Sunday, 15 November 2009

Part 2 – 2 Dimensional Barcode Marketing

2 dimensional barcodes have been around for almost 16 years now but are gaining in popularity around the world. They were originally invented by Denso Wave, part of the Toyota group of companies to track vehicle parts in the automotive industry.
Some examples below:

2 Dimensional Barcodes:

Aztec Code

Datamatrix Code

QR Code

Microsoft Tag
(Image credit:

These 2D barcodes are different to the normal 1D Barcodes that we see on nearly everything we buy today. However GS1 Mobile Com group, the global organisation dedicated to the development and implementation of global data standards and solutions for the supply chain, have recommended that there should be only 3 types of barcodes used.
The normal 1D Barcode, (as below) or QR Code and Datamatrix/Semacode codes (as above).

1 Dimensional Barcode:

1 Dimensional Barcode

1 Dimensional Barcodes have been around for over 50 years and can only store numerical data whereas 2 Dimensional Barcodes like the ones above can store a lot more data such as urls or hyperlinks. This data can include links to the internet, a video (even a live video stream) or audio file, pictures, phone numbers so they can call or SMS, map directions, download software, e-mail addresses and many, many other uses. Watch a video with Creative Search Media about QR Codes.
QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) and Datamatrix codes are most common, with Microsoft Tag recently releasing their version into the mix in 2009. The Japanese were early adopters of the QR Code & Datamatrix code and are still widely used today in Japan, from receiving a voucher for a free drink from a vending machine, to downloading a movie trailer for a film advertised on a poster in the tube station.
Currently Pepsi are running a QR Code campaign in the UK, when scanned the code takes you to the Pepsi Max mobile WAP page, where there is further information including wallpaper & game downloads and much more.
It is very important that when using 2D Barcodes, if redirecting to a website it is optimised for mobile viewing. If it is not optimised for mobile viewing it is very likely the pages will load slowly and the information will be difficult to navigate on a small screen, hence the user will be unlikely to return.

Barcode Readers:To scan these 2D Barcodes on your mobile phone, requires a camera and a barcode reader installed on your mobile handset. Nearly all new mobile phones coming out of Asia will have the barcode reader software pre-installed.

If you do not have a barcode reader pre-installed on your mobile phone then there are numerous 2D Barcode reader software available to download, below is a list of just some of the readers i have come across. Most of these are free to download, others may charge a fee.
BeeTagg Reader can be downloaded by SMS and they have a page of supported phones.
Neoreader (i Phone)
2D Sense (i Phone)

Monday, 2 November 2009

Mobile Marketing – Have you started yet? It’s set to be explosive for 2010.

Mobile marketing is becoming more popular by the day, but some big brands are not as quick on the uptake for the massive potential that mobile marketing has to offer. Think about it, our mobile phone is so personal it is with us nearly everywhere we go. A recent global survey reports that 4 out of 5 people never leave home without their mobile phone. These days we use it for a lot of things, we use it to take a picture, make a video, view maps to get directions, with the invention of the smartphone it is a computer in our pocket, we access the internet and as you know... the internet is the information super highway. OH... and sometimes we use it as a phone too.
There are currently over 4.3 Billion mobile subscribers, with that figure expected to rise to more than 5 Billion in 2010, compare that to the total human population count worldwide of 6.7 Billion, potential penetration for mobile advertising is HUGE. If you have not thought about mobile marketing yet, don’t you think it is time you did.
To most, mobile marketing is a relatively new concept and some marketers are unsure of the way ahead, be it through SMS (Short Messaging Service)/MMS (Multi Media Service), 2D Barcodes, Bluetooth, Advertising, Social Networking, Mobile Apps or through mobile optimised websites. Well it can all be a bit scary at first, but keep it simple. It must be easy for you to manage and easy for your audience to understand and navigate. Let us take a look at some of the ways we can use these tools in a marketing campaign:

Part 1 – SMS/MMS Marketing.
SMS Marketing is currently the simplest, low cost and most popular way of mobile marketing by marketers and businesses alike. Using KEYWORDS and SHORTCODES is an easy way for your targeted audience to opt-in to your campaign or interact online through your website. They see your advert on TV, on a Billboard, or in a magazine, and text the KEYWORD to the SHORTCODE number advertised (FOR EXAMPLE: Text GAME to 8xxxx to receive a free game download for your mobile).
SMS marketing has proven to be 10 times more effective than newspaper advertising and 5 times more than direct mail. Always include your KEYWORD and SHORTCODE in your advertisements whether it is in newspapers and magazines, on your website or on TV.
SMS Marketing can be used in numerous ways, here are a few examples:
· Voting – Text to vote for your favourite group like on the TV programme XFactor.
· Estate Agents – Inform house buyers of new property listings that have just come on to the market. Include a link to your website to view pictures and further details on a property.
· Charity Donations – Text in to donate to your favourite charity.
· Professional Services – Send an appointment reminder, avoid no shows. Your time is money.
· Retail – Inform customers of offers or discounts in store, or even send them a discount code or voucher to redeem at their nearest store. Maybe even text to find your nearest store by entering your postcode.
· Sport – Your team is playing today but you are unable to see the game, get results sent to your mobile phone.
· Competitions – Enter by text.
· News – Get the latest news updates to your mobile phone.
· Hotels – Remind customers of their check-in date and time. Send a welcome text and inform customers of services available. Send a “Thank You” text once the customer has checked out.
· Travel – Send reminders of check in/flight times. Some Airlines now send a 2 Dimensional barcode to your mobile that can be used as your boarding pass.
· Restaurants – Inform customers of new menus, or text them when their table is ready.
· Nightclubs – Send a newsletter of up and coming events. Text to get a virtual ticket for the next event.
· Banking – Text to get your account balance.

Using SMS marketing is the easiest way to get consumers to opt-in to your marketing campaign, if your campaign offers something that they want. Consumers want information on the move; send them news updates of new services or products you have to offer. Tell them where these offers are and how they can benefit from them.
Recently, British car retailer Mitchell Group used SMS along with e-mail marketing to drive sales up to over £1 million pounds in just one weekend. One of the uses of SMS helped reduce missed service appointments by 97%, just by sending a SMS reminding them of their service appointment. Combining SMS and e-mail marketing to approx 4,000 opted-in e-mail and mobile numbers informing them of a 3-day special car sale event at Mitchell Groups Lexus, Mazda and Skoda dealerships, they were able to sell 90 previously owned cars over the 3 day event. The SMS agency Mitchell Group used, said they had never seen such a result before.
If you are planning on embarking on an SMS/MMS mobile marketing campaign remember these few good points:
· Only send SMS to those who have opted-in to your campaign. Spamming someone does not go down very well with some people.
· Know your target market, for instance there is no point sending an SMS to someone advertising an up and coming rock music event if they like classical music.
· Always include in your message how they can opt-out of the service. Eg Text STOP to 8xxxx to opt-out.
· Do not bombard them with messages, i would suggest up to no more than 3 per month. Engage them; make your messages targeted, relevant and informative.
· Ensure that if sending them to a website that the site is optimised for mobile viewing. Mobile screens are smaller and too much information on a page loads a lot slower, we prefer our search to be instant. If your pages are slow to load, it had better be worth waiting for.For more information see Mobile Marketing Association Guidelines.