Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bar Code Marketing

The concept of mobile bar codes isn't new, but it is new in the sense that it is an emerging strategy for large and small companies alike here on the West coast. It has recently come to my attention in my networking community and I wanted to share it with you. To the right is the QR Code for Wicked Marketing.

Mobile QR (Quick Response) code technology, first developed and used in Japan, has dramatically improved direct marketing results for brands, advertisers, mobile carriers, handset manufacturers and publishers over the past couple of years. 2D mobile bar codes are now used in direct response, multimedia marketing and promotional campaigns.

3GVision, started in 2000, is a leader in mobile bar code reading and advanced image processing technologies used by mobile carriers, handset manufacturers, advertisers and end-users. Their application is called i-nigma, an end-to-end 1D/2D QR code solution, is said to increase revenue opportunities for mobile operators and print campaign effectiveness for media and marketing companies.

However, Microsoft is also in the QR code game. The MS application is called Microsoft Tag. You can Follow them on Twitter or Like them on Facebook. W magazine has created a new promotional campaign called "Love It? Tag It," which features Microsoft Tags.

How does it work? All you need to do is download a mobile QR code reader and take a picture of a bar code you see in a print or online advertisement with your smart phone to either get more information or be sent to a website.

This technology definitely makes advertising more interactive. So if you see a weird looking box with weird black smudges in it, you may be looking at the future of printed and on-line marketing.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Leveraging Facebook For Your Business

The one topic that comes up in my marketing consultations is the reluctance to create a personal profile on Facebook. Admittedly, Facebook has become known for miscellaneous and insignificant postings of personal happenings. However, I have a different view of Facebook and how it can be a powerful tool for your business, especially a small business-to-consumer company.

Did you know that everyone is connected with at least 150 other people? Those people most likely have a profile on LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Facebook. The brilliant thing about social media is the ease to which you can share information about your business or recommend another business or service with the people you know.

LinkedIn is more of a professional, dynamic on-line address book. For those businesses who are looking to connect with other businesses, this is the place to be. But don't discount it if you are an independent consultant! Those connections could open a doorway to a large corporation full of people who need your services independently of the company they work for (i.e. home theater networking, computer support, cell/video phone services, gifts, makeup, jewelry, kitchen/home appliances, etc.

Twitter is a medium for people who really understand the power of social media. You will see individuals and corporations alike on Twitter sharing ideas, news and blog links. If you are going to become involved in social media, you can't ignore Twitter.

Facebook is where the masses unite on a personal level. This is the perfect place to give your business a personal identity to connect with your target audience through the people you know personally. There is nothing wrong with leveraging your family and friends to help you promote your business - and they are HAPPY to do it! Are you a solo music artist who plays acoustic guitar and sings at parties? Are you photographer who likes to shoot weddings on the weekends? Are you a yoga instructor who schedules personal classes at clients homes? Are you a caterer who delivers specialty items to birthday parties? Perhaps you are a restaurant and want to promote a coupon to create more traffic through your door.

So, why create a personal profile and not just a business page? Because you WANT to connect with the people you already know!

People do business with companies they know, like and trust. The only way to build those relationships is on a personal level. If a friend recommends your company's services because they know, like and trust you, then that recommendation will turn into more business for you. Word-of-mouth marketing is the sweet spot. It's free and it comes with a testimonial. Social media perpetuates this type of marketing in an effective manner and costs nothing but time for the business.

Wicked Marketing offers social media support for those business owners who are too busy to keep up with frequent postings necessary to stay in front of your target audience. Email us today to set up a consultation.