The other day, an article ran on MarketingVox titled, “The Final Word (Maybe) On Whether QR and NFC Really Work for Consumers.”
The article opens with this paragraph: “There has been plenty of doubt cast on whether consumers are as enamored with QR Codes and Near Field Communication technologies as marketers are. Now, an experiment underway in Reading, England may deliver the final word.”
Question to our players at home, in the world of marketing, since when is one research study enough to be or set the “final” word?
The article continues:
“Outdoor media owner JCDecaux and planning and buying firm Kinetic have partnered to install 325 poster sites in the area, which is near Heathrow Airport to the west of London, according to Screen Media magazine.
The point of the four-week test is not to see if the technologies work—by now we know they do—but if they really engage consumers.
During the trial, 12 brands–Test the Near Future, are EA Games, H&M, ITV2, Lucozade Sport, Lynx, Magnum, Mercedes, Morrisons, Toni&Guy, Universal DVD, Universal Special Projects, and Vaseline–will take turns to providing content for consumers to download using NFC contactless technology, or via a QR app if their handset does not support NFC.
Clearly, the participating brands are hopeful the test will yield positive results. Richard Brooke, Unilever UK’s communications and buying manager, told New Media Age that ‘This trial is a test-bed to understand the way in which we can use smartphones to open up new ways of enabling brand interaction. If the trial proves that consumers enjoy this interaction, it could shape the future of marketing.'”
It’s great that firms wish to better understand consumer perception and reaction to mobile barcode and NFC technology, but I wonder how much attention will be given to the scan resolve content, calls-to-action, incentives, offers, promotions, etc. to be found in these test campaigns. Will the scan resolve be relevant, meaningful, of value and benefit to the consumer? How will this be judged and factored into the study? Will the researchers conduct qualitative-based interviews with the consumers in the area to learn why they did or did not choose to scan, or just work off of scan rates? Also, will demographics and phone ownership information be tracked and studied, as well as previous scanning experience?
While the study will be conducted over a number of weeks and across dozens of poster sites, is this study somewhat flawed/one-sided in that maybe consumers would rather scan a code in the comfort of their home or office when reading a magazine or a product package, etc., and not out in public?
Lastly, it will be interesting to see if this research supports the scan trend reports we have seen from the various code providers and research firms, all of which show a continued increase in scanning.