QR Code: Really Worth the Effort?

I must admit that I am probably considered a late adopter of QR (quick response) codes within the advertising, marketing and public relations professional arena. While I have been an owner of a smartphone

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for several years, it wasn’t until recently that I downloaded an application onto my smartphone to read QR codes.

What I discovered about QR codes, from my personal experience, and to borrow a line from Shakespeare is that they are “much ado about nothing.”

There are some real problems with scanning a QR code with a smartphone and getting valuable feedback or in some cases getting feedback at all. As a consumer, I prefer to shop in large discount stores such as Costco, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart. Often times, the reception I get within these large ‘warehouse’ stores is poor if existent at all. Therefore, the QR code means little to my shopping experience within these walls.

Freeway billboards often have a QR code in the advertisement. I have never been quick enough to complete a scan as I flash by a billboard. Plus, I like to keep my eyes on the road when I am driving so scanning a QR code from the

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freeway is not a priority.

Then I have received a QR code within a text advertising message or e-newsletter on my smartphone. Hmmm? How is my smartphone supposed to read that code?

Having read that QR codes have been overwhelming adopted by various European markets, as well as Japan and South Korea, I thought I’d read some solid research on the topic.

I downloaded Russell Herder’s* findings on a research project they published in August, 2011 titled: The QR Question, Are QR Codes an effective marking tool for engaging customers?

Noted within the paper is that QR codes have actually been around since 1994. QR codes were created in Japan by a subsidiary of Toyota and were originally designed to track auto parts. No wonder Japan has a high usage rate of QR codes within the consumer market. Their use of QR codes has been evolving for seventeen years.

Some of their key findings include (and I quote the paper):

  • “A surprising number of consumers demonstrate a significant lack of understanding as to what QR codes are and how they work.”
  • “Seventy-two percent of consumers say they have seen a QR codes, yet nearly three in 10 do not know what it is. Further, nearly one in five people who regularly go online via their mobile phone do not know what a QR code is.”
  • “Nearly four in five of those who have scanned a QR code have done so more than once. Perhaps more importantly, however, only 31 percent report that what they receive in return is worth their time.”

These finding support my personal experience with QR codes. That is certainly not to say that QR codes are going to have a very short life span within the U.S. marketing and advertising world. But it does seem obvious that if QR codes are going to find a solid and long-lasting spot within the advertising and marketing world, then the information provided by the QR code must have high value to the consumer.

By Peg McRoy Glover

*Russell Herder is a twenty-eight year old creative, strategic and research marketing firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The report The QR Question, Are QR codes an effective marketing tool for engaging customers? is part of their Thought Leader series.

Mobile Advertising: Harbor Hospital Innovates

Harbor Hospital Mobile AdvertisingPromoting a hospital emergency room with mobile display advertising signals the penetration of mobile advertising to traditional clients.

Harbor Hospital in Baltimore launched a mobile display advertising campaign targeting 20 Baltimore City zip codes to increase awareness of the close proximity of Harbor Hospital’s Emergency Department to downtown Baltimore and surrounding neighborhoods.

In stressing the importance of the campaign, Jean F. Bunker, AVP, Marketing, Community Relations & Philanthropy of Harbor Hospital said, “Time is of the essence when finding emergency care and we want to educate Baltimore area residents and business professionals in a compelling and innovative way that quality emergency care is only minutes away at Harbor Hospital.”

Mobile marketing is expected to play a key role in the healthcare sector. According to various industry reports, mobile marketing is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.

The innovative 12-week mobile display advertising campaign combines mobile web advertising with the geolocation of smartphone users — such as BlackBerry®, iPhone, Palm, Windows® and Android™ users.

Harbor Hospital plans to reach a targeted Baltimore City audience via advertising on mobile versions of popular news and consumer websites.

From May through July, anyone in or around the downtown Baltimore area linking to specific websites via their smartphones may be greeted with a Harbor Hospital mobile web banner that will give them access to detailed emergency care information. By clicking on the banner, users will be directed to Harbor Hospital’s mobile-specific landing page where they can enter their address via a Google™ Maps application that provides door-to-door directions to the hospital’s Emergency Department. Users can contact the Emergency Department by utilizing the “click to call” feature also located on the landing page.

The mobile advertising campaign is one of several components in Harbor Hospital’s new comprehensive Emergency Department marketing campaign. Their integrated media strategy features print, online and out-of-home advertising, as well as grassroots marketing via coffee sleeves and coasters available in select coffee shops, restaurants and bars in the Baltimore area.

Related link: http://www.harborhospital.org

By Vijay Krishna, vijay@globesinc.com and Atul Kalanuria, atulkalanuria@gmail.com

Also read:
The new world of mobile marketing
Mobile marketing in the palm of your hand
Mob marketing: The power of texting
Mobile marketing: QR code power
Facebook Places:  A revolution in mobile marketing

Microsoft and Google Dominate Oz

Microsoft Sites and Google Sites both reached more than 92 percent of Australian Internet users

You on teh net, mate?According to a report by Comscore, Microsoft Sites and Google Sites both reached more than 92 percent of Internet users in June, while Facebook.com ranked as the third largest web property in the market reaching three of four online users in Australia.

Among ad networks, Google Ad Network ranked as the largest entity reaching 12.3 million visitors (90 percent of the entire online population in Australia), followed by Adconion Media Group (66.7 percent reach) and ValueClick Networks (54.2 percent reach).

Top 20 Internet Properties in Australia

In June 2011, more than 13.6 million people age 15 and older accessed the Internet from a home or work location in Australia. Microsoft Sites led as the most-visited online property with 12.7 million visitors, representing 92.8 percent of the entire online population. Google Sites closely followed with 12.6 million visitors (92.3 percent), while Facebook.com eclipsed 10 million visitors.

Local property News Interactive Pty Limited, which includes sites such as Dailytelegraph.com.au, News.com.au and TheAustralian.com.au, reached 4.3 million visitors, while Telstra Corporation Limited reached 4.2 million visitors and Fairfax Media saw more than 3.5 million visitors during the month.

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Missed a Great Groupon Deal? Here’s Help!

Have you ever purchased coupons on a whim from Groupon or Livingsocial and then later realized that you can’t use them?

Or were you a wait-and-watch dawdler who procrastinated long enough only to discover that the next great deal on your favorite restaurant disappeared?

If you fall in either of these groups, relax, you are not alone.  There are many consumers that either don’t want or can’t use a deal they paid for or are desperate for a deal they missed.   Here are a few typical reasons why group buyers like to get rid of their group-bought coupons:

  1.  You gained new information, such as products/service review.
  2. You bought the coupon on a whim.
  3. You were not the decision-maker, someone else bought it for you or on your behalf.
  4. You just simply overbought and the coupons are nearing expiration date.
  5. You desired to conform to social/group norms.  (Sometimes social factors, not facts and logic, drive group decision making.   Group members tend to fall blindly in line behind the most influential people in the group.)
  6. Your circumstances changed, you need money or you are relocating to another city where the coupon is worthless.

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Social Media Advertising to Expand & Increase

Social Media MarketingA recent article on Mashable.com reports a Pivot study demonstrating that marketeers are not only comfortable with advertising on Facebook and Twitter, but see that expanding into new arenas. Growing platforms for marketing and advertising are LinkedIn, YouTube and FourSquare.

The survey indicate that two-thirds of marketers are already participating in social media advertising, and that 18% will launch new advertising programs in social media in the coming year.

How extensive is this? The numbers:

  • 93% report advertising campaigns on Facebook
  • 78% report advertising campaigns on Twitter

Just as importantly, 54% reported they were satisfied with results from their social media advertising campaigns.

Twenty percent of respondents in the survey indicate the will deploy advertising campaigns on LinkedIn, FourSquare, and YouTube in the coming year. This represents a significant expansion of social networking marketing and demonstrates an increasing confidence level in marketers for using these platforms.

The loosers? Marketers report they will not consider MySpace, Meebo, Gowalla, MyLife or Tagged as viable candidates for advertising campaigns.

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Writing: Spell your way to success

Mispellings in WritingSorry all you texters, Writing Counts!

Business and communication professionals could learn a thing or two from the Typo Eradication Advancement League. We need to communicate in writing effectively — and without error — to keep our customers and readers happy.

Spelling vigilantes, Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson, make up TEAL. And they roam from misspelling to misspelling around the country on their personal crusade. They find misspellings on door signs, advertisements, menus and anywhere else they come in contact with the written word. Benjamin, a religion major, even spotted a mistake in a Biblical passage.

The two use a sharpie and white out to correct errors in writing of all kinds — mostly those highly visible public signs. You may even have seen their story on television.

Watch the ABC News Video.

Business and communication professionals have more advanced tools like spell check. But we mangle words anyway because spell check application will not catch everything. And so we usually get caught when we misspell a word. There are plenty of people who think of themselves as spelling eradicators who love to point out mistakes in our work.

And let’s face it, grammatical errors and misspellings in our writing make us look sloppy and incompetent.

They detract from our Brand.

They cheapen our product.

Our service appears less professional.

Instead of always clinging exclusively to your computer’s spell check function, you should learn to spell a few often-misspelled words on your own, too. This will ensure that you’re a more competent speller — not just your computer.

Here’s a list of hard words to spell that you may use in promotion or advertising copy.

  • Acceptable
  • Consensus
  • Immediately
  • Indispensable
  • Judgment
  • Believe
  • Grateful
  • Special
  • Success
  • To / too / two
  • Tomorrow
  • Their / they’re / there

And, yes…there will be a spelling test…

from your clients and customers!

By Stacey McArthur, smcarthur@s3cg.com


City Selling: Four Things Every Tourism Marketer Ought to Know

City Selling the Republic of San Marino Not every city can pull off a Rome or a Paris—that is—not every city can speak for itself.

But everyone is City Selling. The juxtaposition of centuries of art, architecture and natural beauty makes these cultural capitals come alive with personality and flavor. With hundreds of years of promotion already behind them, they are at the forefront of the race when it comes to vacation destinations. Faced against such tough competition out there, how can a travel marketer put his own location on the map?

Just because a city, town, or village does not boast a Fontana di Trevi or the Mona Lisa does not mean that it is not worth visiting; destinations are popular for a variety of reasons. The French-speaking Swiss town of Montreux, for example, draws thousands of spectators with its annual jazz festival. Eastern European cities such as Budapest and Karlovy Vary have long been renowned for their thermal baths. And across the pond, many tourists flock to the United States each year just to cruise along the “Ole’ 66.” So even the smallest things can be of great interest to people: a concert, a spa, or even a mere road.

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