With nearly 50 percent of mobile phone users in the U.S. carrying smartphones, and 25 percent of this sample also carrying tablets, connected devices and tablets have gone mainstream and are leading the shift towards a mobile-driven consumer decision journey. Accordingly, the IBM State of Marketing 2012 report found that 41% of marketers worldwide cite the growth of channel and device choices as the top challenge to their company over the next 5 years, while adoption of mobile websites and mobile applications grows.
QR codes are an ideal medium to connect consumers immediately with the mobile content they seek. Below we offer tactical insights for effectively integrating QR codes into your multichannel mobile marketing strategy.
The Consumer Decision Journey
According to a Feb. 2012 study of 2D code usage in print publications conducted by Competitrack, “The content that is delivered after the code is scanned is an equally significant part of the consumer’s experience.” McKinsey & Company’s consumer decision journey is a useful framework as consumers move towards tablets and mobile devices to research purchases. There are six stages in the consumer decision journey as consumers move from evaluating a relationship and/or purchase from a brand to purchasing a product and ultimately becoming bonded, loyal customers.
Targeted content across the channels most commonly linked to QR code scans can be aligned with the appropriate stage in the consumer decision journey to improve mobile engagement after the scan.
Content Linked to a 2D Code Scan as Reported by Competitrack (n=7,300 2D codes)
|Misc. (addresses, store hours, store finders)||3.5%|
|Source: Competitrack.“Black, White and Read All Over.” February 2012. n=7,300 2D codes|
Content is King – Lead with it!
The Delta Touch 2O Technology QR code example profiled recently in our QR workshop blog series is an excellent example of providing valuable content with the QR code scan – linking to product information, a FAQ page, and YouTube channel among other valuable resources. However, the call to action, “Scan for more information” largely undersold the value of the content provided with the scan. A call to action such as, “Scan for an interactive product demonstration and customer reviews” would have been much stronger. Stating the call to action in terms of the benefit to the customer also appeals to consumers’ research needs in the early stages of the consumer decision journey.
Creating Effective QR-Linked Content
While a mobile-optimized website makes it easy for consumers to review content from connected smartphones and tablets, of equal importance is helping the consumer to evaluate your product or service for purchase over time. With that goal in mind, linking to product reviews, videos, testimonials and even enabling the prospect to quickly sign up to receive future updates from you via social networks, RSS or email newsletters – all with the QR code scan – are important steps to optimizing content for the consumer decision journey. Likewise, providing engaging content for current customers that can be shared through social networks is a powerful way to amplify your brand’s reach and impact. According to the McKinsey and Company report, Demystifying Social Media:
The core concepts for campaigns must invite customers into an experience that they can choose to extend by joining a conversation with the brand, product, fellow users, and other enthusiasts. It means having ongoing programs that share new content with customers and provide opportunities for sharing back.
In the consumer decision journey stages from Experience to Advocate to Bond (post-purchase), QR codes can be linked to social networks where consumers can like or follow your company or product with the scan. Indeed, when it comes to gauging loyalty, consumers will use their power of influence via social networks to cast their votes. eMarketer reports that the top three reasons consumers “like” a brand on Facebook are to Show loyalty (49%), Track news on the brand and products (46%), and Look for incentives or rewards for engaging with the brand (46%).
Finally, once you’ve nurtured your prospect through to purchase in the consumer decision journey, there is an opportunity to focus on the customer experience to build customer loyalty.
Best Ways Companies Can Build Customer Loyalty According to US Internet Users
|Providing exceptional 24/7 customer service||34%|
|Rewarding me for purchases, feedback, referrals||20%|
|Sending me exclusive and/or relevant offers and specials||13%|
|Providing personalized products, services||12%|
|Knowing when I visit or call in||10%|
|Source: ClickFox 2012 Customer Loyalty Survey. April 2012 (as reported by eMarketer).|
Whether the goal of the content provided with the QR code scan is to stay top of mind throughout early stages in the decision journey (pre-purchase) or to maintain relevance and loyalty with current customers (post-purchase), incorporating a compelling call to action with your QR code use is key. Aligning content delivered through the QR code scan with each stage of the consumer decision journey can improve customer engagement, while QR codes can facilitate efficient content delivery to connected smartphones and tablets to assist with the purchase decision.
Is your QR-linked content optimized for the consumer decision journey?
* For more information on how to use QR codes effectively, sign-up for QR Code Tips and Tricks. *