Monday, November 14, 2011

QR Code Blunders #1: Beck's Vier Ireland

I've been meaning to start this series of blogs for ages, and tonight I realized that I had too big a blunder to miss. This is a QR Code blunder that is just too big to pass up. I'm currently in Dublin, Ireland, a land where competition for beer consumers could be considered to be large. Very large. So seeing a QR Code on the beer mat pictured here, I had to go with it.

The QR Code on the beer mat could be considered to be a smart marketing ploy (it is one I have suggested in the past and actually have a small, regional client in the UK doing). Imagine this following scenario. Think of grown men, in pubs in Dublin during the day, a bit bored while their friends go off to get another pint from the bar. Ooh, shiny object (QR Code), let's see what it does.

Well, in the case of the Becks example, not a helluva lot. Or if you have an older iPhone, even in great lighting (not renowned in pubs, anywhere), nothing at all. Beyond the fact that the QR Code is too small to scan and doesn't use a shortened URL, so it is more pixelated than it needs to be, there are a bunch of other failures:

  1. the URL points straight to the Facebook page they want you to visit - there is no real way to track this action and see how many people scanned that QR Code, so who knows whether the beer mat QR Code campaign is working? Just the webmaster at Facebook and I don't think he's going to tell you that for free
  2. the URL points straight to the Facebook page they want you to visit - "so you want me to login to the really slow mobile facebook page that my QR Code scanner sends me to so I can see the page? Oh look, here comes my pint. This thing is a joke."
  3. the URL points straight to the Facebook page they want you to visit - I forgot, this is Dublin, and the Guinness has to settle on the bar twice as long. I had time to login to Facebook. First thing I see is some irrelevant post about architects having more creativity than artists. Or something unrelated to beer (despite the really small tag line I missed at the bottom of the beer mat about turning beer into art). "Childish male drinking humour almost kicked into my brain sitting waiting for my pint - art, rhymes with...? Ooh, pretty girl just walked past. Where am I?". No click on the Like link should be expected.
So my pint turns up, and Beck's still only has 2184 Facebook friends, and everybody thinks that QR Codes are a stupid idea. Not really,  you just have to do them right and target your audience better.

Cheers to them for giving me a great example to kick off this series of QR Code blunders. And feel free to visit the Facebook page for the unreadable QR Code at (I had to take a photo with a good quality digital camera, then photo shop the image to get it to scan.) 

I hope that Bulmers, the owners of the distribution rights to Beck's Vier, and eightytwenty/4D who announced with such pride that they are handling the digital activity for the Bulmers brands realize the error(s) of their ways. And its easy for me to criticize here and now without offering solutions to the problem, but let me suggest that QR Codes work if you actually try scanning them with a real phone, life-sized, before going to print. And you don't rely on Facebook for your MAS (minimum attention span) marketing to mildly intoxicated blokes.

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Go Mobile, Global

Google is finally shouting about mobile websites. They have released GoMo and are putting on a mobile event in Alabama to start pushing businesses to convert their regular websites to a smartphone-friendly format. At Consected, we feel we need to crash the party, although we're not going to Alabama. We're not even going on the road. Read on to find out about our global party-crashing plans...

Google probably feels it can focus on mobile websites having reached a milestone with the Android platform, overtaking Apple and the iPhone as the operating system the majority of smartphones are running. They have 200,000 apps on the Android marketplace, although a large proportion of these are meaningless copies of poorly performing websites, with little or no advantage to Google in promoting their advertising. So Google has (rightly in my opinion) decided that real, mobile-friendly websites need a little helping hand. and GoMo is the way they are shouting about it - along with some expensive sponsored listings from vendors who they claim can get businesses going fast. But before you go, let's revisit why you want a mobile website and not just an app.

A mobile website helps every potential customer who wants to use a service, not just the limited number who have a phone that works with the app. Apps are great for software developers who have a contract from big corporates to build them, first on iPhone, then on Android, then maybe a Blackberry version. Apps are great for consumers playing games and using real productivity applications (think of Excel on your phone). They are completely unnecessary for the majority of mobile marketing requirements (I don't need an app to search for special offers from my favorite retailer, TalFart). And, as people are starting to find out, many apps don't work well on tablets like the iPad or Galaxy Tab, well unless you like a pokey little mobile phone sized app in the middle of your large screen, or want to pay the developer even more money.
Holsworthy Ales mobile site
A very recent new client

Having a mobile website is essential if you have a business with customers on the go. So feel free to try out some of the services that are being touted through the Google website. Please accept a little advice though -- spend some time really looking at the result. A nice menu, all the text from your website pasted blindly on the page, much of it irrelevant to a customer trying to find you on her smartphone. Everything else stacked at the bottom, as the robot creating your site didn't know what to do with it. And really very little control over the end result (pink or blue is about the choice). This is why Consected wants to crash the mobile party. A mobile website is not just a vertical version of your current website. It needs some TLC and a real person.

Here is where we crash the Google GoMo party. We will create a custom mobile website, by hand (think of an artisan mobile website) for any customer who prepays for a 12 month mobile website hosting service with us. You'll get:

  • a real, working, zero effort mobile website
  • a home page following the style of your current website
  • a contact page with "tap to call", "tap to map", "tap to SMS", and links to your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn pages
  • up to three pages describing your services or products (we'll even edit the text to make it useful and concise)
  • your logo in the header
  • ad-free and our logo does not appear anywhere on the page
  • QR codes for every page
  • your own domain name linked to the site
  • free access for you to login and change any part of the website you desire 
You don't have to be in Alabama to claim it. You don't even have to be in the US. The time for us to build the website by hand exceeds the value of the hosting service, making the mobile site effectively free. Free is a pretty good deal for a mobile website that looks professional, useful and something you can use to promote your business.

To join us in crashing the Google GoMo party, and claim your own mobile website, built by hand, just fill in this quick form:

A post from the Improving It blog
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