Monthly Archives: October 2011

Why the QR code is Failing (and How To Fix It)

Courtesy of Sean X. Cummings and iMediaConnection.

They have become the standard violator appearing on advertising; in the corner of print ads, across billboards, on buses, or in pieces of direct mail — even peppered throughout this article. You’ve seen them; that little block of even littler squares. Unfortunately the technology behind QR codes was not invented for advertising and marketing; we are just co-opting its usage, and it shows.

From the relative lack of public understanding of what they even are, to the dearth of creativity in their usage, the QR code is destined to become just the little box that geek built. But if it does go the way of CueCat, only we are to blame. Here’s why.

The current use of QR codes in advertising is…
I could finish that statement with “stupid,” “useless,” “uncreative,” or “uninspiring.” Surprisingly, that is not news to anyone at advertising agencies or brands. QR codes seem to be a last ditch effort; an ignored piece of “Hey, throw a QR code on there that leads to our website.” But why bother? The general public seems largely oblivious to what they are used for, and why they are on all those ads. In my informal “on the street” survey of 300 people last month, I held up a sign with a QR code on it and the phrase: “Free gift if you can tell me what this is.”

I was not asking them to decipher it, just tell me what it actually was. Here are the results:

  • 11 percent correctly answered QR code or quick response code
  • 29 percent responded with “Some barcode thingy”
  • Seven percent guessed some variant of “Those things you stare at that get 3D when you cross your eyes. What picture is it? I can’t seem to get it”
  • The remaining 53 percent tried everything from a secret military code, Korean (uh really?), to an aerial street map of San Francisco

My survey was conducted in San Francisco, the veritable Mecca of the planet for tech, so it only goes downhill from here. When I asked those who knew it was some type of “barcode” how they could decipher it, 35 percent answered “with their phone.” When I asked them to actually “read” it with their phone? Only 45 percent of those were able to do it, and it took an average of 47 seconds for them to take out their phone and find the application to read the QR code — not exactly a “quick response.” Remember that agencies are putting these on moving buses and highway billboards.

To read the rest of the article, CLICK HERE.

Search…Out…Discovery…In

Courtesy of Adam Singolda, MEDIA POST’s VIDEO INSIDER.

In the mid ’90s, webmasters started to optimize their site so that when a search engine had sent its “spider” to crawl the page, data would be properly extracted and visible to users proactively searching for it. That was SEO.

Better visibility on search engines meant more users landing on your website’s content. More users landing on the website meant more revenue.

That discipline later evolved to also offer a paid option for getting users into your sites — now considered one of the primary money makers for search engines.

15 years after, people still use search, true — but not as much as they used to, and in my opinion, will barely do so in the future.

Why? People have no idea what they want to do next, so how can they search for it?

The world is transforming from actively pursuing to passively discovering. People might search for an article or a video, but then discovery vehicles will get the user to bounce from one piece of content to another. In fact, I’m not even sure that search will remain to be the anchor as it is today for people to land on the first article or video. As an example — social channels are already getting massive momentum and users are spending more time on them (Facebook versus Google)

The biggest asset on the Web, in my opinion, is “owning” where users go. Today it’s primarily Google through its search engine — a very lucrative business indeed. In the not-so-far future, I think that discovery tools — from social vehicles to recommendation engines spread all around the web content pages, offering people content they might like from the Web — will win.

If that’s true, the huge market of optimizing search and paying for it (SEO/SEM) will slowly transform into optimizing and paying for Discovery tools that own users’ attention and help navigate them to the “best next thing.”

I would call it discovery engine optimization (DEO).

 

 

Steve Jobs…Job Well Done

After piling on yesterday with everyone else who felt that Apple blew it when they announced the new iPhone upgrade (not because of what they offered but because they let the rumors of what they might be offering…ie-a revolutionary re-think and re-design…get so far out of hand), I feel bad in retrospect, particularly after I hear today that Steve Jobs passed away today.

He, more than anyone else, epitimized the visionary new CEO we’ve come to expect.  The dreamer who could get it done.  Not only did he pioneer a whole new industry (personal computers) with his partner Steve Wozniak, but he proved that it wasn’t a fluke when he was brought back into the company he’d originally built and rescued it from the bean counters by bringing back passion and purpose again to their products.  And wonder….as in “I wonder what they’ll do next?”

That may come back to bite the company in the post-Jobs era, when a duller, drabber set of managers will try and continue to pull off that trick, again and again (as only Jobs could do it).  Let’s hope that there’s still some magicians within their ranks. For if they can’t create and control expectations (like they failed to do Monday when they rolled out the revised iPhone), then we’ll all be left to wonder “what if we never find another Steve Jobs again?”

“And one more thing…” as Jobs loved to say at the end of his presentation, as he pulled the rabbit once again out of his hat.  Just because someone shows you the trick, doesn’t mean you can really pull it off.  I think Apple’s new executives are just beginning to realize that.

Is This the New Apple?

Like everyone else, I was disappointed by the no news, “non-news” introduction of the “new iPhone 4S”.  They saw the hype happening and the anticipation of an entirely new, revolutionary platform.  So why didn’t they nip it in the bud?  Particularly with a new CEO taking the helm!

What I fear is this…Rather than still aspiring to be bold and “industry leading”,  the new Apple (under the bean counters again) is just trying to milk some more  profit out of the orignal chassis.  Then, next summer, they’ll make all  these iPhone 4S’s obsolete with their delayed iPhone 5.  Which explains  what the added letter “s” stands for…sucker.

Or will it turn out be “S for Stupid” in that Apple wasted a chance to get ahead of their competition and capture all those people who were ready to buy their product NOW (many of who may now go to Android rather than wait for the highly anticipated new platform the new Apple leadership allowed us to believe was coming).

A classic case of misreading the market and sending the wrong message (on mulitiple levels) to their disappointed fans and consumers.  From the one company we NEVER expected to get it wrong.

Read more: http://techland.time.com/2011/10/04/spec-spat-apple-iphone-4s-vs-iphone-4/#ixzz1ZqzAR8Rq