Posts Tagged ‘web’

Hip to be square: Demystifying the QR code

June 2, 2011

They’re called QR codes, and they’re seemingly everywhere these days — you may have noticed them in store windows, magazine articles, and other places where you’d usually find traditional advertising. But what exactly are they, and what function do they serve for retailers?

“By the book definition, they’re two-dimensional barcodes that can be scanned by a mobile device or camera phone, which would lead you to a phone number, SMS text message, or URL,” says Scott Bronenberg, regional sales manager for Advanced Telecom Services.

In newbie terms, QR codes are similar to regular product barcodes — only instead of listing a price at the checkout counter, they act as portals to a retailer’s mobile website or other information. Users scan the code, and in turn, the code sends the user to whatever the retailer has linked to the code — whether mobile website, coupon, or other information.

“Right now, people are using QR codes to [redirect] users to their websites,” Bronenberg says. “But what we’ve found is that there’s so much more we can do with further integrating that landing page. Be it Facebook, Twitter, an opportunity to download an app, watching a video, and live streaming.”

QR codes were first developed in Japan as early as 1994, when they were used to track automotive parts — sort of a mobile tagging system. It wasn’t until just about a few years ago that they caught on in the United States. “We’ve been working with QR codes for about a year and a half, and the growth is spiking right now,” Bronenberg says.

And, with mobile phone companies like Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile planning to offer phones equipped with QR scanners rather than have users download these scanners themselves, Bronenberg muses the interest in them will multiply — not fade out like other marketing fads. “Right now, they’re like the shiny object in the room — they’re new, and unique. But if people get more comfortable with them, their growth could be endless,” he says. “They’ve been in use in Japan for awhile now. If we as marketers can do a good job of executing what’s on the back end, they will be here to stay.”

Besides linking to a website or social media page, one could also run various promotions with QR codes. Frank Mazza, Advanced Telecom Services’ QR code production director, recently helped develop what the company calls a “scannenger hunt.” Retailers would place QR codes around their store, asking consumers to scan them to view and download exclusive content. Mazza also suggests that dealers place QR codes on showroom vehicles that link to videos of vehicle demos or customer reviews. “[Customers] can scan them, and they can see the vehicles in motion [in a video],” Mazza says. “They have all of the details they need on their phones. You could also tie the QR codes in with vehicle servicing.” The best part? Customers have access to all of this interactive content, all without having to leave your store to get it.

Advanced Telecom Services helps retailers build custom apps and marketing campaigns to link to these QR codes. The company offers customization, building, setup and development services that start at $500, plus monthly maintenance fees. Customized QR codes that are branded according to your business start at $100. Bronenberg and Mazza also run a website,, where one can generate generic, black and white QR codes for free. “A lot of people who use the standard QR code just link it to their website,” Mazza says. “But the thing is, yeah, you can use them for free, but you want to brand it, from the outside and inside. That’s what we do. We’re creating a landing site for you. The works.”


Dealers: How you can jump on the mobile-shopping bandwagon for free

February 18, 2011

Hey dealers:
I’ve got an assignment for you that may propel you headfirst into this year’s top marketing trend: mobile e-commerce. Why should you care? In this morning’s Learning Experience Marketing session with Craig Cervenka at Dealer Expo, it was said that an estimated 75 percent of people will try mobile shopping at least once this year. 75 percent. If that doesn’t reel you in, how about if I tell you that your assignment will take just 5 minutes, and it’s free.

Here’s what you do:

Make sure your business is listed in Google Places.

1. Visit

2. In the bottom right corner, click on “Google Places for Business.”

3. Create a Google account or log in, if you already have an account.

4. You’ll be redirected to a page where you can “List Your Business.” Just follow the directions on the page. If Google doesn’t have the information on-hand, you’ll enter your address, website phone number, and some other pertinent information.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: If a local customer Google’s your dealership name, or even a keyword like “motorcycle jacket,” you have a better chance of landing on Google’s front page for local results. There will be a map, your address, web address and phone number, all there for them to see. Also, Google automatically formats its Places pages for mobile screens (iPhone, Android, etc.), so you’ll get a nifty little mobile page as well.

— Cynthia

Honda Begins New Online Marketing Effort

January 19, 2009

Honda has launched a new marketing campaign that uses an interactive strategy and short “documentary” films contained within a multi-layered Web site.

The Web site destination,, showcases Honda’s “Dream the Impossible Documentary Series.”  Three short films (about 6- 8 minutes in length) debuted with the campaign launch Jan. 12; additional films will be added every few months. Two of the films discuss core values that have inspired generations of Honda associates by telling the stories of impossible engineering challenges and exploring where failure brought Honda and what success came of it. The third film explores the future of mobility.

The company plans to use online media to generate awareness for the campaign, drive traffic to the new site and help create consumer buzz. Spots (:30 and :15 spots using footage from the films) will run during television shows broadcast online on,, and Unique page takeovers, roadblocks and pre-roll placements will launch late January through early February on Wired, Gawker Network, Discovery Channel, Time, Yahoo! and CNN.

Learn more here.