Well, if you’re reading this, the QR code technology must have worked. That’s no real surprise, I suppose, but now that you’re here—and before I get to the extension of my QP column—let me ask you a question: How would you rate the “reading experience” so far on your smart phone?
In marketing terms, I created some momentum by getting you to take a next step, from the printed page to this electronic page, but will I lose that momentum due to the limitations of the small screen? That definitely happened when I took the next step from the real estate agent’s postcard to her Web page via the QR code, and also through the text messaging option. (I sent the text and received an almost immediate reply, with a tinyurl link that took me to the same webpage as the QR code.)
The problem was in navigating around what was essentially an 8.5x11" image on a small screen. One solution would have been a Web page optimized for mobile devices. Another might simply have been a smaller landing page containing only text and links to other images. Both of those are things that a progressive printer/marketing services provider could have suggested, created, and charged for!
Would the real estate agent have taken on that “additional” cost? OK, maybe not, but every sale doesn’t have to be the “top of the line” option. Part of the pathway to success as an MSP is to establish your credibility, and one of the most powerful ways to accomplish that is to be able to say: “There are several ways we can approach this!”
That raises another important issue. What was the goal of this marketing program in the first place? As I wrote in the printed part of this column, I think the real estate agent’s objective was to stimulate listings, and that’s a completely different objective than “to create awareness” or “to generate referrals” or “to sell this particular house.” If you don’t understand the objective, you probably can’t suggest an appropriate marketing plan!
Here is something else to consider, and it’s something that I’ve written before: This was not a QR code campaign—nor was it a direct mail program, a postcard project, or a cross-media campaign. The right terminology is marketing program. As it happens, this particular marketing program includes printing and QR codes and other cross-media elements. It’s all about marketing, though! The objective drives the program, not the technology. In other words, you don’t include QR codes in the program just because you have the technology. You only include them if they’ll help you reach the objective!
In many cases, in fact, a “low technology” approach might even be a better choice. Let’s think some more about the overall objectives of the customer. And please note that now I want to talk about objectives (plural). Because in addition to generating listings through the direct mail component of the program, the agent also stands to make some money by selling the house!
So what sort of media would be appropriate to place at the house itself? At one end of the technology spectrum, the agent could place a quantity of “data sheets” at the house, possibly in a plastic sleeve attached to the “For Sale” sign. That’s been a fairly common practice in residential real estate for many years. At the other end of the spectrum, he/she could place a QR code on the sign itself. As a marketing services provider, which of those would you suggest?
I would probably suggest both! The “old technology” would place the desired information in the hands of the “shopper,” using paper and ink or toner. The “new technology” would provide another option for a more sophisticated potential buyer. But consider this, if you have the printed sell sheet, do you even need the QR code? Does it really add anything to the likelihood of success or is it just showing off?