Are QR Codes A Marketing Gimmick?

QR Codes Are Stupid -- Only If You Use Them IncorrectlyThere are plenty of articles talking about the failure of QR codes. Most with pictures proving their point. My favorite is the QR code on a billboard.   The proverbial wrong tool for the job.

So QR codes are stupid, right? Nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

Let’s not jump to conclusions. Granted they haven’t taken off like some thought they would. And no one will argue that using a marketing tool in the wrong way will every work.

QR codes are only a tool in your marketing toolbox

Not surprisingly, we think QR codes can play a key role in your marketing mix. Especially when used on packaging.

Here’s why: If you have a story to tell to the shopper, and not enough room on you package to tell it, a QR code can help provide critical information.

With the rise of smart phones, QR readers are commonplace. That means that consumers can scan your code if they want to.

Using a QR code is the beginning of your marketing, not the end

QR codes are only a tool in your marketing toolboxMany marketers slap a QR code on and have it point to something easy – like the home page of their website. How’s that helping your shopper make any kind of decision to purchase your product?

Instead, create a micro site for your product that’s designed to be viewed on a mobile device. And have a 15 or 30 second video that’s tied to the product.  An example might be to explain the ease of use, demonstrate installation steps or to add critical details to a complex selling story.

An added bonus is that those simple videos can also be used as rich media content on your A+ pages on eCommerce sites like Amazon.

The micro site has pictures of the product in use, tips and other important points that bring your product to life for the consumer.  All in a quick, simple and concise way.

Using QR codes will impress my buyer!

new-bright-ideaYour buyer will probably not be impressed and is likely to question the strategy. Be prepared to answer any questions your merchant may pose factually. And never underestimate the power of a demonstration in their office.

Share with your buyer the key reasons when QR codes make the most sense:

  1. Limited space on the packaging to bring the product to life
  2. When you have a complex selling story
  3. When a demonstration is a powerful closer

Clarify where the QR code will point and how the content there is relevant and can be re-purposed for eCommerce and in other social media use. In other words, how you plan on using it to drive consumers to their stores.

Share how you plan on tracking click-thrus and be willing to share that data with your merchant. And don’t worry if the numbers clicking are small.

By using QR codes appropriately and as part of your overall marketing mix, your buyer might just be impressed!

Are You Great At Product Development and Lousy At Product Commercialization?

InventionHow often have you heard that innovation and new products are the life blood of a company? Too many times to count.

And who can disagree? Not us. But we also know that the product development process is often woefully inadequate when it comes to product commercialization.

The truth is that companies spend so much time on developing products that they forget that the sales force – and the customer – don’t know what the product is or why they need it. The customer mantra is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” No one wants to be a pioneer, take up valuable shelf space or add inventory.

What good are new products if your commercialization handicaps success?

Slow-SignProduct managers are often focused on the product development process and not the commercialization of their new products. This can leave the sales team out in the cold when it comes to knowing and understanding how to position the new product with customers.

A simple way to overcome this is to create a New Product Introduction—Field Communications Template. This tool will help you develop a robust communication to the field sales team. And not miss any critical details or facts in the process.

What’s In a New Product Introduction—Field Communications Template?

Driving sales New Product Introduction—Field Communications TemplateThis tool is a fact-builder. It is a reminder of what’s necessary to think through all the critical elements a sales person will need to help successfully commercialize your new product. It will help you build a story that will highlight how your new product fits into the marketplace and delivers solutions that your customer is looking for.

A note of caution: It is only part of the commercialization process and not the end of the work you need to do to launch a new product. For more on how to better communicate new products to the sales team, take a look our post “How to Get Knowledge Out of Your Product Manager’s Head and Into the Hands of the Sales Team”.

The template breaks into multiple sections.  Think through each one and put down all the information you can.  Ask yourself, what’s missing – what more do I need to find out to make this a flawless launch.

  1. Product name
    • Trademark
    • Generic name
  2. Product definition – what is the product and what problem does it solve better than anything else in the market today?
  3. Audiences
    • First buyer
    • Second buyer
    • End user
  4. Features/Benefits
    • Features – list the top 5
    • Benefits – list the top 5
  5. Differentiation – outline what sets this product apart in the market
  6. Positioning -=- how have you positioned the product in your offering and for the customer?
  7. Competitive environment – List the top competitors and what their strengths and weaknesses are in this product segment.
    • Competitor A
    • Competitor B
    • Competitor C
  8. Pricing / Value Proposition – Answer the question of “How are you the best economic value?” not just put in your pricing structure
  9. Market/marketing research – What third party insights help support your product
  10. Market size – Know not just the size but what drives the market, too
  11. Social/economic/business environment—market dynamics
  12. Marketing strategies
    • Strategy 1
    • Strategy 2
    • Strategy 3
  13. Packaging
  14. Technical support – 3rd party testing and documentation
  15. Brand identity
  16. Other factors specific to your product or market (regional issues, health & safety, etc.)
  17. Communications elements – pick the tools that drive your marketing strategies and fit you budget
    • Advertising
    • Co-op/Ad elements
    • Distributor/Channel programs
    • Incentives
    • Industry relations
    • Literature
    • Packaging
    • Point-of-sale/Merchandising
    • Presentations
    • Public relations
    • Sales support
    • Samples
    • Social media /website
    • Trade shows
    • Training – and don’t forget the customer service team
    • Trade advertising

CommentsWhat else would you add to make this template even more robust?  Share your thoughts in the comments area so we can all benefit from your perspective.

For more insights on successful product commercialization, see the Channel Instincts posts “Are You Using This Simple Product Commercialization Checklist?” and “8 Steps to Building a Customer-Focused Commercialization Strategy”.

Good Selling!