Are QR Codes the Next Big Thing in Shopper Marketing?

Still in its infancy here in the States; major brands see the potential of the technology

In this week’s issue of AdAge, reporter Natalie Zmuda writes about QR Codes Gaining Prominence, with the likes of Target, Best Buy, Macy’s and Post Cereals embracing the technology.  A pretty impressive group to be sure – but just the tip of the iceberg as the technology gains greater acceptance through a concerted effort to educate the consumer.

PowerDirect's own QR code points prospects to our website.

Originally used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR (or quick-response) codes are becoming more widely used in marketing for a broad range of brand initiatives that provide mobile access not only to special offers and discounts, but also to more informative content such as product ratings and reviews, How-To guides and product-specific videos.  These two dimensional barcodes are appearing anywhere and everywhere – on billboards, in-store displays, event ticketing and tracking, business cards, print ads,  direct mail campaigns, websites, email marketing, and couponing. Marketers are realizing that the possibilities are endless.

Front-door media is yet another ideal medium for QR code implementation – providing a way to influence shoppers early on their path to purchase, supporting shopping decisions and lists made in the home with high-value offers delivered directly to the front porch.  For example, imagine bypassing the mailbox and the other clutter of a prospect’s daily life and delivering a branded message along with a product sample or a special offer to the front doors of a targeted group of prospects.  On this marketing piece is a QR code that takes the customer to a website where they can quickly view the product in action, learn more about it and even purchase it online. Perhaps the QR code takes the customer to an added incentive meant to drive traffic to a brick and mortar retail location.  Working with other pieces of the marketing program, this delivery method adds a personal touch and incentive the consumer’s brand experience.

Have you been eager to test QR codes as part of your overall strategy? Are you looking for the ability to measure response rates with a high level of accuracy? Are you ready for a simple, inexpensive way to explore the potential of QR codes?  Front-door marketing may be just the ticket.

Today’s Media Onslaught Causes Consumers to Tune Out

Use the ‘Less is More’ Philosophy to Break through Media Overload

Howard Gossage, one of the earliest innovators in advertising, once said that people don’t read ads. They read what interests them and sometimes it’s an ad.  The point is that people don’t inherently hate ads; they just hate bad ads that don’t bring value or otherwise matter to them.  Today that phenomenon has evolved even further, as the average consumer has become highly skilled at tuning out messages that are neither of interest nor intended specifically for them.

Image source: creativecouples.net

This increasing ability to shut down messages means that marketers need to refine their efforts rather than simply expand them.  Less is more, and more of the same simply won’t do the trick. Channels, messages and targeting all must come together to effectively reach the right audience with pertinent communication.

The ability to deliver a succinct message, respecting the intelligence and value of the audience in the process, is highly prized by marketers.  An innate characteristic of front door marketing, this singular, uncluttered channel is in line with the evolution of the ‘consumer brain.’   In fact, according to a now well-cited study by Stanford University researchers, the human brain is just not well-suited to media multi-tasking and being bombarded with multiple streams of electronic information.

Are you considering the ‘how, when and where’ factors in reaching your target audience? Using the front door may help your message stand out with value and meaning, and break through on a much more personal level.

Consumers are in Control When it Comes to Insurance Decisions

Insurance marketers are expanding their direct response arsenal; methods appealing to individual needs lead to increased conversions

Insurance used to be a bit more mysterious, with agency support and interaction required for gathering even basic information or price quotes.  But that process would be foreign to many people today – in fact, a large group of young adults are routinely inclined to turn to the web and seek out the most competitive prices and services on their own.  They’re taking insurance research and ultimately policy decisions into their own hands, confident that they have the resources to make choices that are best for them.

Insurance-Marketing-with-Front-Door-Media

Sell more insurance policies with front-door marketing.

The insurance industry is capitalizing on this trend, allocating marketing resources to reach these customers at home, where they are researching and making many of their insurance shopping decisions. Insurance advertising spending is indeed at an all-time high – according to a J.D. Power & Associates report confirming $4.15 billion spent in 2009, or more than double industry figures for 2000.  But in addition to marketing through agents, insurance companies are adding personal appeals to consumers through the uncluttered, grassroots channel represented by the front door. This shift is targeted in large part toward ‘millennials,’ or the 76 million individuals born between 1977 and 1982, and is focused on directly engaging and converting customer prospects.

Leading insurance firms such as Allstate, Anthem Blue Cross, Nationwide Insurance and Safeway Insurance have utilized front door marketing to generate powerful results in new policy sales.  Further, new drive-to-web options including QR (Quick Response) codes and real-time personalization web applications (which ID responders based on their name and zip code) are effectively reducing abandonment of quote forms with personalized content served up as recipients respond.  Front door marketing tactics like these are also stimulating additional 1-800 agent calls and email inquiries, as well as creating a qualified-responders list for future remarketing programs.

Do your insurance marketing efforts reflect a direct appeal that resonates with your audience? For more, visit PowerDirect executives at the 8th Advanced Insurance Direct Marketing Forum 2011 on March 7th and 8th at Loews Annapolis Hotel, Annapolis, Maryland. To schedule an appointment at the show, please contact Jack Nemeth at (949) 253-3455.