How Do Companies Know if Their Marketing Efforts are Working?

Contributed by Great Reach Communications editor, Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Many just look at response rate.  But here are four metrics they need to know. Notice that response rate is only one of them.

1. Response rates
This is a good first measure of the quality of your customer’s print campaign. If the response rate is high, they (and you) have done a good job with the mailing list, the design, and the incentive. Recipients liked it enough to take action.

2. Conversion rates
Once people respond, it’s up to your customer to convert those leads to sales. This is up to their sales team, website, or customer service people. If the conversion rate is low, this is an opportunity to help your customer identify and fix the problem.

3. Cost per sale
One thousand people can respond to a marketing campaign, but to make money, each sale must generate more money than it costs to generate.

4. Lifetime customer value
If you gain a new customer through a marketing campaign, that customer will generate more revenue than just one sale.  He or she will continue to bring in sales for years to come. Even if it costs more to acquire that customer (such as through personalization), if each customer has a high lifetime customer value, it’s worth it.

Understanding what these metrics are and how to use them is part of the value you can offer as a trusted marketing partner. Then you can use these metrics to improve their results and keep that customer relationship strong.

QR Codes and Mobile Payments: Are You Ready?

Right now, the marketing chatter is about QR codes. These 2d codes, which whisk you away from a print or electronic piece directly to the webpage of the marketer’s design, are also indirectly tied to mobile payments. Are you ready?

Why are mobile payments so closely tied to QR codes? If consumers are going to use their phone to access a marketer’s pages, they are going to want to use their phones for making payments. It’s part of consumer psychology. It’s part of the convenience factor.

The global market for mobile payments is predicted to grow to $633.4 billion by 2014, up from $68.7 billion in 2009. Globally, the total value of mobile payments will quadruple from $170 billion in 2010 to $630 billion in 2014, according to Juniper Research.

The types of mobile payments?

  • SMS payments
  • Mobile web payments (WAP)
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P)
  • Near Field Communications (Contactless NFC)
  • Mobio open-source 2d barcodes

If this looks like Greek to you, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, there is a great resource to give you some background on mobile payments and the security issues that attend them. Check out Mobio’s free white paper “Mobile Commerce Security: The Mobio Security Solution” here.

If you are still evaluating the power and influence of QR codes, you can also check out Digital Printing Reports’ “QR Codes: The Data Speaks,” an aggregation of all of the available research on QR codes adoption and use.

If you are doing any marketing in the social media, mobile marketing, or QR code spaces, mobile payments are something you need to be familiar with. Even if you’re not ready to pull the trigger, you need to at least be familiar with the issues and be formulating a plan.

Is that on your New Year’s Resolution list?

5 Hot Stats on QR Codes

There’s been a lot of talk about QR codes lately. Is the exponential growth in the use of these codes reality or hype? It’s reality. You know how I know? I’ve seen the data.

Many of the companies offering mobile barcode scanning and mobile payments solutions are releasing the data from their servers, showing the explosive growth in the use of these codes. Many of these companies offer the data on a quarterly or year-over-year basis, making this growth very easy to see.

One of the companies, Mobio Identity Solutions, a mobile payments solution, shows growth so exponential that it makes your head turn. In fact, its most recent report is called “The Whiplash Edition.”

Recently, I compiled as much adoption, growth, and demographic data on the use of QR and other mobile barcodes as I could find and published it in a single report. (For more on that report, click here.)

Here’s some of the data that caught my eye:

  1. Between Q1 2010 and Q1 2011, the number of scans going through ScanBuy’s ScanLife system (whether 1d or 2d barcodes) has gone from 10 scans per minute to 60 scan per minute. Scans are now coming from 128 countries around the world.
  2. Over this same period, ScanBuy found an 850% increase in active users, 400% increase in use application downloads, and 810% increase in total mobile barcode scans.
  3. 3GVision (iNigma barcode scanning software) shows the same trends. Scans running through its system grew by 20.0% between Q2/2011 and Q3 2011. Daily scans now come from 141 different countries.
  4. Between Q1 – 2010 – Q1 2011, Mobio Identity, an international mobile payments and marketing company, reports a whopping 4549% growth in QR code scanning.
  5. According to a survey of smartphone owners conducted on behalf of MGH, a Maryland-based ad agency, QR code users are primarily between 35-54 years old, have university+ educations, and have household incomes over $50,000 per year. What a great target market!

What does all this mean for you? If you have been seeing QR codes as a trend, it’s time to take them seriously.

For more information on the aggregated QR code data report, see “QR Codes: The Data Speaks.” For a detailed look at the technology, applications, and best practices of QR codes, check out “QR Codes: What You Need to Know.

Three Reasons to Take QR Codes Seriously

It is amazing to me how many people still see QR codes as a fad. Whether it’s in comments to industry blogs, online discussion groups, or industry list serves, I hear it all the time.

Let me tell you why you should take QR codes seriously.

In my local Office Depot, the kid behind the counter was looking at my business card. Where a logo normally goes, I have a QR code that sends people to my website. We were even talking about QR codes, but once he saw mine, took out his phone and scanned it. Just to see what it would do.
It took about 10 seconds from taking out his phone to landing on my site.

He couldn’t have typed in the URL that fast.

I asked the kid if he’d seen QR codes before. He said yes, one of the desktop printer manufacturers had put them on its shelf talkers to point customers to product specs. Just the week before, he’d scanned his first code to see what it would do. This was his second.

As we were talking, the girl behind the counter was listening. She’d never seen or heard of QR codes, so the kid showed her what to do. Her eyes opened wide and she immediately got very excited.

“That is so COOL!” she exclaimed. “I have my phone with me all the time. That would make things so much easier. What a great idea!”

As I was leaving, the kid was helping her locate and download a reader.

Top Three Reasons
Here are three reasons to take QR codes seriously:

1. They are a natural fit for today’s mobile culture.
2. Right now, people are willing to try them out to see what they’ll do. Others are watching — and copying. Usage is growing by peer influence alone.
3. QR codes are becoming more practical. Marketers are using them in smart, helpful ways that take users to places and allow them to use them in ways that actually help them make better decisions and make their lives easier.

It’s not about novelty. It’s about making things easy.

Want to find out more about QR codes? Check out “QR Codes: What You Need to Know,” my QR code primer on benefits, case studies, and best practices. Or if you need to educate your customers about QR codes, check out Great Reach’s brandable QR code white paper, “Print’s Next Frontier.”

Survey Says: Green Still Packs a Punch

The printing industry seems to be weary of green topics these days, but here’s a point you don’t want to miss: consumers aren’t. In fact, individual printers’ and distributors’ disinterest in green may actually be hurting them financially. Why?

A recent Capstrat-Public Policy Polling survey found:

  • 59% of consumers consider products’ environmental sustainability to be very important in their buying decisions.
  • 56% noted they would pay “a little” to “significantly” more for a product that was environmentally friendly.

Yet in spite of these numbers . . .

  • Nearly half of respondents (47%) said sustainability and environmental friendliness are “rarely” or “never” mentioned in their employers’ communications.

That’s a pretty big donut hole!

Customers want companies to tell their green story, so why aren’t companies telling it? What a missed opportunity! Green increases customer loyalty. It decreases price sensitivity. Green is good business.

Tell Your Story

Get your green message out there.  Your efforts don’t have to be sensational to be significant. For example:

  • Do you have an office recycling program?
  • Do you participation in a printing waste recovery program?
  • Do you offer FSC- and SFI- (or other) certified papers?
  • Do you buy carbon offsets?
  • Did you recently invest in newer, more energy-efficient equipment?
  • Did you recently change out traditional light bulbs for fluorescents?
  • Do you encourage employee carpooling to work?

Everybody has a green story. So don’t let it go to waste. Your customers want to hear it.

QR Code in My Mailbox

This morning I was cleaning some mail off my kitchen table and I stopped short. One of the pieces had a QR code on it. Have I mentioned that they’re beginning to show up everywhere?

The mailer was from Samaritan’s Purse, a ministry that provides tens of thousands of Christmas gift packages to needy children all over the world. The QR code was on the front of the envelope right by my mailing address.

Even though I write about QR codes all the time, it was the first time one had landed in my mailbox. Suddenly I wasn’t considering it as an analyst – I was looking at it as a consumer. Frankly, the code implementation was done so well that I wanted to take out my phone and snap it immediately. Here’s why:

1. The code was easy to read. It wasn’t overly complicated and was surrounded by lots of white space that made it easy to scan.

2. There was a giant arrow pointing from the code to a picture of a smartphone. On the screen was an image of a smiling child opening a Christmas box. At a glance this told me why I wanted to scan the code. For people unfamiliar with QR codes, these simple graphics would help them understand what it was.

3. There was text below the code giving instructions for use (“Scan this QR code to watch a video about Operation Christmas Child”). It even included a URL for downloading a reader if the user didn’t have one already.

This one mailer exemplifies everything good about QR codes. It also reinforces that using QR codes doesn’t have to be complicated and difficult. It’s just about understanding how to use them well.

In the next few weeks, Great Reach Communications will be releasing a white paper that you can brand to your company and use to educate your customers on how to leverage QR codes in their marketing. Watch for it!