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What’s the Future for QR Codes?

QR codes, short for quick response codes (those funky squares of seemingly random blank and white areas) are popping up in more places, some of which are unexpected, such as headstones.

They have many uses, but a common one is in marketing, allowing people with smartphones to scan it and be whisked to a website.

With increased usage, does this suggest a growing trend or merely something trendy?

I think QR codes are more novelty than practical.

I remember a time when it seemed every TV ad ended with a website address. That didn’t last long — and I don’t think QR codes will either.

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How Fast Should You Move To HTML5?

If you have a website, and who doesn’t nowadays, you fit in one of three categories:

      1) You use a hosted service that does all the behind-the-scenes technical stuff for you.
      2) You pay someone else to take care of it.
      3) You or an in-house team handles it.

You may also know that HTML5 is the new thing for websites. If you’re in the first two categories, that’s really all you need to know. If you’re in the third category you should track this carefully.

Web browsers handle HTML5 with varying degrees of effectiveness. Therefore, just because a new feature is part of HTML5, it’s unwise to use it before the browsers can actually handle it.

To find what each browser offers, check out html5test.com. It tells which HTML5 features work for your browser and provides a compliance score, based on a 500-point scale. The results are eye opening:

      Chrome 22 leads the pack with 437 points
      Safari 6: 376 points
      Firefox 15: 346 points
      Internet Explorer v9: 138 points

Older versions have lower scores and therefore lower levels of HTML5 compatibility.

The key point is, don’t implement a new HTML5 feature until all the major browsers support it and most users have switched to that version.

Why is an HTML5 post on a blog about publishing? Quite simply because “publishers are becoming developers.” And that’s another thing for us to contemplate.

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Three Reactions to Economic Conditions

As businesses ponder future economic conditions and how it will affect sales and their bottom line, there are three ways to respond:

  1. Hunker down and hope tomorrow will be better.
  2. Take a deep breath and maintain business as usual.
  3. Increase marketing and promotional efforts to increase sales now and fill the sales funnel with prospects for later.

The first response is a quick path to disaster.

The second option, while a viable consideration, may not be the best one.

It’s the third possibility, however, that holds the most promise for the present and the most potential for the future.

Progressive business owners and managers will pursue the third choice. As they do, they will zoom past their competition while they hunker down or hold their breath.

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How Customer Service Can Take the Pressure Off of Marketing

Although the precise multiple varies with who’s doing the telling, the truth is it’s many times more costly to obtain a new customer than keep an existing one.

The sad reality is, no one at the giant mega-corporations gets this — or at least their actions belie that they do.

For years, I’ve been trying to get a less outrageous rate from my local phone company, practically begging them to give me a reason to stick around. Now I have a viable alternative, so I switched providers, and cancelled service.

For the first time in 24 years they ask me, “What can we do to keep you as a customer?” Sorry, too late.

A week later I receive an email message from them. It seems I’ve been pre-approved for a special rate, one they wouldn’t consider giving me as a customer, but will if I’m a prospect. They offer to sell me phone, Internet, and satellite for about what they were charging for just phone and Internet before.

If existing customers were treated with a bit more respect, the marketing folks wouldn’t be under as much pressure to regain the revenue lost from defecting customers. But instead, they do things backwards, treating customers with disregard and prospects with sweet deals.

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Measuring Marketing Effectiveness

There’s an alarming trend among marketing folks, especially those focused on e-marketing. Their perspective is if marketing can’t be measured, then it’s not viable. This is incorrect; some marketing results simply cannot be tracked.

Consider print marketing. You can’t count the number of impressions, clicks, or conversions. You have no way of knowing how many eyeballs saw an ad, how many positive, subconscious imprints were made, or the degree to which a brand was reinforced with each view.

The reality is, every time someone sees your ad in print, the status of your brand is elevated in their mind and your organization is held in higher esteem. This makes prospects more likely to click and to buy when they see you online. And this increases the likelihood they’ll answer your salesperson’s call and ultimately buy your products or services when they have a need.

Without the support of print media advertising, the salesperson’s job becomes more difficult and their sales will be lower. Just because it’s hard to measure the effectiveness of certain marketing, doesn’t mean it should be skipped. Doing so puts an organization’s future at risk.