Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Are QR Codes Working? Maybe!

As a marketer, QR codes were meant to drive engagement with print materials and validate through analytics the appeal of print. For consumers, QR codes gave their smartphones more functionality and returned more relevant information. They were the secret source that put print and digital into the same room. Today's newspapers use QR codes to give more detail behind the story and ads include QR codes to drive prospects to their websites. But are these ugly squares of lines and shapes successfully transforming the business?

This article written in iMedia Connection actually defends QR codes. And while the title of the piece may assume otherwise, consumers are aware of QR codes, how they work, and how they can be of value. The problem is not with the consumer using QR codes, but with the advertiser and marketers relying on them as a tactic. "Instead of placing a QR Code on an advertisement at the last minute, marketers and creatives need to incorporate codes into a campaign during the early stages of development, and they must do so from the consumer's perspective, not their own. Just these few best practices alone can help boost consumer interaction and response rates."

An interesting read, especially as smartphones continue to become the de facto phone in our daily lives. And as phones can more quickly capture and translate these QR codes, engagement will improve as well.

WIFI, Embraced by Jobs, Competes With Telco

Terrific opinion article in this morning's Wall Street Journal that should be a must read by the FCC and DOJ. I never knew the impact that Steve Jobs had on WIFI, but I am certainly not surprised. He recognized the impact that mobility had on society and embraced it in his devices. And what I learned about usage did surprise me. "Notice, for one thing, that the biggest deliverer of data to smart phones and related devices isn't any of the wireless carriers. It's Wi-Fi, which accounts for 33% compared to 8% for AT&T and 18% for Verizon."

So as the DOJ fights AT&T in their cellular acquisition efforts, they forget to consider that competition comes from more than one source. Our wireless usage comes not from cellular but from WIFI. And with cable companies offering WIFI coverage and competition being offered by Lightsquared, does the consumer have to worry about AT&T Acquiring T-Mobile?

Ultimately, we should let the market figure out ways to enable competition to grow. Too much policy restricts and does not encourage innovation. But I think the article says it best, "In other words, let's have a little more faith in technical and contractual innovations to manage our growing bandwidth demand while Washington engages instead in a more orderly rethink of spectrum policy."