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April 2011

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Contact Ken Custer at 303-277-9840.

Why stop at the first impression?

by Kip Wotkyns

The choices and methodology for reaching out with your message has changed over time with the invention of various technologies of mass communication. Once again we are seeing a shift as mobile/smart phone technology has reached a critical level of usage by the general population.

Four out of the top five acquired devices in 2010 were smart phones. The U.S. is a leader in the acceptance of smart phones with over 63.2 million subscribers in December of 2010*. The shift to mobile is seeing savvy marketers include mobile engagement as an important part of their marketing mix.

The placement of 2d barcodes on print creates an environment that is current and hip while giving analytics on scan results that help clients make smart marketing expenditures.

The two most popular forms of 2d barcodes being used today are QR (Quick response) codes and Microsoft Tags. The QR code was introduced in the mid 1990's and the Microsoft Tag is an evolution of that technology with the introduction of some significant benefits and improvements. The publishing industry is driving Microsoft Tag as the 2d product of choice and the clear leader in this technology by a wide margin.

Microsoft Tag was released from beta in June of 2010 and already over 3 billion Tags are in print and well over 100 million magazines are carrying Microsoft Tags.

2D Barcodes are enabling a new level of connection - real life to digital instantly and with relevance. Tags are being used to bridge the brick and mortar world to digital content in advertising, product packaging, editorial and books, direct mailers, posters, even clothing and jewelry. Consider a product tutorial or video demonstration, virtual tour, coupon, special offer, make a reservation, and scavenger hunts. You are only limited by your imagination.

How does it work? A reader downloads a free app, then activates the app and holds their smart phone over the 2d barcode. The reader is instantly connected to any possible digital content. The mobile optimized content opens on the smart phone window like magic. No typing in a URL or taking a picture. This meets the needs of the client and the expectation of the reader to be able to reach digital content and act on it when its most convenient for them with the technology they carry in their pocket over 80% of their day.

More people are searching the internet on their smart phones than on computers. Smart Phones are a game changer helping us reach out as marketers. Print suddenly becomes relevant again. Budgets are moving to digital initiatives because they can be easily measured.. Using a Tag can give you the analytics you want in non-traditional vehicles like t-shirts or posters. A Tag campaign gives the client the ability to drive an immediate behavior or purchase because, if done properly, it engages the consumer and keeps them on message longer. The client delivers layers of relevant content with a nominal increase to the existing media budget.

Any mobile campaign must create an experience that the consumer will find relevant and also give them immediate ability to react to a call to action. This requires much more than creating a simple link to a website. The content must be mobile optimized, relevant, engaging, actionable and branded. There must be a compelling reason to scan.

My clients are discovering that Tags are a great way to explore mobile engagement.

Track The Tag is a specialist in creating Tag Campaigns. We work hand in hand with agencies and designers to create a branded Tag, develop and code the back end layout to meet specific communication goals. Please call us to discuss how we can help you implement a mobile engagement strategy for your clients. Jami Arthur, President, Track The Tag, 303-814-1090.

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