The Seven Deadly Sins of QR Codes – Part 2

Last week we covered the first 3 of The Seven Deadly Sins of QR Codes.  If you did not get to read part one, you may do so by clicking here.  This week we cover the remainder.  We hope you find this a useful guide in how to better leverage this technology for your business.

QR Codes Deadly Sin #4 – Not Telling People What to Expect

By not indicating what is waiting for someone at the other end of the rainbow, you reduce the click rate of potential users.  This can be attributed to time being extremely precious, but two other factors play a major role in this.  One is the potential threat of viruses.  You did read that right…  Mistakenly thought to be impervious to viruses, evil doers have recently exploited technology to turn your smart phone into a 1/2 lb brick.  QR codes have proven an efficient way to do this by covering up banner ad QR codes with stickers.  People are more hesitant to scan unless they know where they are going after the click.  Indicating a destination that is tied to your industry can lead to more clicks by showing it to be legitimate.  Second is the ever looming threat of exceeding data plans.  Newer smart phone users no longer have access to unlimited data with mainstream providers like AT&T and Verizon.  This is such a problem that there are apps out there now that exist solely for monitoring your bandwidth usage.  Clicking on a QR now means wasted money for the end user, which leads me to our next sin…

QR Codes

QR Codes Deadly Sin #5 – Not Providing a Click Incentive

Because of bandwidth limits, users must be choosy when it comes to browsing.  Providing a page that allows access to coupons, money saving tips, special offers, etc. will show a higher click rate.  People always need items that will save them time and money.  If you provide a truly good offer, people will follow.  They may even share this with others if you don’t commit the next sin.

QR Codes Deadly Sin #6 – Not Incorporating Social Media

In these days of Social Media, things can go from obscure to viral in a matter of hours.  If you are providing a killer incentive for users to click, you should also make it easy for the user to share.  This doesn’t do much for the user except to let them blather on about the next cool thing they found.  It does a world of good for you though.  Magazines, marketing materials, billboards, etc. all have limited traffic and circulation.  Social Media is the new “Word of Mouth” and needs to be utilized to the fullest.

QR Codes Deadly Sin #7 – Not Capturing User Data

As referenced in the first part of this article, a click on a QR code will give you an IP address and that’s it.  Unless you are the Federal Government, finding a way to trace this back to the details of the end user can be problematic… and illegal too!  Give people a way to provide information to you in exchange for that “killer offer”.  This can be done with simple name and email/mobile number boxes.  Don’t require too much information as typing on smart phones can be a chore.  Just get enough so that you can market to your audience in other ways such as email or text messaging.  Another option is capturing information from the user by driving them to log in using Facebook, Google Plus, etc.  Not capturing information only allows you to engage the end user in the moment and may not lead to future business.

I hope you have enjoyed the article.  If I had to come up with an 8th deadly sin, it would be NOT USING QR CODES.  Leveraging this technology properly can be an extremely successful and cost effective way to promote your business.  If you’re not sure how to get started, consult an expert.  Now you may be part of the DIY crowd, but consulting with someone who has made all the mistakes first and learned the technology will be a much faster path to success.  My last tip?  Get out there and start clicking people!

As an integrated marketing company, Print Tech has been providing marketing services for over 30 years.  If your lead generation is in need of a boost, give us a call and see how we can make your marketing sizzle!
(908) 232-2287
[email protected]


Big Data – How much knowledge of your customers is enough? How much is too much?

  Well it appears that the last post we did on bad data was quite the hit.  With that, it dawned on me to categorize our posts by issues that our readers gravitate toward.  Welcome to the new Data Series from Print Tech!

  A recent read on the website presented a post that discussed “Big Data”.  In the article, the writer discussed how the buzz word “Relevance” has taken a back seat to this new term.  The truth is, it appears to me to be nothing more than semantics.  Relevance in marketing is the idea that you use your knowledge of clients and prospects to deliver messages that have meaning at the group or individual level.  Big data is the relevant data used to achieve those meaningful messages.

  So what’s the point?  Well none really, but it does apply in a sense to my next point.  What information should you capture and how much is enough?

  Since the dawn of sales and marketing, people have been seeking ways to learn more about their customers’ needs.  I myself will ask questions before a meeting in order to deliver a message that caters to their concerns, rather than boring them with big box presentations.  I learned this technique after a few meetings where participants nodded off.

  The availability of data in today’s world can be a blessing and a curse.  Knowing what makes your audience tick can be a powerful tool, but it can also be a massive turn-off with potential for backlash.  Let’s face it, the idea of being watched makes many people in a free society uncomfortable.  The greatest recent examples I can think of occurred at Target retailers.  Target is absolutely one of the best examples of a company that knows how to collect, analyze and leverage data.  What I will present to you is a positive and negative example of their practices.  Hopefully you can make the call on the enough/too much debate when we are done.

Positive – Target Retailers had long been keeping track of customers’ buying habits by tracking their purchases.  After a long period of analyzing data, Target was ready to launch what would become one of the most successful mail campaigns ever recorded.  They created a piece with 20 variable fields and pulled data to offer coupons by product category based on customers’ past purchases.  As the unique barcodes were scanned, Target was able to track exactly who had responded and what they had redeemed.  The result was a 50% lift in response rates over previous static campaigns, proving that proper targeting of your customers can deliver positive measurable results.

Negative – This same approach caused a bit of a backlash when Target started to analyze data perhaps a bit too much.  By looking at purchase histories, Target was actually able to determine pregnancy with certain combinations. (Scary, eh?) In this case, Target started sending coupons for baby clothes and the like to a Minneapolis woman whose buying habits indicated an impending birth.  The issue arose when the young woman’s father checked the mail and noticed this marketing tactic.  The problem?  The woman was actually a teenager and had not told her parents about the pregnancy.  The irate father stormed into their local Target and demanded to know what was going on, insisting Target was encouraging his daughter to get pregnant.  The store manager, having no idea what was happening at the corporate level, apologized profusely.  He called back a  few days later to again apologize and was informed that the teen actually was pregnant!  Now there is no way to prove this, but I’d bet that family didn’t shop at Target again anytime soon.  Good data can be a real asset to any company, but as you can see, a company can go too far.

  So what does this mean for other businesses out there?  It means that proper targeting can enhance your customer engagement and bring much needed revenue to your company.  Just be careful how much information you reveal back to them.  The best place to start for most companies is a good data append.  Scrub your list through a provider to get the basics.  Depending on whether you are B-to-B or B-to-C, those basics can be vastly different, but in a world where data is king, you won’t have any trouble locating someone to assist your business.  After that, engaging your audience with offers in exchange for information will help you get that relevant data to help you truly understand your customers.  And if they willingly give you data, you can avoid any of the unpleasantries that Target experienced.

As an integrated marketing company, Print Tech has been providing data services for over 10 years.
If your data is in need of some cleaning, give us a call and see what good data can do for you!
(908) 232-2287
[email protected]

Print Tech Home

Bad Data

A case for why more is not always more.

As a company that does a large volume of print & mail services, we are on a ton of mailing lists.  I recently came across a postcard that had the name of an employee that has not been with Print Tech for over 5 years.  Now I see this all the time, but this stuck out because it came from a prospect I had spoken to very recently regarding print & mail services.  A month later, I receive this card from said prospect with an invalid name.  Our address was correct however (this had recently changed), proving that the print/mail supplier was observing required practices with NCOA.

Since it was so recent I had spoken to the prospect, I had to give a call, right?  After contacting this person, I hung up the phone a bit stunned.  Here is the essence of the conversation:

Me: “I just wanted to let you know that I received this postcard in error as it came for someone who hasn’t been here for 5 years.  Now we recently spoke about some of our services and I followed up with some samples of my work, but now I’m calling for a different purpose.  Did you know that bad data could be costing you tons of money?  We had a non-profit client where we scrubbed close to 50% of their list to save them money.  Perhaps us scrubbing your list would be a good introduction to my company so you can evaluate if our services would be a good fit.”

Prospect: “Well our printer does it for free.  We don’t have them check the name, only the address.”

(Mind you, I have never had any conversation about price at this point.)

Me: “So you don’t care if your message gets to the right person, as long as it hits the right address?”

Prospect: “More or less.”

It was a little surprising to me that this was the stance the prospect took.  Now this is the part where I slap myself on the wrist.  It didn’t dawn on me until after the call, that this prospect doesn’t know what I know.  In my wild youth I worked for a company called Ikon and one of my jobs was to assist their clients with their mail room operations.

Did you know that every company from Enterprise Rent a Car to M&M Mars had the same mail policy?  If the person no longer works here, throw it out.  This applied to over 20 clients where we offered mail room support.  Therefore each bad name sent to those companies was a waste of print & postage.  Of course there was no way for the prospect to know this.  Nor might they have known that bad data can hurt your reputation for both businesses and residences.

Shame on me, as the expert, to not impart this wisdom.  So here I am sharing this with all of you.  I have seen clients with address lists so bad that it would have cost over $5000 in wasted print & postage if we had not scrubbed them.  Please don’t fall victim to this and make sure your data is clean.

Now excuse me.  I have a call I need to make to a prospect!