Category Archives: iMedia Connection

Still think QR Codes might be a good idea?

Oh dear. “QR Codes” (those little squares of binary data) have been eagerly taken up by lots of marketing people over the past year, but the general consensus is that they’ve been a big flop. I did think this would be the case, although I’m ashamed to say I sat on the fence a bit on the only occasion I wrote about them, at the start of 2011. Then, as now, I think that they might be a good way for marketers to read data, but not to provide it.

You know that something in marketing hasn’t worked when people start to make fun of it, and that’s usually the point when the whole thing collapses. There are plenty of examples of QR Code silliness going around the social media networks every day now (this one made me laugh a lot). There are even entire blogs “celebrating the ridiculousness that is QR codes” which will bring a smile to your face. Or if you’d like a more considered view, read Why the QR code is failing on iMedia Connection.

The problem with QR Codes in marketing is that we’re expecting the customers to do the work: to have a smartphone to hand, to have installed a code reader, to find it, to launch it, to focus it on the little square of data …all so we can sell them something. Of course, used that way, the idea is going to fail. Perhaps the only reason they’re still going is that many marketers who are using them are committing the biggest sin of all: they’re not even measuring the response, despite it being so easy to do so.


Load the app. Scan the code. Oh, and did we mention run alongside the bus? Yeah. That too.
(from WTF QR Codes)

The words which will make or break you

I thought I’d run with the subject of emails a bit more, as we’ve redesigned our own output this week for those of you who read these articles by email. iMedia Connection covered the topic of titling emails the other day in How to craft irresistible subject lines.

The basics are to keep your subject line short, and to get your brand name in. If you’re sending a frequent communication, the standard format is to put your brand in square brackets at the start of the subject line. For things like company newsletters, this probably won’t be the case, but I tend to favour a consistent statement of what it is anyway (the brand) – however, some of you might like to add a teaser to that too. Then you need to consider spam filtering – to say it’s overzealous at some businesses is an understatement, and with even just one “wrong” word (or character) in the subject line you can find 90% of your emails never reach their recipients. Anyway, read the article and take a view on your own email promotions.

Don’t respond like a robot

What do you send your customers when they buy a product? What about potential customers who’ve just requested a datasheet? Or people you’re thanking for having entertained a sales call? In 10 crucial elements for great transactional emails on iMedia Connection, author Wendy Roth says: “If I sent you a present, you’d send me a thank-you note, right? Not just to say thanks (even if you hated it), but also to let me know it got to you safely and because we’re friends. So, when people buy from your online store or sign up for your email newsletter, why wouldn’t you use your transactional email to let them know how pleased you are?”. I bet all of us can learn from this, but I’ll leave you to think about it while I rush off to look at our own response emails.