EMA Ad Guy's Blog

February 20, 2011

QR Codes: Why Before How-To.

Filed under: Uncategorized — emaadguy @ 1:57 pm
QR Code Cupcake

Image by clevercupcakes via Flickr

This was a guest post on Matt’s blog. Matt asked me to do a “How-to on QR Codes”. I’m just thankful he asked me back to blog.

It would be easy for me to tell you to go to the zxing project, follow the instructions, and POOF. A QR Code appears. We’d be done. And I’d ride off into the sunset.

That’s not why I come to Matt’s blog. And I hope it’s not why you do, either. Let’s start with a background, some uses, and finish with a challenge you can take back to your cubicle.

Background: Two Dimensional Barcodes.

There are 19 different 2-D Barcodes (mobile tags) out in the market that I can count. A few of them are backed by some big players. Google has Goggles. Microsoft has Microsoft tags. Stickybits allows you to share and contribute content. JagTag works on just about any mobile platform (and does cool customization). The list is as long as it is diverse. But all of them have some commonalities. You place them in some environment, a users scans or takes a picture of them. Something amazing happens on the user’s phone. And a client gets an award at the end of the year for “breakthrough use of technology”.

I started working with 2-D barcodes back in 2007 when I was at a mobile start-up. And they were even cooler way back then. But there was one big drawback. In order to activate a 2-D barcode, you needed a mobile phone with a 2.0 mega-pixel camera or better. And those models weren’t available/didn’t exist in the US at the time.

Fast forward 4 years, smartphones occupy 30-50 percent of the market, and mobile tags can be generated by anyone. This, to me, is a problem.

A mobile tag is a mobile Easter egg. It’s a benefit. It’s a deeper reward. Today, right now, it’s a surpie for those people that have downloaded the app, know how to use it, and are intellectually curious. It’s a power play we, as marketers, can give to our most inquisitive consumers to reward them with valuable content that puts them in a position to broadcast this rare knowledge to their friends. It is not a drive to web.

Unfortunately, many marketers are using 2-D Barcodes as gateways to homepages that offer little to no reward. We owe it to our creative teams, our clients, and the public to defend against this willy-nilly mentality. So how should we use 2-D Barcodes?

Uses of 2-D Barcodes:

Below are five reasons to use a 2-D Barcode. There are probably more…I’m no expert. These are just a few of the criteria I use when positioning the 2-D Barcode discussion with clients.

1. Bringing the Physical World to Life

What value can you add to a sign? Could you make it a destination that people want to associate with? Now all media can drive to engagement over informative boiler-plate info. Think about how mobile tags can amplify your paid media efforts. Deliver value at the spot.

2. Improving the In-Aisle Experience

Think about what you could do if you had the ability to broadcast a TV spot demo-ing your clients’ USP in the aisle of Home Depot. Send me to a site that has a sales sheet and you’ve lost me. But show me how this product improves my life over other options in that aisle, or give me a one-time discount, and I’ll buy.

3. A Better Entertainment Experience

Putting the movie trailer on a movie poster is cool. Putting behind the scenes, deeper, richer experiences is even cooler. Think about all the assets you can leverage, and choose the ones that can’t be accessed elsewhere. Reward those in the know so that they’ll share. People like to share.

4. Being in the Now.

Are there extenuating circumstances that influence whether a customer buys (or uses) your product? If I was a resort, the weather might be important. Or a webcam to a dance floor on spring break. Think about the drivers for purchase/use and the real-time data you have access to. Think experience over (sales) form.

5. A Social Interaction

“Follow us” on Facebook or Twitter is work. Especially from a mobile device using an app. Using 2-D Barcodes on out-of-home to initiate interactions makes sense. Why? A social platform isn’t a static page, it’s a forum of user-generated content.

The 2D Barcode Challenge:

If you have any say into how work is prepared or reviewed, I challenge you to ask these four questions before hopping on the 2-D Barcode train.

1.  Is scanning a 2-D Barcode a better experience than directing the user to a URL? If your answer is “the QR Code goes to the homepage, www.nike.com,” then send them to nike.com in type. Even with fat thumbs and sticky fingers, I can type nike.com faster than launching the code.

2. How can 2-D Barcodes deliver exceptional value? Let’s be ambassadors for this platform and defend it. Let’s avoid bottom-feeding. Every valueless 2-D Barcode experience reminds the user (who get’s it) that it’s not worth their time (to get it) or their effort (to pass it on).

3. Is the payoff optimized for mobile? If the site isn’t optimized for mobile (has flash, broken images, slow page loads, or lots of zooming-in and zooming-out), challenge the destination/payoff.

4. Is it appropriate? And is it the right 2-D Barcode? I recently read on Marketing Vox that MediaPost suggests “Adding them to email and forum signatures…Each of your outgoing emails should feature a QR code at the bottom in the signature spot in order to assist readers in linking to your subscription or selling pages.”

Why would we migrate people from a faster page load and a larger screen to a subscription form on my mobile phone? And if I happen to be reading it from my phone, what good does it do me?

Finally, Setting up 2-D Barcodes:

Go to http://zxing.appspot.com/generator/ follow the instructions, and POOF. A QR Code appears. I have to ride off into the sunset, now.

Related articles
Enhanced by Zemanta

July 21, 2010

foursquare ad nauseum.

Filed under: Uncategorized — emaadguy @ 12:39 am

every day, another 20 blog posts and articles go up about foursquare. either you’re excited about what LBS can deliver for your clients’ brands, or you’re tired of hearing about it.

I recently ran across three assets/articles that brought a lot of clarity to where/how foursquare can be better positioned as a tool for EMA/our clients.

Where People Check-In:

By looking at how often people check into a given location, we see a measure of loyalty. Most of these are employers (work), coffee shops (habit/leisure), transit stations and fitness clubs (perceptions/habit).

Interestingly enough, the top 20 venues by repeat visitors is…wait for it…ad agencies. I computed EMAs stats for fun…

It doesn’t surprise me that CP+B, R/GA and W+K are selling digital solutions incorporating social media…they’re practicing it every day…at scale. Check out Atlanta, BTW.

Take Away:

Be it foursquare or blogging, those agencies with employees that incorporate social media into their personal lives, seem to be able to sell it better.

What the Brand/Consumer Wants:

Bring up the idea of a badge in a client meeting, and if the client is aware of foursquare, their eyes start to sparkle. Imagine that! 5,000 people running around with my logo permanently affixed to their foursquare wall! Not so fast.

Brands want this. Customers don’t. This is the old guard mentality seeping into a new media solution. Instead, we ought to give consumers what they want. Value. From the Forbes blog:

We recently polled about a hundred users of Foursquare and similar services about their check-in habits.  Badges in general were the main reason for our respondents to use the services, followed by insider tips and mayorships. But when we asked them about the role brands should play on Foursquare, fewer than half agreed that brands should offer special badges, while an overwhelming majority — 82% — want to see brands offer more deals and specials to loyal customers.

We then asked them: “What would motivate you to use location-based social networks more frequently and regularly than you currently are?” The common answer: coupons, discounts and deals.

Foursquare has actually picked up on this, and has discontinued the practice of creating branded badges for the time being.

i can’t disagree with them. i’d much rather tell the story around receiving my crunked badge (4+ bars in one night) than my barista badge (5 starbucks location check-ins). oddly, i can remember every detail of “crunked”, but can only recall 3/5 of the starbucks locations.

Take Away:

LBS is not the time or the place to pick up brand impressions, it’s a time to close. The buyer will never be closer to your client’s products than s/he is at check-in.

Why People Check in:

People check-in to celebrate events. The top 20 venue check-ins by unique visitors are airports (I’m on vacation) or stadiums (go Yankees) or tourist attractions (I’m going to Disneyland).

Take Away:

The value of the location/event is more valuable to the user than any transactional value from the location or event. These places operate on volume, and their offering is such that they’ll never need to incentivize users to talk about them. Foursquare is not a good solution for these venues.

How do I Measure Success on Foursquare?

Up until a couple of weeks ago, it was simply a numbers game. Last week your client had 10 check-ins. This week they have 15 check-ins. So it’s working. Unfortunately, we couldn’t tell for certain what it is (the standard marketing problem–which half of my marketing dollars are working). We now have access to national, aggregate data. So in addition to looking at competitors, we can see aggregate performance. e.g. we can claim what’s ours.

Take Away:

we now have better data. we can come closer to proving ROI than ever before. this social media stuff is no longer a game, it’s a way to do business.

Final Thoughts:

What are you doing to increase your social media/digital IQ?

When was the last time you played around in a new social media pool without the lifeguard on duty?

And do you feel more comfortable talking to your clients about how these solutions can work for them?


Enhanced by Zemanta

July 9, 2010

More on Foursquare

Filed under: Uncategorized — emaadguy @ 5:20 pm

was it thomas jefferson or the bandit from blazing saddles that said, “badges? we don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”

foursquare announced yesterday a new concept in location-based services that comes as close as we’ve seen to augmented reality. you’ve heard about badges for checkins, frequency-based discounts, and even mayorship rewards, but this is even bigger.

they call it a layer…and it’s got some wicked cool applications. a brand now has the ability to share it’s knowledge of the location to users. in human terms, i tweeted wednesday that i was in buffalo. i got 4 text messages from friends telling me things to do. (and i’m still a little upset i didn’t get a beef on weck.)

brand as friend, anyone? bueller? bueller?

how does it work for a brand? maybe your client is the syracuse board of tourism. i check in at starbucks by the office. i get pushed a message telling about the invention of the shot clock, and a suggestion to visit the museum across the street to see the latest exhibit on basketball.

or maybe your client is a hotel. i check in. this time, i’m given a list of local businesses within three blocks that will give me a discount because i’m staying at your client’s hotel.

if the organization is big enough, it could possibly be an added revenue stream through affiliate advertising. all that’s needed is a relevant story to tell.

by the numbers:

  • foursquare, the largest of the LBS platforms hit 1.9MM in membership.
  • it has 5.6MM venues.
  • 28% share on facebook. 11% share on twitter.
  • twice this week, there were over 1MM checkins in a single day (51MM impressions each day).

not all LBS are the same…and foursquare might not be the right one for your client. others to keep an eye on are

@brightkite @whrrl @yelp @loopt (Star) @CauseWorld @wereward @rally_up @WHERE @DeHood. call x1414 for more information.

Related articles by Zemanta

Enhanced by Zemanta

June 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — emaadguy @ 2:36 am

what is foursquare?

well, EMA took over a couple foursquare accounts. and it might be something you want to catch-up on, you know, in your off time.

the client was Qdoba Mexican Grill. the suit was Brian Perry in the Charlotte office.

and, well, we now have access to a number of foursquare accounts. for those unfamiliar, foursquare is a location-based game. people check-in to locations to obtain the mayorship title or points. with each check-in, their social network of choice is informed of their location. up until a six months ago, it meant nothing.

now, it’s a way to reward your loyal customers.

but i’d never seen the back-end of the foursquare platform personally. and i’m betting that neither had you. here’s our sneak-peek.

there’s a simple way to manage the profile. the one draw back is that you cannot (as of tonight) delete a falsified user-generated location.

stats available about who tweeted, who facebooked, who visited the most, who visited recently. as most people won’t drive across town for a QSR option, we can reasonably expect that this location is somewhere near work or home.

when are they checking in? and who were the last checkins? pretty powerful stuff, folks. the classical madmen–hames, bulger, mower and ogilvy–spoke about this decades ago.

much of the discussion has been around how we separate employees from customers. foursquare players think it’s decidedly unfair that the mayor works at the location. well, we had a little idea…and we’re excited to try it out. reward employees for checking in, but segment them from the consumer.

so, that’s foursquare for you. we’ll soon be rewarding customers with things like, “it’s your third check-in, show this screen for a free drink”. Or maybe we’ll handing out queso for every 10th checkin?

and, because the average twitter user has 120+ followers and the average facebook user has 130 friends, we’re hoping to see a little spike in activity in the Charlotte market.

Enhanced by Zemanta

June 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — emaadguy @ 1:39 pm

mobile tagging is hitting some big-time brands.

WARC announced today that Pepsi, Coke, and Campbell’s Soup have launched mobile tagging initiatives.

Pepsi has chosen stickybits–an app based tag that allows users to participate in the dialogue. Coke has chosen a more controlled approach. They will use the tags to deliver content they’ve posted…then roll out user uploaded content further down the pipeline.

A third version in all of this is MicroSoft Tag, downloaded and used by close to a billion businesses/users since it’s launch.

This is truly a remarkable way to transform the static outside world into an engaging brand experience…deliver deals at point of sale, entertain commuters with co-branded videos, drive loyalty during a consumer’s downtime.

Did you know we’ve proposed all three solutions at EMA in the last six months? Or that we’ve successfully launched a MicroSoft Tag initiative?

What is it that your clients’ offer that could modify prospective customers behavior out in the real world?


Enhanced by Zemanta

June 7, 2010

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — emaadguy @ 2:23 pm

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

Blog at WordPress.com.