Monthly Archives: November 2011

Context is King (Commiseration to Content)

In a socially enabled, internet powered world, consumers demand respect

Context is king

The sheer volume of information available on the internet is overwhelming. Everywhere I look, there it is. Even when I’m not looking, it’s there, waiting to be found.

Analyse the data thrown at you every single hour, every waking day:

  • Hundreds of emails, not to mention the junk mails
  • Information available through web sites, blogs, forums
  • Requests to join your social network from friends and strangers
  • Hundreds of Tweets
  • Searches on Google

By the end of the day, I don’t want to know what I don’t need to know.

This is where contextual marketing comes in.

According to a recent survey by Deloitte, 82% of people who use the web to research products, say reviews posted by others have influenced them to buy a different product than the one they had originally been thinking about purchasing. In my case, a friend’s recommendation has more value than a paid for advertisement extolling product virtues.

Here’s the bottom line. Your information isn’t only on your website, it’s across the web. Some of it you own, some of it you pay for and some of it is offered through your customers’ satisfaction with your services.

Organisations need to provide contextually-relevant content to their customers and prospects alike, when and where they need it – on the device of their choosing, at the time of their convenience, personalized and well delivered. In a nutshell, customers will dictate the terms of engagement. Contextual ads that provide consumers with utility, entertainment and value are more likely to succeed.

In a socially enabled, search-powered world, consumers demand respect. Do not expect customers to navigate through your counter-intuitive ‘knowledge portal’ built by people who cannot identify a positive customer experience. Do not expect people in a hurry to contact support, via chat, or email and certainly not via telephone.

Be smart enough to anticipate customer’s information needs and provide relevant, useful information when and where needed. You need to give people the information they need to learn about you and your products and as a result, a reason to come back to your website and buy from you.

You got to do it right – the first time, every time. Those of us paying the closest attention to consumers – using tech and data to anticipate their wants and needs – are going to figure it out first.

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Grow Your Business with QR Codes

QR Codes are a fantastic new way to connect with your customers

A QR code, abbreviated from Quick Response code is a type of matrix barcode. QR Codes were first created in 1994 by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave to track vehicles during the manufacturing process. More recently, the concept has become extremely popular due to its fast readability and comparatively large storage capacity. 

The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. (as shown above). The information encoded can be made up of any kind of data (e.g., binary, alphanumeric, or Kanji symbols).

While traditional bar codes are linear one dimensional codes and can only hold up to 20 numerical digits, QR codes are two-dimensional 2D matrix barcodes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information. Their ability to hold more information and their ease of use makes them practical for small businesses. An astonishing 7,089 characters can be encoded in one QR code! 

When you scan or read a QR code with your iPhone, Android or other camera enabled Smartphone, you can link to digital content on the web; activate a number of phone functions including email, IM and SMS and connect the mobile device to a web browser. What could be better than sending people from traditional, static media to digitally engaging content in one click?

QR Codes recently have become a hot subject for marketing agencies and social media practitioners looking to stand out from everyone else to do something creative, cool and novel campaigns.

The applications of using QR codes in business are limited only by creativity.

The recent Calvin Klein ‘Get It Uncensored’ campaign makes for a good case study. Calvin Klein replaced what some would call a ‘racy’ photo with a giant QR Code. If you scanned the Calvin Klein QR Code it would take you to a Calvin Klein ‘racy’ movie.

Starbucks has launched a QR code program designed to let consumers learn more about its coffee. This is bringing to the Starbucks consumer the ability to interact with the brand.

Inside the Macy’s “Star” a QR Code is embeded and it links to a YouTube video with exclusive content from many of famous and popular stars. You can scan the code and get tips from P Diddy, Jessica Simpson, Martha Stewart and even Tommy Hilfiger.

Some other common applications of QR Codes are: 

  • On business cards
  • Brochures and other marketing materials
  • Print Ads
  • The sides of trucks and trailers
  • Product tags and packaging
  • Convention and event name tags
  • Restaurant menus
  • Event ticket stubs
  • Boarding passes in airlines
  • Point-of-sale receipts
  • Leverage YouTube videos

The potential for QR Codes is limitless. What’s most exciting is how they take what social media is doing now, bringing people together with technology, and extending it to enhance the experience.

The next generation of barcodes will hold even more information – so much that an Internet connection may not even be necessary!

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QR Codes Glossary

QR Code Generators – There are a number of sites for generating QR codes and they’re all free. An Internet search for QR code generator will offer many choices. eg. – You can use it to create QR codes that link to a web page, text, phone numbers, or SMS.

QR Code Readers – The QR code reader app that works well on an iPhone is, which claims to be the most widely used reader in the world.