By John Arnsdorf, product marketing manager at XMPie, A Xerox Company
Even though QR Codes have been around since the mid 90’s, their adoption rate has only recently taken off. This is due in part to a larger population of people toting smartphones with higher resolution cameras, larger screens, faster Internet connections, and lower data rates. Between July and December 2010, QR Code scanning increased an astonishing 1,200% across North America, according to a report from mobile payments and marketing company Mobio Identity Systems Inc. Additionally, a separate study found that 57% of Facebook and Twitter users said they have scanned a mobile barcode at least once in the past year, while as many as 40% had done so 5 or more times in the past year. Considering the Facebook population surpassed a staggering 900 million active members earlier this year, that is a lot of people scanning a lot of QR Codes. Now that QR Codes have gone mainstream, the challenge is to utilize them in new and creative ways that engage customers and allow them to interact with brands in a whole new way.
I am frequently asked by customers, “How can I use QR Codes in my marketing campaigns?” The real question is, “How can you more effectively use QR Codes in your marketing campaigns?” It is not enough to simply slap a 2D barcode onto something; you need to thoughtfully incorporate QR Codes into each touch point; use one to link to online content, use it as a vehicle to interact with customers, or create experience around your brand. Personally, I don’t like answering a question with a question; however, so I’ve written 5 tips to get you thinking about how you might integrate a QR Code into your next campaign.
- Make a QR Code part of the call-to-action. I’m more likely to make the effort to scan a code if I know it might lead me to a personalized coupon, contest, game or something that is out of the ordinary and unique. I might even scan a code to reveal a surprise, but it better be good. It’s always a good idea to offer a strong motivator to entice your target audience into scanning your QR Code.
- Use QR Codes in your signage and displays. I’m a foodie. Consequently, I frequent a lot of wine and cheese shops, and other specialty stores, to learn about and buy the products they sell. Even though I like learning about the products I choose to spend my money on, I don’t like stores that litter the shelves with information about each product. Displays should have just enough information to draw me in and use QR Codes linking to supplemental information, such as varietal information, tasting notes and food pairings.
- Use QR Codes to save your customers time. If you are inviting your loyal customers to an event, use the code to add the event to their calendar with all the relevant details. If you are prospecting to new customers and want them to visit your brick-and-mortar, use the code to give them a map with door-to-door directions. QR Codes can contain up to 4,296 alphanumeric characters, so use them!
- Make it easy for your customers to give you money. Like many of you, I get countless donation letters from every not-for-profit under the sun. The vast majority of them expect me to fill out a form, write a check, and worst of all, find an envelope and stamp. I’m sorry, but that takes too much of the precious little time I do have, and chances are I don’t have a stamp. I think I am still using the same book of forever stamps I bought years ago. Give me a QR Code I can scan that links to a personalized site with all my information filled out and a place to enter my donation and pay with PayPal, and you’ll get my financial support.
- Give your customers something they can keep. Sometimes, after a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is spend the next 1-2 hours cooking dinner. So, I turn to my restaurant drawer, which is stuffed to the brim with to-go menus that are typically hand-folded photocopies of photocopies. These notoriously poor reproductions of the normal menu are my take-away impression of the restaurant. What a lost opportunity to ‘wow’ me. Restaurateurs, if you are listening, use a QR Code outside your establishment, which links to a PDF of your menu that I can download and keep on my phone. Now I can have your menu instantly accessible anytime I feel like going out for a bite to eat.
However you choose to use a QR Code in your next campaign, make sure you leverage what you already know about your customers and give them a personalized experience. And if you don’t know anything about me, use the QR Code to get me to a page where I can tell you a little about myself. If I think there is something in it for me, I’m liable to give up a little information.
By Larry Zusman, worldwide marketing manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
The Cleveland House of Blues is a very cool venue for a presentation. That goes without saying. But when you add a room full of attendees at a ‘Lunch ‘N Learn’ that are hungry for the keys to success in cross-media marketing, you have just the right harmony for a successful event.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting and speaking with some of our prospects and customers in the Cleveland Ohio area. It was an eclectic bunch to say the least. There were commercial printers, digital printers, creatives, in-plant managers and marketing professionals — pretty much the entire spectrum of the industry.
The subject of the day was “25 Ways in 25 Minutes to Make Money with Cross-Media Services.” The purpose of the event was to educate attendees on the critical success factors in starting and maintaining a value-added-based business consisting of variable data digital print and cross-media marketing services. On the corporate marketing and in-plant side, the approach was to provide insight into what they can now do in the guise of fully-integrated cross-media campaigns. The topics spanned a wide variety of strategies and technologies that can add more revenue and profit to enterprises and the providers who service them. Subjects included integrated cross-media marketing, mobile marketing, PURLS and RURLS, social media, QR codes, tracking/analytics, and email marketing with image personalization.
What got everyone’s attention was when I showed them the latest technology from XMPie in video personalization. They were excited about the opportunity to use Adobe After Effects with the XMPie solution and create cinematic-quality movies. One customer wanted to know how difficult it was to create the videos if you knew After Effects at a basic level. When they found out it as simple as connecting the variable data to the content using a simple XMPie software plug-in, they were ready to jump right in!
With the interest level of the attendees, it is clear that cross-media marketing, and the services associated with it, will continue to be a hot topic in the coming year. For providers who are looking for growth in 2012 with these offerings, it is the perfect time to evaluate the right solution for your business, implement it across your organization, and assemble the best team to deliver it.
I leave you with my one regret on this event. I really should have worn my John Belushi Blues Brother’s black suit with the super thin tie. But thinking twice on this, it never would have fit anyway.
By Larry Zusman, worldwide marketing manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
Although I spent most of my time the past few days in the XMPie booth at the DMA Annual Conference and Exhibition demonstrating our new Video Personalization solution as another component of integrated cross-media marketing, I also got the chance to walk around and network with many attending marketing professionals. Here are my observations.
It seems quite clear that print, email, Web, mobile, and even voice technologies are becoming so advanced, that they are becoming somewhat inconsequential. What I mean is that with untold numbers of companies involved in what could be defined as the “Cross-Media Marketing Landscape,” the real differentiators must come from more than just the technology.
As I walked around the show, it appeared at first glance that everyone is doing exactly the same thing. But, of course, that is not the case, as those that have flourished must be offering some type of unique selling proposition to their customers. The trick to finding what is inside their hat, so to speak, is to look for that magical formula for success. I believe that with most firms, in addition to them having the perfect solution to create relevance in their cross-media marketing, their unique value lies within the data strategy, gathering, and intelligence behind these communications. Those thriving are more than just cross-media marketing companies that can use variable data, images, graphics, and video. Rather, these are firms that have perfected the capture and analysis of data to understand the who, what, where, and most important, why of purchase behavior – past, present and future.
Through using this intelligence to drive integrated cross-media marketing campaigns with relevant print, email, Web, mobile, and now video content, these messages can break through the usual marketing clutter and evoke response and action. In short, it is the data that drives the decision. For those involved in cross-media marketing, it illuminates the need to develop campaigns that capture critical customer information, use it to generate highly-individualized communications, and track and analyze the results for optimal ROI.
Another important observation is that technologies must be viewed on a continuum of marketing tools. Clearly they are evolving at a never before anticipated pace, and as such, the value of the technology is much more important than the details. For example, lots of companies are using QR codes for their campaigns – they are an excellent tool for linking print to personal mobile sites (PURLs) – but it’s more important to view this “category” as technologies that bridge offline and online communications. By looking at it this way, you can leverage the concept with a wide selection of technology choices. For example, with the rise in mobile, voice systems and geo-location systems can also be used to bridge various modes of communications and can be factored into the cross-media mix.
DMA2011 had many themes, but perhaps the one that rang out the loudest, and was the main focus of Xerox CMO Christa Carone’s keynote speech on Sunday, is this: the world of direct marketing as we know it is morphing into something very different, in which all forms of media will become more convergent, direct, relevant, and in fact, intimate. What is most important for us all to remember is that as technology advances, and ways to communicate are introduced that we have not even dreamed about, the same marketing strategy will always remain – the more customers we can reach with content that grabs their attention, gets understood, and generates a positive response, the more we will sell, grow and profit.
Filed under: Cross Media, Events, General, Marketing, One-to-one
By Christine Winter, PR/marketing programs manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
Unless you’re a N.Y. Yankees fan, why wouldn’t you (the real-time marketer) want an excuse to visit Boston for “the global event for real-time marketers?” Exactly. GRAPH EXPO has come and gone, and now it’s time to shift focus towards DMA2011. Here are five reasons to register today:
- We’ll be there! Visit booth #620 to see first hand how XMPie can help you reel in more business and profit with 1:1 multi-channel marketing communications. And, of course, we’ll be showcasing the new solution that got lots of buzz and won a Must See ‘em award at GRAPH EXPO — XMPie uVideo. In fact, hear Xerox CMO Christa Carone talk about why she’s excited about new video technologies here! That leads me to #2…
- Xerox CMO Christa Carone is the Sunday morning keynote speaker. She’ll discuss how to break through information overload with customized marketing and personalized cross-media communications. Her speech, entitled “Are You Talking to Me? Mastering Relevant Messaging through Mass Customization,” will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 2. Click here for a sneak peak!
- Boston is a very cool, fun place. Lots of things to see and do. Did you know it’s one of America’s oldest cities? Check out this list of some sights to check out while you’re in Boston for DMA2011.
- It’s the perfect opportunity to check out the coolest, new cutting-edge marketing tools and techniques, of course! Acquisition and lead generation. Creative and production. Real-time and trigger marketing. Mobile strategies. Direct and digital marketing fundamentals. Cross-channel strategy. Data, measurement and attribution. Retention and loyalty. Brand, social and content marketing. These are the hot topics this year, and over 400 technology partners and solution providers (like XMPie) — and many more marketing experts — will be there to help guide you in the right direction for your business.
- Did I mention XMPie is an exhibitor? Sorry; I couldn’t resist.
Hope to see you there!
By Judy Berlin, director of Worldwide Marketing, XMPie, A Xerox Company
The Internet and mobile communications through smartphones, and ever-more-popular Apple iPads and tablet computers, are altering the landscape of the commerce world. Add social media to the mix and one can see a dramatic empowerment of the individual to influence brands in both positive and negative ways. We also know that customers today are more inclined to use the Web to research and evaluate products and services through mobile and online networks, and this increased role of e-media in the buying process is taking place across all industries.
Does all this mean that print is no longer relevant?
As the director of Worldwide Marketing at XMPie, A Xerox Company, I often receive promotional mail pieces from a variety of sources. The other day, Arie, our IT manager, handed me a mail piece he had received from a most surprising source. Google – the icon of advertising in the online world – sent me a printed coupon with an offer of 200 shekels off a Google Adwords campaign for our company website. Now, if you think about it, despite the fact that Google has a relatively easy-to-implement means of getting their message to us online, they chose to also send a traditional mail piece with a pretty good offer. This is because Google cleverly understands the value of print.
Research shows that print is still a vital component, and when included in an integrated, one-to-one cross-media marketing campaign, it is a force multiplier that generates much better results. In fact, according to Infotrends, marketers today understand this and will, on average, utilize at least three different media types for their campaigns – including print. The winning combination consists of a print component, email, and personalized landing pages, and actually proves to be the most profitable.
Mastering the technologies around online components of a marketing campaign is definitely important, but the value of print as a driving media channel should not be ignored. As mobile and social communications become ever more prevalent and accepted in modern marketing tactics, marketers and their service providers that can reach customers with the right personalized message, using the preferred media channels, including print, will win.
By Larry Zusman, worldwide marketing manager, XMPie, A Xerox Company
Have you ever wondered what the XMPie slogan “One to One in One” really means if you don’t already know? Is it a term borrowed from Aristotle describing the highest state of intellectual enlightenment? No. Does it represent the fact that our software was developed by members of One to One, a 1980s Canadian pop music group, in one minute? Definitely not. So, let me try to explain…
One way many people implement cross-media publishing is by bringing in multiple toolsets for each channel (print, Web and email), which also brings in multiple workflows…and potential problems. The variable data print component is relatively straightforward – customer data help designers create variable data designs, and both the data and designs go through a personalization engine to reach the printer and ultimately the recipients.
However, adding additional channels with different vendors isn’t so straightforward. For example, adding personalized websites requires some conversion of the data from the customer’s data source and hosting it on a Web server. From there, the data is used by the Web designer to create a website, and is then sent through a new personalization engine to the recipients. If respondents provide data back, such as answering a survey, somehow you will need find a way to get it back into the customer data source.
If we add email to the mix, we add another level of complexity with data. Do we coordinate with the Web database or the customer database? And, with this multi-vendor approach, how can we ever be sure that the variable data and business rules in all of these three systems are in sync? In other words, how do we guarantee that a specific recipient received the exact same offer and message in print, Web and email if the database and systems are different?
With XMPie we have one system, centralized with a single server solution (the XMPie uProduce Server) that seamlessly connects with the customer database and generates print, email, personalized Web pages, and mobile communications – hence the slogan, “One to One in One”. It also allows important information learned from personalized Web pages – such as surveys – to be returned into the customer database for immediate use. Best of all, because you are working with only one system, you can easily track and analyze every customer interaction in a campaign, across all channels.
So, whether you are a marketing services provider, creative agency or enterprise marketer interested in creating and implementing integrated, measurable 1:1 cross-media campaigns, there is only one right answer: XMPie.
By David Baldaro, Sales and Channel Manager, UK, Ireland & Middle East
As the excitement for this year’s mediaPro Expo in London built, we needed a new, innovative cross-media campaign to help demonstrate XMPie’s capabilities to attendees. Last year we came up with the ground-breaking Twitter campaign that got people talking, so we had big shoes to fill!
After a lot of thought and discussion, we settled on a location-based game to attract customers to the XMPie stand. FourSquare integration was one interesting concept, but that was limited in such a small area like an exhibition hall. Using QR codes, on the other hand, was an enticing thought. QR codes are in the minds of many advertising and marketing executives, so we used them to build the mediaPro 2010 lead-generating campaign with a gaming edge.
Leading with an iPad as an incentive, 15 different QR codes, each configured with its own point value, were created and placed in different locations around the venue—on posters, vinyl banners, exhibition supplements, postcards, and even on t-shirts worn by staff members! Some QR codes were loaded with more points than others, like the one that could be found at the XMPie presentation on the second day of the expo. Obviously we wanted people to come to the presentation, so a massive 1,000 points were up for grabs there!
The first time a gamer scanned a code, we brought them into a mobile site with instructions and a form for capturing their information (name, company name, e-mail and mobile number). Once registered, the points associated with the QR code they scanned were allocated to their account. So, the more QR codes that a gamer scanned, the more points they received, and the better the chance they had of winning the coveted iPad!
More points could also be earned by answering additional questions on the mobile site. Unsurprisingly, the questions were all relevant to our needs and weighted according to the questions that we really needed answered. Each gamer could also check their standing on the live leader board on the site, or on the screen that we had in the exhibition stand. They could also see that more points were available; they just needed to find the additional QR codes.
It was great to see gamers chasing the staff with campaign t-shirts around the venue, hunting for QR codes and coming to the stand to ask about the campaign and XMPie. For us, it was an autonomous campaign—once it started it just ran. We needed to do nothing other than monitor the leader board and check that everything was working. Some gamers even made the return visit on the second day just to get the points at the XMPie presentation. People loved the gaming aspect and the way the campaign was executed.
The result was happy gamers, especially the winner, and a database of potential leads and new information for us to follow-up on. Max Cottle won the iPad at mediaPro with a total of 7,450 points!!
Cross-media campaigns do not have to conform to traditional mediums like print, e-mail, Web and mobile. Innovative campaigns involve different technologies dependant on the audience that they will be engaging. We did not need any personalized print within this campaign, so we stuck to mobile RURLs, e-mails and SMS communications. After all, this was a campaign focused on the mobile and connected audience.
QR codes are a great tool and offer a huge potential to marketers, once they understand that a QR code is not just there to bring a recipient to a mobile website. Someone scanning a QR code is initiating a response, raising a flag, and showing that they are interested. Don’t waste that opportunity by bringing them into a static mobile site. Every QR code potentially has a ‘location’ assigned to it; be it next to a printed product advertisement or a physical location on a map, this is relevant data that should not be ignored by the marketer. Use it! It can add much needed relevance and start a conversation.
In our campaign, a QR code had a location, a marketing message, and a point value. All three of these aspects came into play when someone scanned the code. We referenced the location, spoke about the marketing message and awarded the correct points. Each QR code scanned, along with each interaction, was tracked via the XMPie uProduce Marketing Console so we could see what interaction was happening in real-time. Some people believe that QR codes cannot be tracked easily. This is not the case. By using QR codes within a cross-media campaign, you can track and engage people on a whole new level. We did it, how can you?