Shazam and QR Code Marketing

QR Code Marketing was just the beginning of what mobile marketing has to offer small businesses. Did you know that there is an audio version of QR Codes now as well? In fact Calvin Klein stores partnered up with the iPod app Shazam to play customized music in their stores. Customers would then get discounts if they used Shazam to scan, tag and share the songs. And that’s in addition to all of the other mobile marketing options like Foursquare and Scvngr, too.

So my question is do Shazam Marketing or QR Code Marketing make any sense?  What are the pros and cons of using this new medium?

First of all I agree with everything you’re thinking about people wanting information at their fingertips and your desire to be that “lead” in the marketplace. But if you’re going to spend time implementing ones of these programs, shouldn’t we know how effective they are?

To start QR Codes are not common knowledge like UPC Symbols; there are still quite a few people who don’t know what they are. To use one of these codes, you have to open up the QR code scan application on your phone and then take a “photo” of the QR code. In taking the photo you have to make the QR code fill up as much of the image window as possible. When you do that and press “take photo” or “scan”, your phone should then take you to the website associated with the QR code.

From a consumer standpoint, here are the hurdles:

  • You have to know what a QR code is
  • You have to have a smart phone
  • You have to have the QR Code scanning app
  • And your phone has to be working properly

The Shazam process is pretty much the same thing with one additional hurdle – only Apple phones have Shazam, cutting the audience even further.

Remember how coupons use to have a little image of scissors around the outside edge? That was an attempt to educate you as to what you’re supposed to do. If they have that now, it’s just kitschy. No education is required anymore as to how to use coupons.

QR Codes and Shazam audio plans aren’t the same – education is surely required. So do you dedicate space in your advertising to educate the public as to what the QR Code is for? Space in ads is precious enough and if you’re trying to improve conversions, do you really want to include education language, too?

[stextbox id=”info”]Education Language Things to Consider:
Do you provide an alternate way to access the web page for people without QR Codes technology?
Do you provide the name of the QR Code Scanning App so people know which one to download and use?
Do you define QR Code?
Do you include an ethical bribe to get them to scan it?[/stextbox]

If dedicating space to education is no problem and doesn’t detract from the advertising, then the answer is easy, why not?. You might as well do it for the people who’ll use it. However, if space, time and efficiency is important to you – then I think you should consider something else.

Go back to the beginning of your program. What made you think this scanning technology would be a perfect solution? If you’re doing it to improve your ability to capture email addresses, what were your other options? Are you doing them and can you be doing a better job?

The bottom line is testing, efficiency and use-of-time. What options are going to get you the best of all three?

If you’re really doing well with Shazam Marketing or QR Code Marketing, I’d love to hear about it. There’s a restaurant in some other town that could really use your insights.