qrcode

Do you know any­one who has recently scanned a quick response (QR) code or used a check-in ser­vice such as Foursquare?

I’m guess­ing your answer is yes. Although the major­ity of con­sumers aren’t even aware that these tech­nolo­gies exist, there are other con­sumers, known as early adopters, who are actively using them to engage with brands and retail­ers. The Adobe 2013 Mobile Con­sumer Sur­vey found, “As could be expected, con­sumers who are the ear­li­est adopters of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies are also the most valu­able cus­tomers.” Why? Because they spend more and they tell their friends.

Seth Godin, named the “ulti­mate entre­pre­neur for the Infor­ma­tion Age” in Busi­ness Week, remarks in his TED Talk that “peo­ple have more choices and less time today” in this “cen­tury of idea dif­fu­sion.” So how do orga­ni­za­tions grab their atten­tion? Godin says that it’s imper­a­tive that mar­keters don’t aim for the mass mid­dle any­more. The strat­egy should be to mar­ket to the inno­va­tors and the early adopters. Godin’s word of advice for orga­ni­za­tions? “The riski­est thing you can do right now is to be safe”—you need to “be at the fringes.”

The Adobe sur­vey echoed Godin’s sen­ti­ments in its find­ings that orga­ni­za­tions “that want to con­vert con­sumers with the high­est poten­tial value should imple­ment plans to test and adopt emerg­ing mobile tech­nolo­gies.” In today’s blog post, I will look at some suc­cess­ful exam­ples of orga­ni­za­tions that are inter­act­ing with early adopters through the use of two emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies: QR codes and check-in services.

Emerg­ing Tech 1 | QR Codes

QR codes have been around for sev­eral years, so why are they just now gain­ing momen­tum and being con­sid­ered an “emerg­ing tech”? With smart­phones now lit­er­ally every­where and in the hands of every­one, QR codes are a way that orga­ni­za­tions can suc­cess­fully con­nect their online and offline worlds, drive cus­tomer loy­alty, and offer ser­vices such as prod­uct research, coupons, and deals.

The Adobe sur­vey found that “the prac­tice of scan­ning Quick Response (QR) codes con­tin­ues to gain momen­tum, with 37% of young and 32% of mid­dle seg­ments report­ing that they have scanned QR codes in the past three months.” This fact presents orga­ni­za­tions with sev­eral oppor­tu­ni­ties to drive engage­ment with dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences via QR codes.

For exam­ple, the Pea­pod vir­tual gro­cery store chain has cre­ated a unique adver­tis­ing cam­paign that is super con­ve­nient and hyper local. Pea­pod uti­lizes QR codes to drive down­loads of their Peapod­Mo­bile app and to com­mu­ni­cate their mes­sage: “Shop Any­where, Any­time with Pea­pod.” Bill­boards on the sides of trav­el­ing trucks “allow users to scan a QR code to down­load the Peapod­Mo­bile app to their smart­phones and then scan other QR codes to shop for items.” This is quick, clever, and con­ve­nient, mak­ing it a win-win for customers.

Best Buy pro­vides another great exam­ple of QR code use. This week­end I went into this large retailer to look at tablets. In front of every item in the store now are fast-fact tags with QR codes on them. Con­sumers can sim­ply scan the QR code with their smart­phones and pull up even more detailed infor­ma­tion about the prod­uct they are look­ing at. This is a per­fect way to bridge the consumer’s online and offline expe­ri­ences, facil­i­tat­ing prod­uct research and dri­ving brand loyalty.

Emerg­ing Tech 2 | Check-In Services

In last week’s post, we dis­cov­ered that 71 per­cent of peo­ple are access­ing social media such as Twit­ter and Face­book via mobile. What else are they doing besides tweet­ing and read­ing social sta­tuses? Well, some are check­ing in.

The Adobe sur­vey reported that “almost a third of respon­dents have checked in via a loca­tion ser­vice on their mobile device, and 30% of those peo­ple said they received an incen­tive to check in. Mar­keters should con­sider pro­vid­ing more incen­tives to drive check-ins if their busi­ness has a phys­i­cal loca­tion.” What are some of the advan­tages of check-in ser­vices? In a Mobile Com­merce Daily arti­cle, Kathy Leake, pres­i­dent and cofounder of Local­Re­sponse points out, “The com­mu­ni­ca­tion is one-to-one, direct and highly con­tex­tual … If you are check­ing in at Macy’s and Macy’s talks back to you with an offer that is highly relevant.”

What types of strate­gies are lead­ing retail­ers such as Wal­mart, Tar­get, Costco, Best Buy, and Wal­greens using to engage early adopters through the use of this emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy? Upon check­ing in, con­sumers can receive alerts for daily in-store sales via mobile ban­ner ads. Accord­ing to the Mobile Com­merce Daily arti­cle, other strate­gies include a shop­per check­ing into a store on Foursquare, and the check-in is then pub­licly broad­cast over Twit­ter. Mar­keters can then “respond back with a thank you mes­sage in the user’s Twit­ter feed and include a link to a mobile land­ing page where the user might find a coupon, a video or some other rel­e­vant content.”

Think About Early Adopters and Emerg­ing Tech for Mobile Marketing

In clos­ing, it’s impor­tant that mar­keters and orga­ni­za­tions keep early adopters’ use of emerg­ing tech in their minds as they plan for more effec­tive mobile engage­ment in the future. As Seth Godin men­tioned in his TED Talk, mar­keters need to “be at the fringes.”

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