QR Codes

We are starting to see interest from our clients in reference to QR Codes. A QR Code is a 2D bar code. The traditional bar code we are accustomed to seeing on products has the ability to store a maximum of 20 digits. The 2D QR Code has the ability to store up to 7,089 characters (alpha and numeric). This increased capacity gives marketers another tool to use in their marketing strategy.

Consider developing a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone and direct the user to your mobile-optimized website, to a video demonstration of one of your products on YouTube, in-depth product information or even customer testimonials. QR codes are the perfect way to connect your offline marketing to your online marketing.

Research by the Pew Research Center indicates that:

  • 37% of U.S. smartphone users have made a purchase on their phones in the last 6 months.
  • Mobile commerce tripled in the U.S. in 2009 to $1.2 billion

Why wouldn’t you use the QR code on all of your printed materials or point-of-purchase displays to drive commerce? QR Codes are viral, amplify the conversation by providing more information, convert passive readers into active customers and provide useful data.

So, how can you use QR codes in your marketing strategy? How about:

  • Coupons
  • Link a newspaper ad to video about your company
  • Provide access to nutritional information
  • Event ticketing
  • To engage tourists in your city

These are only a few uses for QR codes. But, before just slapping one on your printed material or point-of-purchase display there are some things to consider:

  1. Make sure you are linking to content that matters.
  2. Only  link to mobile-optimized sites.
  3. Track usage to make sure your campaigns are successful.
  4. Provide instructions so prospective customers understand how to download the app and access the code contents.
  5. Don’t forget to provide an access code for non-Smartphone users so they can participate.
  6. Test! Make sure the code is readable (clickable) and that the site appears as you wish it to.

There are many wonderful articles out there – just Google “QR Codes”, or you can contact me and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Put your Ideas In Motion!

Share Your Wealth

Money is not the root of all evil – being stingy with it is! Learn to share your time, your talents and your wealth. By giving away all 3, you will reap far more in return. I just returned from a quick trip to Chicago and saw so many people begging on the street corners for money.

My cynical side tells me that this is their job. Instead of putting on a suit and tie and going to the office, they put on warm clothes, grab their sign and bucket and head to their office – the street corner.

My empathetic side tells me that times are tough and many people are not as fortunate as myself and those I know. My heart breaks and begs me to do something. But, again, up pops the cynical side that tells me all they are going to do is spend that money on drugs or alcohol. Mrs. Cynical and Mrs. Empathy are always seeming to do battle over this issue. However, this time I have come up with a solution that will keep both of them quiet!

I intend to purchase fast food coupons. When I come across someone begging for money for food, I will give them a coupon for a meal. My heart will be happy because they are not going hungry and my head will be happy because I made a wise financial decision.

That’s money, but what about time? I do believe that today time is a more valuable commodity than money. All of us are cramming 25 hours into a 24 hour day. We want more time with our families instead of more time spent at work. So, it’s a hard decision to give up an hour or two a week and volunteer. But, I’d really like to encourage you to think about that. What would an hour of your time mean to someone standing in line at the homeless shelter or food bank? What would an hour of your time mean to a senior citizen who cannot get out to run their errands themselves? What would an hour of your time mean to a child who is looking for a mentor?

If you have children at home and resent having to take that hour away from the time you spend with them, find a family volunteer opportunity. Pack boxes at the food bank, conduct your own food or clothing drive, shovel your elderly neighbor’s driveway or pick up their grocery list when you’re preparing to go shopping. Just think about the message your children will receive through seeing your volunteer efforts. Just think about the pride they will feel knowing that they helped someone who needed a helping hand.

Anytime I have volunteered, I have received far more than I have ever given. I’ve met new friends, made great business contacts or helped someone who was struggling. I remember when I was that person struggling and I remember those who were willing to give of themselves to help me. For them I will be forever grateful!

If everyone volunteered just one hour a month, I don’t think there would be any unmet needs in our community. God has abundantly blessed our family. Sometimes we forget just how fortunate we are. We are so busy at work and at home and our culture is so focused on acquisition of goods and social standing. We are worried about the brand of clothing we wear. We are worried about living in the “right” neighborhood. We are worried about driving the luxury automobile. In the end, we die – yes, all of us. When that time comes will it matter what type of car we are driving or what logo we have on our shirt? Who will care that we lived in the “right” part of town? However, if we are living right, a lot of people will care because we took the time to reach out and touch their life in a positive way!


New Year – New Me!

It’s that time of year – resolution time! It’s tempting not to make any resolutions because then I wouldn’t have to suffer the disappointment when I don’t keep them. However, it’s the time of year when I feel I want to state those changes that I believe will make a better “me”. From exercising more and eating less, to reading more and practicing patience, these are the things my resolutions are usually made of. This year, I’m changing that and resolving only to be a better me. That’s broad enough to give me the leeway I think I need, but certainly a positive resolution overall and one that I hope makes me think twice when making decisions.

This is also the time of year when I “unclutter” my office. I go through every drawer, file and storage area, throwing out no longer needed files and accumulated junk. It always makes me feel more in control, organized and ready to tackle the new year.

This year though, I am taking that “uncluttering” mindset a step further. I pledge to rid my life of time-wasters and possessions that I do not use. Excess possessions require effort to take care of them. You have to move them, dust them, store them, insure them and think about them. If I haven’t used it within the last 2 years – it’s gone!

As for the time wasters, this might be a little more difficult. I enjoy people and any type of activity where I can be with people. So, I’m very likely to say “yes” whenever asked to do something. But, I’ve found that I’ve over-scheduled my life and have little to no free time. While I’ve never been one to sit around watching television or puttering in a garden, I never feel that I have a moment to call my own. I’ve managed to fill my life with things I love, but I think I’m going to have to prioritize my commitments better in 2011. 

I plan to continue my volunteer efforts at Dress for Success Cincinnati and participate in industry associations like the American Marketing AssociationPrinting Industries of America and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce,  but some of my other commitments are probably not going to be renewed as they expire. This will be difficult for me.

Our business is in a constant state of change and, as the years pass, seems to require more time to learn and stay on top of all of the new marketing trends. I’ve learned that as an old dog I can always learn new tricks. As a life-long learner this excites me!

What are your resolutions for the new year? If you haven’t made any, then you won’t have to suffer the disappointment if you fail to keep them. But, if you never resolve to be a better “you”, then how will you ever grow? I’ve found that an unstated goal is just a pipe dream, but the minute you put it into words it seems to take on some magical powers that demand that we step up and be better. Here’s to you and a blessed, prosperous 2011!