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Mobile Technologies : Adding More Value to Print

March 2012 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
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Suffice to say, the use of mobile technologies such as 2D barcodes, tags and Augmented Reality (AR) by consumers is, at the moment, relatively limited. Marketers, advertisers and publishers realize this, and they are also aware that, in the not too distant future, it won’t be the case. As with any technology, the early adopters invariably gain the upper hand.

Statistics (and they are extremely fluid) peg the number of cell phone plans at around 250 million and, according to Nielsen, 43 percent of all mobile subscribers use smart phones. The latter figure has grown considerably even during the last two years, and there is no evidence that smart phones have peaked in popularity.

One corporation that is betting on a continued upward swing is Cox Target Media, parent of Valpak Direct Marketing System. Valpak is renown as a direct marketer of local and national advertisements, and households around the country are quite familiar with the “Blue Envelope” chock filled with coupon specials.

During 2011, Valpak entered the world of mobile technologies with the use of QR codes and Augmented Reality to boost its already-popular printed advertisements and coupons. Since July, Valpak and its advertiser clients embarked on six national campaigns, highlighted with the use of QR codes. Among the promotions:

• In July, the Blue Envelope contained a “Rizzoli & Isles” campaign from cable network TNT. Recipients could scan the code and win a shopping spree and a trip to New York City to get a glimpse of the TV show in action.

• Also last summer, HGTV “Design Star” asked recipients to scan a code for the chance to win $5,000 for a makeover and meet the 2011 Design Star from the popular cable show.

• A Martha Stewart/Emeril Lagasse promotion was sent out last fall, where the winner could meet Martha, take home Emeril’s Kitchen Essentials and get an up-close look at “The Martha Stewart Show.”

“In general, the campaigns have met our expectations,” notes Michael Vivio, president of Cox Target Media. “Our ad partners have been very happy with it. They recognize that any gain, though it may be small due to the relative newness, is good because it brings an engaged customer who is interacting with their brand.”

Cox Is Crazy for QR Codes

Cox mailed out a staggering 225 million QR codes on envelopes and inserts. Vivio was not at liberty to reveal response rates, but did admit the percentage was relatively low. However, he feels these maiden voyage campaigns are laying the foundation for future initiatives.


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