Today’s post comes from Bridgz channel service rep Dawn Wadtke.
One of my favorite department stores has recently implemented a promotional campaign involving the use of QR codes, which shoppers can scan to gain access to all sorts of informational content, videos, contest entries and more.
For those who are unfamiliar, QR (or Quick Response) codes are matrix barcodes that can be scanned with the camera from a smart phone through an application. Given the saturation of devices with these capabilities, QR codes have become a popular way for trendy stores and companies to engage with customers.
Unfortunately, while I’d love to own a smart phone, I’m just not able to right now, and I’m certainly not the only one.
So while prominently featuring QR codes throughout their stores might help this company to connect with a certain segment of its customer base, it simultaneously pushes another segment away. Why should I be deprived of these promotions just because I don’t have a certain type of cell phone? And what about shoppers with smart phones who don’t know how QR codes work?
This is the paradox faced by companies seeking to utilize a relatively new technology as a marketing tool. There will always be a portion of customers that don’t have access to the capability, or don’t understand it. This is not to say that using QR codes is a bad idea, but it might be advisable to offer an alternative method for others to access the same information and promotions, because being left out is never a great feeling.
It has long bothered me that Best Buy, often portrayed as a poster child for customer-centricity, pushes to sell me an extended warranty when I purchase a new TV. My reaction is: why don’t you just sell quality products that last more than three years so I don’t need insurance?
Well, no need to concern myself with extended warranties anymore, because my TV will be outdated long before it breaks down. What I need is obsolescence insurance, to protect me from the fear and anxiety of having outdated electronic equipment. And Best Buy is here to help with its new obsolescence protection plan.
This year Americans will send out 1.5 billion holiday cards. That may seem like a lot, but it’s a sharp decline from years past. Studies indicate that the use of holiday greeting cards has been in decline for the past five years and is now at an all-time low.
It is a tradition destined for extinction, much like the written letter, as the massive Gen Y population is simply not interested in physical greeting cards. An increasing number are opting instead for the use of e-cards, which have been on the rise for the past five years.
Speaking at the 2010 Online Marketing Summit held last month in San Diego, John Battelle, the CEO of Federated Media Publishing, had an interesting take on how brands have come to be defined in a customer-centric marketplace, within a social media context.
“A brand is what one of you says to another one of you about a company,” he stated.
It’s not about the products but the conversation, he said. “The most important thing marketers can do is to leverage new tools that allow people to engage in conversations around the brand. We need to go where the human passion is, we need to listen, understand the social mores of the conversation and figure out how to add value.”
Research has shown that decisions fueled by emotion very often bring less desirable outcomes than those made in a reasonable and logical fashion. One area of research in particular has focused on investors making stock trading decisions; the results are fairly clear cut: those who make decisions emotionally almost inevitably realize less favorable results. Yet, this is a highly emotional endeavor, much like gambling, where feelings of fear and greed tend to override rational logic.
Luckily, there’s new technology that will let traders know when emotion levels are flaring up, so they can get up, move slowly away from the computer and take a couple of deep breaths before hitting the buy or sell button.