Last week, I received a Tweet from Microsoft Tag, which asked me to review a recent Tag campaign. Here’s my review.
First, let me briefly describe the campaign. The May issue of Health magazine featured 17 Tags, some of which were editorial and others were advertising. Unfortunately, by the time I went to the newsstand to view the May issue, it was already replaced by the June issue. But all is not lost, because what I ended up seeing, or not seeing, in the June issue, I believe, is more important to discuss here than the review of a Tag-based print ad or two.
When I read through the June issue, there was not one Microsoft Tag to be found. Well, that’s not true, there was one. On one of the editorial pages of the June issue, a Tag was displayed with a block of copy which read, “We Messed Up! One of the mobile tags in our May issue didn’t work. We’re so sorry for the inconvenience. Scan here to see the how-to video with our experts’ tips for great skin.” Great damage control in theory, but when I went to scan this Tag, the video buffered and buffered and buffered, and I never made it past the first 5-10 seconds. So, was the problem really fixed? With all that aside, the real question to ask and greater topic to discuss is, where did all of the Tags go from one issue to the next?
Was the May issue just a test/experiment and, if so, what kind of test/experiment could it be? How much serious and/or meaningful research and analysis does the magazine’s marketing team expect to find and conduct based on a test/experiment with the frequency of one? While I am not a market research expert, something tells me that one does not make for a statistically sound sample.
Having followed the 2D barcode space for over a year now, I can probably count on one hand the number of advertisers that have regularly used codes as part of their integrated marketing and, by regular, I mean wherever and whenever an ad is placed a 2D code is included. Why should this be? What do companies really think they are gaining or accomplishing by using a code once and then never again? What purpose can this possibly serve? More importantly, how does this type of usage define and/or fit into an overall integrated marketing strategy? In my mind, it doesn’t and can’t.
A couple of months ago, I noticed two major QR Code-based print and in-store campaigns, one by Macy’s the other by Bloomingdale’s, but where are their codes today? I see one Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s print ad after another in newspapers and magazines, but no QR Code can be found. Same when I recently visited both stores.
Yes, I understand what it means to test and experiment with a new marketing tactic or technology, etc. but, how do advertisers expect to build long-term consumer adoption if, in the short term, codes are only used and/or displayed on a sporadic or worse a one-time basis? With most any other form of marketing, don’t we as marketers test, refine, test, refine, test, refine, until the tactic or strategy delivers the desired results? Why not do the same with 2D technology?