Huge QR Code opportunity – Colleges & Universities

My wife & I recently took a trip to our old professional stomping grounds in SOHO, NYC.  It was a quick getaway and someone was watching our son, so we decided to make the most of our 24 hours in NY.

We’ve always wanted to go to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.  As it turns out, we literally have to drive past it on our trip to Vermont.  It was a beautiful day – just the kind you’d want to take to go enjoy some incredible food & views of a beautiful campus set on the cliffs of the Hudson River.

While it’s not a huge campus, it was big enough where we could’ve used a map to help us find the different buildings and our restaurant of choice (St. Andrew’s Cafe).  They had a few dedicated maps @ different points on the campus, but, you had to retain the knowledge and hope that you remembered the map well enough to be able to find your destination … or another mapping station.  Helpful, but, what would be more helpful is …

A QR Code on each of the mapping stations that linked directly to an online/virtual/interactive map that now fits in your pocket.  If you get lost, simply look back @ the map on your phone – no need to wander aimlessly anymore!

Every single college & university has some type of geo mapping solutions for directions.  Most of them are exactly like what exists @ the CIA in Hyde Park.  However, adding an incredibly simple tweak to the physical mapping stations would allow for better navigation (not to mention allowing for further personalization of someone’s experience) & a better user experience.

There are COUNTLESS examples of good uses of QR codes in almost any industry.  All you have to do is be a little creative!

The “Local Commerce 2.0″ Movement Just Got a BIG Lift today!

We @ Blending Circles have a serious pass for early adoption. It started out as a personal hobby – and has ended up becoming one of our client’s best assets!

Local Commerce is a top as old as the earliest settlements. But for the first time since the introduction of credit/debit cards, we’re experience a revolution in Local Commerce. That’s why we have 1 of our tabs/service pages dedicated exclusively to the opportunity right here.

Today, that revolution got a huge boost when Google introduced Google Wallet & Google Offers simultaneously. Here’s a link from TechCrunch

Google Unveils Wallet And Offers: An Open Platform For Mobile Payments

I won’t rehash the article, but, I will highly encourage you to take the time to read it in it’s entirety. Simply fascinating, futuristic & consumer friendly … all @ the same time!

Every retailer, bar, restaurant, hotel, B&B, artist, crafter … the list really goes on forever … should begin to rethink their approach to Local Commerce. The ways of the old world are changing – be there before your customers start choosing other options that are already there!

Welcome to Foursquare Day, NYC Style!

So NYC is gonna have a Foursquare Day, eh?

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20110414/SMALLBIZ/110419911

Rest assured, when the Mayor of NYC is having a day in honor of a company, that company has arrived.  Congrats to foursquare on a major PR score on this one!

Side note – hat’s off to Mayor Bloomberg for being so aggressive to adopt new technology.  He headed up the QR Code on building permits by 2013 movement as well.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/22/nyc-qr-codes-on-buildings/

 

Why is Foursquare winning the location race?

There are lots of good location-based services available for the marketplace.  Most notable ones are:

foursquare … http://www.foursquare.com
Facebook Places … http://www.facebook.com/places
Gowalla … http://www.gowalla.com
Whrrl … http://www.whrrl.com
Scvngr … http://www.scvngr.com

For simplicity sake, we can say that all have a relatively similar theme.  People check into places or websites to become the mayor, win badges, unlock prizes, merchant discounts, etc.  I use all of’em and can say they each have their own unique merits.

Most would say that foursquare is the market leader (w/ FB Places on their heels).  I’m writing this post to say that not only do I agree, but, I want to explain briefly why I think they’re @ the top of the hill (for now anyhow).

foursquare has the advantage of being an early adopter w/in market presence.  But the one real key thing that I believe gives them their competitive advantage is Dennis Crowley (http://www.twitter.com/dens) and Naveen (http://www.twitter.com/naveen).  These guys are the proud founders & owners of the service – and – they’re pretty big digital celebrities.  They’ve been featured commercials, participate in all the key events like SXSW, and they’re incredibly interactive w/in social circuits.  I linked to their Twitter accounts above, but you can also find them answering questions on Quora and other expert forums.

I can’t name one single person @ any of the other companies.  And it’s not for a lack of trying to follow them.  And I bet most people couldn’t either.  But if you ask urbanites or early adopters, a good bit might know these 2 gentlemen I’m talking about.

In today’s world, you need more then just a good product.  You need a good product and a strong leadership interaction w/in social communities.  And foursquare has all of the above!

QR Codes – The True Bridge to Mobile Success

For a lot of us in the marketing world, we’re happy to see QR Codes start to take off in the mainstream. Businesses are starting to use them pop-up in a variety of places, including on beer bottles, in Pottery Barn’s catalog, @ Best Buy stores, etc.

To start – a brief explanation of what QR Codes. I won’t repeat what others have said best – here’s a link to find out more for yourself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_Code. In short -QR Codes are way to connect something in the physical or digital world to the mobile world.

I own a smartphone. And I’ve seen the power of the what QR can do for consumers. On-the-spot comparison price shopping keeps vendors honest and encourage price competition so that consumers ultimately benefit.

But – I’m here to let you in on a an enormous secret. QR Codes have almost ENDLESS possibilities for almost ANY type of business. Why?

Two Words – Speed & Efficiency. Typing takes time & effort. Snapping/scanning a bar code is fast & effortless.

Now … on to a few examples of usage:

1) Mobile Interaction – Sure people can type in a company’s website if they see something on a newspaper ad, in a magazine, on a product, etc. But – that takes time and is cumbersome. QR Codes allow for an instant bridge in communication from the digital or physical world right into the mobile world. That instant bridge provides instant gratification in a time where people are expecting instant as a way of life.

2) Customer Acquisition – A lot of businesses, retailers, marketers, stores, etc. want business to “Sign up for their newsletter, Like our Facebook Page, Follow us on Twitter.” And I encourage everyone to do that. But – the usual solution is for someone to try to remember that website or channel promoted. Later on, they may or may not remember. Is that a risk you want to take? Instead, why not setup your collateral, website, retail items, social media promotions and everything else up w/ a QR Code. Immediate interests are rewarded with immediate results.

3) Product Promotion – Imagine you’re a Real Estate agency and you want to figure out ways to interact w/ your customers better. Flyers are placed @ houses, ads are placed in papers, and those houses are shown to the public. But – what if that person could actually interact w/ each house or the agency as whole? A QR Code could be placed on every sign. When scanned, the shopper could be brought right to that house’s website. Or maybe a QR Code is placed next to each house in the paper. When scanned, The shopper is brought to a video of that place on the agency’s website where the house is listed.

These are just a few examples of the beginning use of QR Codes for businesses or marketers. But as I mentioned earlier – the uses or applications are truly endless!

If you’re looking for some ideas on how to use QR Codes creatively & effectively, please drop me a note. I’d also love to hear other people’s success stories too!

Jumping into the Pool

As a digital media professional since 1999, I’m sad to say this is my very first blog posting. Ever. It’s a good thing people can’t throw stones as punishment – and believe me – I’m as disappointed in myself as you.

Nina Simone said it best … “It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life for me. And I’m feelin’ good!”

2011 marks the year I jump into the blogging pool. I look forward to sharing (and receiving) insight into a variety of life’s topics, including:

Marketing
Business
Social Media
Email
Digital Media
Technology
Mobile

I consider myself to be more a renaissance man then a vertical kind of guy. Expect the unexpected. @ least that’s my goal.

Here’s to a happy, healthy & prosperous new year. And many more posts!!

Cheers. – Scott