Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Smartpnone with QR Code on ScreenDoes the word oxymoron resonate with you? An oxymoron, for those of you not familiar with the term, refers to a concept that doesn’t really make sense.

Military intelligence is one of the favorites. So is jumbo shrimp. How about clean dirt? Or how about open secret, original copy, paid volunteer or vegetarian meatballs?

Two words that just don’t make sense when placed together.  The illustration with this post showing a QR code on the screen is another interesting example that could be put into that category. Why would you send a QR code to a mobile device when the camera that could capture and process the QR code is on the back of the device? Because you can? Why would you include a QR code on your website then the person viewing it is already there?

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

I had the opportunity to hear Scott Stratten, president of Un-marketing, talk about these kinds of things on a webinar earlier today. Or maybe it was a rant. Or some combination of both. In any case it was very informative and entertaining and I encourage you to check him out at http://unmarketing.com on the web or at @unmarketing on Twitter. Because there’s more.

There were a lot of examples presented during the hour long presentation, many reminiscent of my blog post about businesses with “Please Use Other Door” signs on them. Scott didn’t mention them, but he did mention billboards containing QR codes that advised people not to text while driving. But trying to photograph QR codes while driving is OK? “Stop it!,” says Scott. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

How about putting together what ended up being an “award winning” advertising campaign using QR codes in subway stations where there were no signals for the smartphones to connect? What fools dreamed up and implemented such a campaign? And what batch of greater fools actually gave the company an award for a campaign that didn’t work?

Now I’m not ranting against QR codes in this post. They certainly have their place and can be valuable adjuncts to your messaging if used properly. What I’m trying to illustrate is that just because we have the technology to do these kinds of marketing “tactics of the day” doesn’t mean that we should do them. Especially if they don’t work!

Give some real thought to what you are trying to accomplish with your marketing tactics.  Make sure that they fit with your overall marketing strategy. Double check them for soundness and examine them for functionality.  Because you can spend inordinate amounts of time and money doing things that make absolutely no sense from an overall marketing standpoint and can even damage your brand or image.

Guess what happens when people try to use a QR code and it doesn’t work. They are much less likely to try it again. Guess what happens if they have a bad experience with your web site, your store entrance or your employees. They are much less likely to patronize your business again. So you are sabotaging yourself.

Think about it. Get third-party reviews from focus groups, advisory boards, consumer panels or marketing consultants before you implement a marketing tactic. And please don’t execute one just because you can, especially if you shouldn’t.

Your comment on my opinions are, as always, welcome. I’d love to hear from you and will share your comments with your permission.

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