Bar code marketing for small business

There is nothing more exciting than the feeling of possibility. I seem to be feeling that a lot lately, and when I started to analyze why, I realized that it is because I find myself always cheering for the underdog. Even when I moved to the consulting side I was very conscious of wanting to work for the little guy. All small businesses should have the possibilities that exist for mega corporations.

Platforms like FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, have all given the sideline player a chance to really get in the game. If that is not exciting in and of itself, the newest game changer comes in the form of 2D Barcodes (QR Codes). While QR Codes have been in play for sometime, Vancouver based company Mobio Identity takes it up a notch, by allowing consumers and merchants to purchase/sell using your iphone. They are set to expand to include Blackberry and Google Android clients in the fall. Each payment transaction contains unique “one-time” data that verifies the user but does not expose actual identity information to fraudsters.

If you are like some of my clients, who glazed over, right after I said Twitter. Let me give you a couple examples of how QR Codes and 2D Codes can be integrated into your marketing strategies and plans.

I have used a basic QR Code to generate the code pictured above. If have an (FREE) app like Mobio Identity on your phone, you simply open the app, select scan and hold the camera as if you were taking a photo of the code. It will ask you want to open the following URL in your browser. It will immediately bring you to the home page of my website so you can obtain further information. This is a basic way of how you can use QR codes in your advertising to drive web-traffic and provide information that maybe too lengthy or complicated to communicate in a traditional advertisement.

For the example of the 2D Barcode to facilitate a transaction, let’s say that you are a small business that sells a unique baby product. For this purpose we’ll use the example of a baby bottle. You have created a niche for your product and find that most of your sales come from word of mouth referrals. The problem is how to turn every interaction a prospect has with your product into a potential sale. Well, what if on your bottle, on the bottom you add the Mobio Barcode. Now, at the next playdate, when all the moms and dads are raving about your cool bottle, you simply flip over the bottle and show them the code. They hold their phone up, scan the code, and are instantly taken to the website to purchase one.

For non-profits the possibilities truly are endless. I had enough knowledge of the product going into my meeting with Mobio Identity today that I invited along someone I knew from a non-profit. This individual had a hard time containing their poker-face when discussions surrounding how easy facilitating donations can be with this technology. Typical example would be when sending out any communication, newsletter, and business card etc, your barcode is on the back. A donor just has to scan with their phone and can instantly make a donation. There is no downtime between evoking that emotion into an action.

Regardless of your business platform, one thing is certain; the analytics that will be present from this type of technology are endless. A company is not limited by the number of barcodes it has, which translates into accurate tracking of individual campaigns and strategies. Since your data can be pushed to you daily, the opportunity to adjust in real time is another key feature of the barcode.

One of the largest opportunities, I believe, lies in loyalty programs. Platforms likeFoursquare with over 600,000 users, needs a way to create the connection between the business and the user. There is an interesting article by Jack Aaronson that discusses just that and the foursquare business model.

It will be exciting to watch this company grow and see just where this technology can take us. Perhaps it will give an opportunity for your small business or non-profit to have your “Rudy” underdog momen

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