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QR Codes: The Hidden Opportunity for Sign and Display Businesses

Posted by
Feb 21, 2012 08:00am
Posted in: Small Business Advice

Welcome to Part 2 of 4 of “The Definitive Guide to QR Codes in the Sign Industry” (Here’s Part-1, if you missed it).

In this post, guest blogger Jon Aston, of Marketing Partners, explores the opportunities hidden in QR codes for sign and display industry. Formerly ND’s Marketing Manager, Jon now consults with sign and graphics companies throughout North America.

Meet John Wanamaker

You see that gentleman off to the left? His name was John Wanamaker. This was a man who lived an extraordinary, accomplished life. Among other things, JW is credited with creating the money-back guarantee (seriously!) and is considered, by many, to be the father of modern advertising. Today, he is probably best known for quipping that “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”.

Today, roughly 90 years after his death… I daresay Mr. Wanamaker’s words continue to ring all-too-true for all-too-many a small business owner.

Enter the QR Code

If you’ve scanned a QR Code with a smartphone, you’ve undoubtedly experienced a kind of technological magic that people in John Wanamaker’s day could scarcely have dreamt of. Most likely, the QR Code pointed to a page on the worldwide web. From there, perhaps you watched a video, entered a contest, browsed further, subscribed to something – or possibly even purchased a product or service – and then shared your discovery with friends and colleagues in your social networks! All in a matter of several seconds. And, as we learned in Part-1 of this series, it’s happening all around us, throughout the day and into the night.

What you might not realize, or may not have fully considered

Right from the very moment any smartphone scans a QR Code (say, for the sake of argument – from a sign, or display, or vehicle graphic) someone is treated to a tiny, valuable stream of data. Advertisers can easily track how many prospects scanned the QR code and when. They learn how much time prospects stayed on the page. They know what actions prospects have taken – from downloading a video, or a PDF – to which links they clicked. They can easily quantify, identify and qualify prospects who subscribed to a newsletter, who requested more product info, or requested a quotation. And they know who made a purchase. This is the magic of the internet as marketing tool. It’s all measurable. And it’s enough to put a big smile on John Wanamaker’s face.

As of today, you’re no longer just in the sign or display business.

Frankly, you never were just in the sign or display business. It’s all a matter of perspective. There’s an old axiom from the copywriting world that I would like you to consider for a moment: Nobody ever bought a drill because they wanted a drill. Think about that. Likewise, nobody every bought a sign because they wanted a sign. Your single greatest opportunity for success (and I believe this with all my heart) is to focus on delivering measurable results for your customers. And QR Codes just made doing that a whole lot easier.

Welcome, my friends, to the Mobile Marketing Industry

While I’m not necessarily suggesting a full-on “pivot” for your business, I see real potential for sign and display companies to jump on this – to demonstrate measurable value in ways none of us could have imagined a few years ago (let alone in John Wanamaker’s Day).

Stay in the know.

In Part-3 of this series, we’ll do our best to point you down the right path – to give you the knowledge and direction you need to get started.


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