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.

Print Marketer’s Checklist

How well do your business development efforts stack up?

• Is your database growing? If you’re prospecting, your database should always be growing. Data is at the heart of all marketing efforts. Maintain it, manage it, grow it.

• How often do you touch each contact in your database? Aside from establishing relationships, keeping your company top of mind is critical if you want to benefit from the instability that exists in todays print marketplace.

• If a prospect or customer were to visit your website, what would their perception of your company be relative to that of your main competitors?

• If a prospect or customer were to do a search for you online, would your company appear on the first page? SEO is more critical than ever.

• If a prospect or customer were to search their inbox or collection of collateral, would they easily find materials or communications from your company?

• With so many people now utilizing social media, would it be easy for a client or prospect to follow you on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin? At the least, two of the three?

• With client engagement so critical, does your company produce a branded newsletter that offers a) high value content and b) is a good harbinger of your brand? Consider this: printinthemix.rit.edu/fastfacts/show/400

• Is your company being proactive to assure your clients that you are staying abreast of the latest trends and technologies (think QR codes, Purls)?

• In terms of promoting your companies marketing capabilities and services, does your company lead by example?

If your company is struggling with any of the above I’m happy to discuss this with you.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

The easiest way to lose a customer is to lose touch with them. The link below is to an excellent article that was posted on the NAPL LinkedIn board. Every printer should read it.

http://thebusinessresourceforum.com/?p=486

It is not uncommon for companies to lose 20–50% of revenue each year from customer defections. Dollar for dollar, investments in customer retention are five times more profitable than investments in customer acquisition. With print sales now a zero sum game, your clients are hearing from your competitors more than ever.

These companies are promising your clients the same level of care and quality that you currently provide them. So focus resources on client retention, even if it means reallocating resources from other areas. Frequent communications, company events, personal visits, and other efforts will go a long way toward making your clients feel appreciated, while providing some insulation from the competition. Conversely, cutting back on these things while your competition ramps them up will have a heightened negative effect.

A Five Step Guide to Cultivating New Sales Prospects

A Five Step Guide to Cultivating New Sales Prospects
By Dick Rossman, Rossman Consulting

I met a print company owner recently who complained that none of his sales people ever did any prospecting.  “They’re great farmers, maintaining their accounts and servicing them well, but lousy hunters.  They don’t know how to find a new account on their own”.

This five step guide outlines a plan to uncover and cultivate those new prospects.

Research, research, research

First step is to research your prospect companies.  Select an industry that is growing and list its 10 key players.  Using LinkedIn and internet searches, discover what they do or make, who their customers are, what their communications challenges are, and determine how you can provide value to them.  Use your LinkedIn contacts and phone calls to find their print buyers.

Write an introductory letter

Give your prospect a brief reason for your letter, a brief summary about your company and background, and explain what specific value you can provide to this company.  Show your prospect that you understand its business, and explain how you and your company can help improve its performance.

Call your prospect

Call your prospect, and expect and plan for voice mail.  Write your message and rehearse it out loud.  Refer to your letter and explain one sound way that you can solve a problem you believe your prospect is facing.  Say something that shows how you can save them time, save them money or make them money.

Email your prospect

A week later send your prospect an email. Introduce yourself briefly but focus your message on sending them something they will value: an article, a video, notice of a webinar, a newsletter or blog, etc.  Begin to present yourself as an expert and a partner, not a sales person looking for an order.

Continue the cycle

Every 10-14 days send your prospect a letter or note, leave a voicemail or send an email.  Think of all of your communications from your prospect’s point of view and always provide information that they should value. It takes from 6-8 touches before a prospect may make contact with you, so be patient and follow the program.

You will succeed because you will be perceived as someone who can provide value and solutions.  Cultivation is a process, not a one-shot operation.

To see the full article, click here.

My Top 10 Musings on Marketing

  • The most popular way to lose a customer is to lose touch with him or her. Industry-specific data indicates that 60% of customer loss is due to lack of communication.
  • Whether or not you’re marketing to your customers, you can be assured that your competitors are.
  • The average person is only capable of retaining 3-5 brands per category in their memory. If you want to introduce your company into someone’s consideration, you need to push another company out of consideration. Repetition is fundamental to success.
  • The abandon rate for social media is VERY high. Beware of creating marketing graveyards. Ask me about my 3 for 3 approach.
  • Taking a committee approach to marketing often ends in failure. A group of people agreeing to disagree combined with diluted accountability rarely if every produces a positive result.
  • The cost of implementing an effective marketing program is trivial compared to the cost of not implementing one.
  • Don’t discount “little things” like birthday cards and notes of appreciation. Most sales relationships are more influenced by emotions than pricing.
  • People will give business to companies they want to give it to and then after awarding the job, find ways to justify the decision. Price is often an excuse rather than a reason.
  • Well perceived brands command a price premium of nearly 9% over brands perceived as just average.
  • Irrelevant communications contribute to customer defection and alienation. Avoid giving your brand a black eye.

Ask about our comprehensive, easy to implement marketing programs. Outbound, inbound, and social media marketing. We’ve got it all covered!

The Next Level Group Launching Additional CEO Group in May

I would encourage any owner of a printing company today to consider joining a peer group simply because businesses whose owners belong to a peer group have consistently outperformed non-members. The reasoning is that these owners have the ability to:

  • Discuss business challenges in a safe, non-competitive environment.
  • Share and garner ideas and best practices among peers.
  • Create a more focused and strategic approach towards managing their business.
  • Add a higher level of accountability which invariably leads to stronger business performance.

The Next Level Group in particular is an industry leader in this arena and is currently in the process of forming an additional group in May.

What makes them different is that they are facilitated by two successful print executives that “have walked in your shoes” starting operations and managing them for over two decades while building them into multi-million dollar organizations.

Their peer group members are reaping the benefits with:

  • Over half the members showing sales growth last year.
  • More importantly, over 80% showing increased profitability.

There is an interview process to help ascertain if this may be a good fit for you and for them. It also is a “low risk” proposition because if either side doesn’t think it’s a good fit after four meetings, your meeting fees will be refunded.

I would encourage you to check them out at– the-nextlevelgroup.com to find out more about The Next Level Group, the facilitators and what their members have to say about the peer group experience.