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How luxury marketers can best adapt to mobile bar codes

By
August 6, 2012

Laura Marriott is CEO of NeoMedia Technologies

Despite its relatively new status in mobile, QR codes are quickly becoming a mainstay in luxury brand campaigns. Even though different markets have varying needs for content and placement, there are some general best tips from which all marketers can benefit.

QR codes can offer exclusive access into a luxury brand world to help marketers build brand loyalists and advocates. However, the process must be seamless to align with the luxury brand image, which is something that not all marketers are doing well.

“The first thing I always counsel any marketer on is to start with your objective in mind when defining your campaign,” said Laura Marriott, CEO of NeoMedia Technologies, British Columbia, Canada. “It is so easy to get caught up in the coolness factor with new technology and it is important to stay focused on goal and target audience.

“For the luxury marketer, QR codes provide an opportunity to own that experience by enabling a targeted engagement – access a one-time-only offer, an additional in-store discount or value-added services,” she said.

“A properly-planned bar code marketing strategy should become part of every luxury brands’ integrated marketing strategy to enable these brands to further build and maintain that personal connection with their customers.”

In this Q&A, Ms. Marriott discusses the adoption of QR codes in the United States and overseas, best practice tips and the main mistakes marketers make. Here is the dialog:

What are the main differences between QR code adoptions domestically and overseas?
South Korea and Japan led QR evolution with their introduction and rapid adoption of QR codes.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen the U.S. take a leadership position in overall QR adoption. However, other countries are quickly catching up.

Similar to mobile marketing overall, I believe that we are seeing campaign creativity and deployment across all regions of the world, with innovation and creativity in QR campaigns also coming from all regions.

This is due, in part, to the creativity of the large brands deploying global initiatives and adopting mobile strategies en masse, which help to serve as creativity starters for marketers of all sizes.

Having just spent time as a mobile juror at Cannes Lions, what was particularly exciting is that the submissions covered all geographies and all budgets.

Mobile, and QR codes in particular, have emerged as a powerful mobile media element regardless of brand size.

What are the main similarities?
Perhaps the most compelling similarity across markets is the enormous growth we are seeing in the overall uptake of QR codes.

In the second quarter, NeoMedia saw a 119-percent increase in bar code scanning over the same period last year.

We are also seeing the lion’s share of scans across our platform coming from U.S., Spain, Germany and Britain, showing us that scanning activity is increasing worldwide.

Our scan traffic comes from 193 countries so there are few countries in the world that are not leveraging the opportunities that mobile bar codes provide.

According to Chief Marketer, marketers are realizing the tremendous opportunities QR codes present, with mobile bar codes becoming the most popular mobile marketing tactic in 2011.

We are also seeing QR codes placed in all types of media – outdoor, television, print and so on – which are creating new interactions and experiences, bringing power to these traditional and digital media channels.

Should QR codes be tailored for each market where consumers use them? Is there a market that has not quite adopted to QR codes?
Marketers should always consider the unique needs of a given market and target demographic when deploying a campaign and do their best to build a campaign that will resonate with their audience’s needs.

From a market perspective, retail, automotive and consumer packaged goods have led the way for QR codes, recognizing the power of QR codes to influence the shopper experience.

However, we are seeing a widespread adoption from a variety of industries – everything from government to education to outdoor to health and fitness.

It is exciting to see the thought and creativity being invested by many luxury marketers to create engaging mobile experiences for their consumers.

How can QR codes add value to a luxury brand specifically?
Mobile bar code campaigns help build personal relationships between brands and their customers.

With the luxury market, it is all about exclusivity.

QR codes allow brands to offer VIP-type access to consumers who purchase their products/services, meaning only those who scan get access to the exclusive information or offer after the scan.

Recent research from Nielsen also suggests that the higher a product’s price, the more likely a consumer is to pick up their phone to comparison shop.

For the luxury marketer, QR codes provide an opportunity to own that experience by enabling a targeted engagement – access a one-time-only offer, an additional in-store discount or value-added services.

A properly-planned bar code marketing strategy should become part of every luxury brands’ integrated marketing strategy to enable these brands to further build and maintain that personal connection with their customers.

What are a few best practice tips for marketers using QR codes?
The great thing about QR codes today is that you can draw from the wealth of experience from your vendors as well as the list of case studies in the market.

There are a lot of great learnings in the market around how to effectively manage and launch your QR initiative.

The first thing I always counsel any marketer on is to start with your objective in mind when defining your campaign.

It is so easy to get caught up in the coolness factor with new technology and it is important to stay focused on goal and target audience.

For example, are you looking to drive sign-ups for your loyalty program? Are you trying to increase purchase rates by offering exclusive content or deals for your customers?  Do the demographics for your target audience support a mobile initiative and QR focus?

Secondly, work with credible partners.

If the bar code campaign is going to run for any length of time, you want to ensure that your partner has longevity, a strong service and support track record and can point to a history of success.

In many cases, you may also want your partner to help you manage the program and interpret the results, rather than having to do this on your own, so finding a full-service partner is also key.

There are a lot of solutions out in the market in the QR code space and navigating the options may be complex, but I strongly encourage all marketers to select a partner that offers managed solutions, rather than direct or free codes.

This means that the resolution address can be changed at any time to adapt to the needs of the program over time, as well as the content that you are seeking to deliver to your target audiene.

Most importantly, get creative.

It is fun to scan QR codes and see what exclusive information they will deliver.

Rather than simply sending a consumer to a mobile Web site, see how you can capture the interest of your target audience, and then maintain that dialogue.

QR codes are a great tool and success rates from QR campaigns are high. Marketers should take advantage of this key mobile media element.

Final Take
Laura Marriott, CEO of NeoMedia

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Rachel Lamb is an associate reporter on Luxury Daily. Her beats are apparel and accessories, arts and entertainment, education, food and beverage, fragrance and personal care, government, healthcare, home furnishings, jewelry, legal/privacy and nonprofits. Reach her at rachel@napean.com.

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