Mobile Marketing: huh?

Mobile Marketing is a term that conjures up many different opinions when you ask people what it means to them. Ask them what return they want from it and those opinions differ too. With consumers and businesses making use of smartphones and iPads to access websites and a plethora of apps wherever and whenever they choose, getting your mobile marketing strategy right is becoming more and more important.

You have a website already and you’re ready to think about mobile, so what next? To app or not, that is the question.

If you have a website, review your digital strategy before you jump in with an app. Think about what your website does today, how and where people use it and the journey you want to take people on. Does your website achieve the objectives you have set for it? What would an app deliver in addition to what your website does today?

Apps are cool. The devices we use to access them are cool. But, does that justify the development expense? Or ongoing costs for new versions? How will you show a return? For most of us with a responsibility to show return on investment (ROI) it will come down to results.

Rather than building an app to it is better to ask ‘whether your website is mobile friendly or not’? Does it play well on multiple formats? Has it been designed with the customer in mind? Do you give your customers a single view regardless of how that customer interacts with your company? If we don’t deliver what the customers what to see, in a format that they prefer, we lose out.

When it comes to your digital strategy, think about that you want to get out of your website and the journey you’ll take customers on. Cool comes later.

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QR code: to use or not to use? That is the question.

QR codes have been kicking around for a while. One of my colleagues interestingly choseto describe it as “another example of nice idea from a tech perspective, but not that useful in reality”.

QR codes have attracted controversies and support alike.¬†Jon Barocas in his article “Why QR codes won’t last” on @mashable, describes how Mobile Visual Search (MVS) will displace QR codes and the security risks of QR codes. In this post, I am not trying to add to the controversies or support.

Personally, I believe QR codes like any other technology, will ultimately be displaced by new innovations. Keeping pace with new innovations, technological or otherwise, has always been one of the key challenges for marketeers.

I also believe that the real challenge though, is to use available tools in an innovative way to deliver great experience which will ultimately decide success vs failure of a marketing initiative. And the same applies here to QR codes.

Yes, QR codes involve that bit of extra effort by the user to fire up an App. But time and again, it has been proven, make it worth their while and they will do it! As long user effort involved feels like it is a part of their journey rather than a hurdle to overcome to get to what they want.

Tesco reinvented Grocery shopping in Korea with its Virtual Stores, and QR codes play an integral part its success.

Next time your stick a QR code up somewhere, here are a few things to think about:

  • What does the end to end journey look like, is it consistent?
  • Is there a quicker alternative which is cheaper (less effort) for the user? Sometimes its better to stick up a short url which a user can type into their mobile browser. Its quicker than firing up a QR code reader app, scanning the QR code, and then waiting for browser redirect.
  • Does your QR code link to a mobile friendly browser page? When was the last time you scanned a QR code on a laptop or desktop?!!

QR codes provide a great way of connecting your physical and digital world, of course MVS is an equally compelling alternative. But MVS is still developing, QR code is a cheap and easy alternative.

To use or not to use? Well, that depends on where, when and how. Sticking a QR code into a banner ad on the train station, does not make it any more likely someone will visit your site than putting a URL on it. The key is to flip and think from the user experience point of view and what you are going to achieve by incorporating QR codes.

Do you know of other examples of how QR codes have been used in a seamless way like the Tesco virtual stores in Korea? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!