QR Codes – Are They Really Dead?

‘The death of the QR code’ has become a well-known phrase to marketers everywhere. But are Quick Response Codes really dead?

They were certainly headed in that direction when they were first launched for marketing purposes (they’ve actually been around for 20+ years). However, I think they had to take a fall before they could rise. It seemed like these little black and white squares were plastered everywhere! It was overwhelming to consumers. There’s even a website, WTF QR Codes, dedicated to showing off the oddest locations for QR codes. What’s more is that many people didn’t even know what they were for or how to use them correctly. Was it really worth it to download an app to your phone, scan the code, and read or watch whatever was presented? QR codes often brought viewers to sites that weren’t mobile compatible. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Apple and Android took their sweet time when it came to pre-loading a QR reader app on their smart phones. Finally, with the IOS7 Apple update, a QR reader became automatically available in the Apple Passbook. Now we’re getting somewhere!

More and more companies have caught up with mobile technology and created easy-to-navigate mobile sites. Additionally, with more WiFi hot spot locations than ever before, browsing the web can be quick and painless.

Today, QR codes are actually (slowly, but surely) surviving. Will they do much more than survive? Perhaps…only time will tell.

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Breakups are most common in summer months, according to Facebook

Thanks to Facebook, we now know when most people break up, what features of a relationship make it last longer, and what types of people are destined for love. In honor of Valentine’s day, the social giant compiled user statistics to provide insights on love and relationships. Integrating geographic, demographic, and psychographic data, the Facebook Data Science team gave us some pretty interesting info. Here’s a few things we’ve learned this Valentine’s Day…

Roughly 50% of Facebook relationships that lasted three months are more likely to last four years or longer.

Break ups are most popular throughout May, June, and July.

In 67% of opposite-sex relationships, the male is older than the female.

The number of timeline posts increase in the days prior to a relationship status change.

Interfaith relationships are most common in Spain.

The top five cities by percentage of single people are: Detroit, LA, New York, Miami, and Memphis.

The top five cities where relationships are most likely to form are: Colorado Springs, El Paso, Louisville,  Fort Worth, and San Antonio.

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There’s just something about those Texans, huh?!

 

If you’re gonna do it…do it right

If you’ve ever been bored at work or tried finding an alternative to doing homework, you’ve likely been introduced to BuzzFeed a time or two. This “social news and entertainment company…is redefining online advertising with its social, content-driven publishing technology. BuzzFeed provides the most shareable breaking news, original reporting, entertainment, and video across the web to its global audience of 100M.”

I was recently scrolling through my Facebook news feed when I came across this post promoted by BuzzFeed:

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10 Apps You Never Knew You Needed – Presented by Geico.

Being the new-app-lover that I am, I followed the link and began reading through the list of apps that I apparently need. To be perfectly honest, this list sucks. I would maybe download one or two of these apps, the GIFs didn’t match well with the apps, the headlines weren’t comical (even though they were meant to be), and overall it just wasn’t what I expected from BuzzFeed. Usually their content is funny and engaging, often shared by readers on social media. This instance, however, was not original content meant for laughs. It was created by Geico as a method of getting readers to download their app. (The last app on the list is for the Geico app). As a marketer, I should’ve known when I read “presented by Geico,” that it would be advertising more than anything else.

It’s not that I hate when companies do this sort of marketing. I actually think it’s smart. Similar to social media marketing, this is where consumers are, so why not reach them there, on their level, in their playing field? It’s good marketing to think outside the box like this. But if you’re going to do it, do it right. Geico should’ve made their list worth my time. As a reader and potential Geico customer, I should’ve left that website laughing and having positive thoughts about Geico insurance. Instead, I was bored and slightly annoyed, as were many others who read it, according to the comments left. There is big potential in these kinds of marketing tactics…IF it’s done right.

The worst of the internet

If you’re like me, you were more excited to watch last night’s commercials rather than the actual Super Bowl game itself. I tried my very best to turn off my ‘marketer’s brain’ and just enjoy the commercials for what they were…but that lasted about 2 seconds, at which point I began analyzing every ad and boring my husband with what I thought they should have done differently. One ad that really stuck out to me was from Squarespace titled ‘A Better Web Awaits.’

Seriously…how true is this commercial? The web is full of marketers…people like me (oops!)…who want to reach you, sell you, impact you, change you, woo you, the list goes on and on. This commercial is a great depiction of these things. “Click here!” “Like this!” “31 percent off!” “People who bought this also bought this!” As a marketer, and a consumer, I feel like it’s all too much. Enough already!

The commercial goes on to say that while we can’t change what the web has become, we can change what it will be. While they’re stating this to promote their brand, I would say the same thing to enforce the importance of changing the way we, as marketers, target our audience. There’s way too much clutter, not only on the web but everywhere we go. To successfully overcome this, we need to 1- keep up with the emerging trends of media, 2- keep up with our ever-changing audience, and 3- stand out, be different, and make a bigger footprint than the typical methods that are depicted in this commercial.

On a side note…the duck face girls were by far the best part of this ad 🙂

Hey, Desktop…Kiss My App!

No longer are consumers solely connecting with brands via desktops and traditional websites. Today’s consumers are tuning in more and more to their mobile devices. Smart phones and tablets are among the most used mobile devices that are on the rise. Did you know…

Over 50% of mobile searches lead to a purchase.

Mobile ads out-perform traditional online ads by roughly 80%.

Mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times more often than print coupons.

(Check out this  SlideShare by HubSpot to see more mobile marketing facts)

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So what does all of this mean for marketers? Mobile is where it’s at! Whether it includes mobile advertising, creating an app for your business, connecting with consumers on-the-go, or offering mobile coupons and discounts, having a strong mobile marketing strategy is important for the health of a business.

Yesterday’s consumer thought of digital mobility as a luxury or amenity. Today’s consumer considers it a necessity to daily life, something they’d prefer not to live without. Tomorrow’s consumer won’t know a world without digital mobility.

Like Me! Share Me! Follow Me!

It’s no surprise that business marketing plans now include social media, where large and small businesses alike are striving to reach their audience in newer, more effective ways. Sure, the more likes, shares, and followers a business gains, the wider their reach will be. And yes, these social activities help create stronger business-consumer relationships. This isn’t news to anyone; it’s no shocker that businesses use social media to speak to and with their consumers.

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But why else are marketers so drawn to social media? What happens behind the scenes that consumers may not be aware of? Statistics…data…valuable information collected about each and every consumer who likes, follows, shares, or engages in any other social activity with a specific brand. Businesses have discovered yet another avenue to learning more about their audience. Like so many other emerging media, social networks enable businesses to discover valuable details about who exactly they’re reaching in the digital realm. Let’s consider Facebook for instance. With a Facebook business page, marketers are able to see ‘Insights,’ as the social network terms it. Insights come in the form of charts, percentages, graphs, and timelines, and reveal details about a brands social consumers. Check out this display of demographic information from a Facebook business page…

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In one screen shot you can see right away how many males versus females have liked your Facebook page, what their ages are, and where they’re from. In addition, the virality of your posts are analyzed, your activity is monitored, and more. And this is just for one social platform!

Marketers are asking for likes, shares, and followers not only so consumers can learn more about their brand, but so the brand can learn more about its consumers.

What Is Emerging Media & Why Should You Care About It?

Emerging, adjective: newly created and growing in strength and popularity

Media, noun: the main means of mass communication

By these two definitions, it can be said that emerging media is essentially new and upcoming communications. There are numerous forms of emerging media, including social networking, digital marketing, innovative advertising, and much, much more.

So why should you care about emerging media? Whether you’re a consumer or a marketer, the changing trends of communications is effecting you every day in more ways than you’re likely to realize.

If you’re a consumer…

Emerging media is a part of your daily life. Consider your smart phone, for instance. Do you listen to Pandora radio? You probably see and hear occasional ads. Do you have retail or restaurant apps? You’ve probably been exposed to coupons and banner ads. Do you check-in at your favorite locations? You’re likely to see that company promoted on Facebook the next day. These examples barely scratch the surface of emerging media. Marketing and communications are consistently changing as technology advances and allows for more innovative trends. The more media evolves, the more you, the consumer, will be personally touched by businesses who want your attention.

If you’re a marketer…

Keeping up with emerging media is critical to the life of your business and career. If you aren’t keeping up, you’re failing yourself, your business, and your customers.

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As media is becoming more and more interactive, marketers are given more opportunities to personally connect with their audience. Marketing is no longer a form of one-way communication; it’s become a conversation with your audience. Emerging media generates more buzz about your business and more loyalty from your consumers, both of which build your brand and your bottom line.

Emerging media; know it, love it, live it.

Karie Spaetzel Loeser's Resume

Editor | Designer | Social media specialist

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