Leveraging QR codes

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LBS and QR codes leave an impression on the mobile marketing landscape
LBS and QR codes leave an impression on the mobile marketing landscape

Location-based marketing also offers more opportunities to target consumers based on exactly where they are. In marketing a new high-end thermometer to savvy moms and expecting mothers, Sarah Van Heirseele, VP of digital at Blue Chip Marketing, says from

January through March this year the firm targeted women based on geography, weather and proximity to a three-mile radius of a retailer that sold the product. Also, the mobile ad was only launched if the flu levels in specified locations were high or severe.

Van Heirseele says consumer clickthroughs were four times higher than expected.

“I think the women embraced the customization,” Van Heirseele says. “We've all been burned by the past and how bad banner ads were. But as targeting gets better, consumers will appreciate it more.”

Providing relevant information

Marketers say one of the most important aspects of using QR codes is that the content they provide should be relevant, informative and offer something different than what is immediately available to consumers.

One of the most common mistakes companies make is to simply have the QR code direct users back to a company website.

“You shouldn't have a QR code just to have one,” says Kate Coultas, senior manager of corporate communications at JCPenney Co. Inc. “You have to make sure it's connecting to relevant information. And if it's local, then it should be affecting the local.”

For example, last summer the QR codes in the Manhattan JCPenney store offered shoppers a list of fun events happening in the city throughout the summer.

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Orlando Veras, a Macy's media relations manager, says Macy's learned that customers saw the store as a resource to learn about new trends. Knowing that, Macy's codes, termed “backstage passes,” featured videos of designers discussing the latest trends, how  to wear particular clothing or giving make up tips. One code featured Martha Stewart talking about which cookery gear to buy for specific meals.

Macy's first began using QR codes when it introduced eight in February 2011. Veras says Macy's now has 18 codes, which also include other product segments.

“[QR codes] were quite successful for us and we learned that we needed to create more of them and expand into other [departments] like home and beauty,” Veras explains.

Joe Torpey, marketing communications manager at Jaguar North America, says the company uses QR codes at auto shows so consumers can learn more about a particular car or sign up for more information.

“We're also looking at ways to leverage QR codes at the point-of-sale to increase access to critical information when customers encounter our vehicles in the showrooms,” Torpey says.

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