QR) codes seem to be the worst offender in unintentional mobile marketing. As Kats goes on to say, “many consumers are still not educated on QR codes and are not really sure how to use them. While awareness of mobile bar codes as a marker for interactivity is growing exponentially, assuming consumers understand how to activate it without instructions can be a mistake. Education is key, as is a prominent and accompanied by a call-to-action.”
Take this mobile advertisement to the left, for example. I left for work this morning and saw this truck leaving my neighborhood. After several failed attempts to try and get close enough to scan the QR code, I managed to snap a picture of it – and was still unable to scan it once getting to the office and having the code up on my computer. It wasn’t until I was side-by-side with the driver that I knew what business the truck belonged to – though I still have never found out what the advertised mobile bar code did, because I was never able to scan and interact with the company.
Jane McPherson, the CMO for SpyderLynk – a mobile bar code provider for businesses and brands, believes in the effectiveness of mobile bar codes and QR codes alike, though she is aware that without in depth planning and analysis the effectiveness of executing these mobile campaigns will fail miserably:
“In 2011, QR codes popped up everywhere. Whether you were flipping through a magazine at the doctor’s office or opening mail from a company you did business with, there was a decent chance it had a QR code on it. With a plethora of free QR code generators available online, low barriers to entry caused companies to create and print QR codes on everything. . . We suspect that marketers who have not had good success with them have not yet begun to think of them strategically.”
Many have noted that 2012 will be the year of mobile marketing, but it will also be a year of reflection. Reflection on what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and how to better incorporate a 360-degree cross platform approach to advertising and marketing in the constantly connected society in which we live. We believe that QR codes can be an effective mobile marketing approach for brands and businesses that can create a media-rich mobile experience that consumers will love – but only if executed effectively and strategically. According to Charles Sankowich, CEO of Friendthem, QR codes can be of some help in the right situation:
“When you really think about it, [QR codes are] just an easier way to enter a URL. I do not believe QR codes, from a tech standpoint, are anything game changing but do offer some positives. For instance, I use QR codes to create an easy way to download my app, they do create a type of cool factor that might drive a certain demographic that find this approach more interesting.”
It is our opinion that, while QR codes can be an incredibly effective and enhancing tool to a mobile marketing approach, they are just that, an approach and tool. Relying strictly on QR codes as a way to generate awareness and a mobile presence is inherently flawed, and they should only be used as a tool to enhance your existing mobile campaigns.
For example, each time a new client signs up for an account with us, we give them promotional materials to help market their mobile campaign. While the materials they receive can vary based on the campaign, we always offer a printable flyer to help market their campaign. In using QR codes to this capacity, we are enabling the consumer to interact with each of our clients in a way that is pleasing and effective to them. Whether you choose to scan a QR code to have a text message started and filled out for you, or you choose to type out the text yourself by following the flyer’s directions, the barrier to entry to interacting with each of our clients is low – and we like to keep it that way.
Regardless of your approach to mobile marketing – whether it’s the use of QR codes, a mobile app, mobile optimized websites, or (our favorite) text message marketing – it is important to be sure that your business is intentional and effective in the move to mobile marketing. And we think there are a few key things to keep in mind when considering a mobile marketing campaign.
Who is your audience?
A lot of times we see mobile marketing campaigns that make total sense to those of us in the industry, but won’t necessarily make sense to your consumers. Placing vague QR codes on vehicles and marketing pieces without a call to action will not engage that part of your audience that doesn’t necessarily know what a QR code is, or even what to do with it.
To see effective results, you must be intentional.
The move from online, print, and television advertising to mobile advertising has been fast and ever-changing. While making this move (or incorporating a cross-platform approach as we suggest) it is crucial to be intentional and effective. Splattering mobile marketing initiatives against the wall to see what sticks isn’t effective, and will leave a bad taste for mobile marketing in your business’ mouth. It is key to use what works, and especially what works for your customers.
We may be a bit biased, but it is our humble opinion that the most comprehensive and effective approach to mobile marketing is a cross-platform approach with a heavy focus on text message marketing. The key of mobile marketing is not to wow your customers with your technological advancement, or to win an advertising award for the most creative mobile approach in 2012. The key of mobile marketing is to start a conversation with your customers on the mobile channel, and to increase sales and margins based on the loyalty and brand awareness you are able to create. Text message marketing has proven itself time and again as the most effective and far-reaching approach to connecting with customers and increasing loyalty and brand awareness. While the mobile marketing industry is constantly changing and evolving, the most comprehensive and effective approach to date has been engaging with your customers through text messaging. But don’t take our word for it, give text messaging a try for free today.