A Personalized Future, with Mike Barclay of MoEngage

Personalization in marketing is nothing new; since the dawn of the internet, brands have been able to customize messaging to specific groups or even individuals. However, we haven’t always used this engagement superpower for good. Many brands have been guilty of getting a little too personal and creeping out their customers in the process. But today’s guest says there’s a bright future for personalization as a cornerstone to modern marketing. Mike Barclay of MoEngage joined the pod to discuss the highs and lows of personalization, and what brands born before the dawn of the internet can do to get in on the personalization game.

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QR Codes: Are they Back for Real This Time?

QR Codes are an extension of the barcode, and were first introduced as a way for manufacturers to scan larger amounts of data quickly. By 2011, retailers and tradeshows were able to take advantage of smartphone technology to utilize QR codes in their inventories, badging, and check-ins — and slowly there emerged consumer usage in the form of online offers.
The process, however, was clunky and involved third-party app software to get QR Codes to work. Fast forward to 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic raged, and the need for contactless interaction became paramount. It was during this time that QR Code technology could now exist on everything from packaging to OOH signage, and with a simple hover of a smartphone’s camera send consumers to microsites, check-in pages, and offers.
This has allowed marketers to take advantage of QR Codes in ways previously unthought of; however, like most technologies, there are privacy and safety issues to be aware of — and the current speed and ease of QR Code usage means large untapped potential for marketers in the future as well. Read on to see how marketers are using them and addressing issues with QR Codes.

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Pulse Issue 34

QR Codes: Are they Back for Real This Time?

October 2021

By Josch Chodakowsky, Senior Manager, Research & Innovation at Ask the Expert
By Josch Chodakowsky, Research Manager at Ask the Expert
QR Codes are an extension of the barcode, and were first introduced as a way for manufacturers to scan larger amounts of data quickly. By 2011, retailers and tradeshows were able to take advantage of smartphone technology to utilize QR codes in their inventories, badging, and check-ins — and slowly there emerged consumer usage in the form of online offers.
 
The process, however, was clunky and involved third-party app software to get QR Codes to work. Fast forward to 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic raged, and the need for contactless interaction became paramount. It was during this time that QR Code technology could now exist on everything from packaging to OOH signage, and with a simple hover of a smartphone’s camera send consumers to microsites, check-in pages, and offers.
 
This has allowed marketers to take advantage of QR Codes in ways previously unthought of; however, like most technologies, there are privacy and safety issues to be aware of —  and the current speed and ease of QR Code usage means large untapped potential for marketers in the future as well. Read on to see how marketers are using them and addressing issues with QR Codes.
QR codes have come a long way since their invention in 1994. Even though they’re still digi-buggy-looking little blotches that don’t improve the look of anything, we’re all getting used to using them: According to Statista research, approximately 11 million households scanned QR codes in 2020. From creating harmony between menu designers and diet-conscious diners to making inventory-related activities easier, it seemed as if QR codes were settling into a respectable, low-profile career in the world. Then, since approximately 2017, anyone with a smartphone could scan QR codes and be whisked to a digi-destination. Now, COVID-19 and Gen Z digital natives are ushering in a new QR code attitude. Everyone’s figuring out how to make them worth the scan: accessing deals, jobs, feedback and — especially for restaurants — touchless menus, carry-out alerts, table availability and app downloads in exchange for rewards. How can brands improve their relationship with these plucky little guys? Ad Age offers its opinion on a few ways.
Will QR codes be a one-hit wonder? They’ve already established staying power through the pandemic, and now that so many people have become accustomed to them and comfortable with them (a major hurdle with any technology adoption), it appears that QR codes — or at least a similar method of touch-free information access — will be around for the long haul. That means security has to adapt. Mobile threat detection has never been more important. With the rise of the digital workforce, people are using corporate-owned devices (or private devices with access to corporate data) to access more information than ever. This puts sensitive corporate and personal information at risk, and attacks keep getting more sophisticated. Bad actors can use QR codes to embed malware that can have devastating consequences. Phishing attacks can lure users to malicious websites. Information, including personally identifiable information and credit card information, can be stolen quickly — and all of this can happen without the user being aware of it. At least, that is, until it’s too late. Fast Company discusses some solutions.
The use of QR codes in marketing is growing, with current data showing that 78 percent of the world's population owns a smartphone, according to Statista. With this number continuously on the rise, it would seem to make sense for companies to invest more time and money into using these types of codes in their advertising campaigns.  The main benefits that QR codes can yield include increased customer engagement, easier access to information by customers, and an increase in conversions for businesses. Implementing them into your campaign can give you an edge over competitors who are not utilizing these forms of advertising yet. This article looks at best practices and usage of QR codes in 2021 and beyond.
Back in the day, QR codes were considered red flags and an inconvenience. The QR codes were declared dead and are expected to fade away. But, did they? In this long-form piece, QR code vendor discusses the ins and outs of the codes, their history, their resurgence, and creative use cases. They also wrote about other use cases in this piece.
Thanks to the revival and adoption of QR codes, we are starting to see growing adoption in OOH, turning stagnant billboards into immersive AR, video, or digital shopping experiences with just a scan. Here James Lane, Media Director for Redbus Media, discusses the power of interactive outdoor campaigns in helping brands create an emotional and memorable impact.
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About ANA Marketing Futures

Knowing that marketers are increasingly challenged in their efforts to keep up with the latest trends and technologies, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) tasked itself with creating a program designed to help marketers anticipate—and prepare for—the future of marketing.

 

ANA Marketing Futures is what emerged. With a focus on innovative topics and emerging trends, ANA Marketing Futures provides resources that will influence and inform via member cases, research studies, and insight from industry innovators. Check back often to learn about emerging trends and become inspired to take steps toward the growth of your business.

 

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