Today’s blog was written by guest columnist Dave Sribnik, senior manager, Trends and Technology, for MarkeTeam Inc. Take it away, Dave....
One of 2010’s breakout technologies is primed to revolutionize the hospitality industry’s promotion and marketing landscape. Smartphone-ready barcoding is taking the marketing world by storm, and Microsoft Tag is leading the way with its unique combination of customization and accuracy.
At MarkeTeam, my responsibility is to stay current on emerging and leading-edge marketing trends and technologies, so we can help keep our clients differentiated in the eyes of their guests. MarkeTeam is an award-winning sales promotion agency serving the on-and-off premise, leisure, and food and beverage industries. We conceptualize, design, produce, and execute marketing campaigns for the restaurant, hotel, casino, cruise line, and resort segments of the hospitality industry.
So what is a mobile-ready, 2D barcode? Simply put, it’s a new type of barcode that, when scanned by your mobile device using a specific application, can load any conceivable content onto your mobile device. In marketing terms, it’s a cost effective way to add interactivity into a program to educate the consumer, drive consumer behavior, and track that subsequent behavior.
Unlike its predecessor, the QR code, Microsoft Tag can be printed smaller and can be designed to be much more customizable, allowing for the Tag to be incorporated into your artwork in a more seamless manner. Tags can be printed on just about anything, from traditional marketing items, such as menus, posters, and table tents, to more arresting ideas like coasters, to-go cups, and napkins.
From the comfort of their seat, your guest can be directed to an unlimited number of destinations or actions. Send them straight to your website, have them download your establishment’s contact information, enable them to enter a contest, or have them watch a video.
Since return-on-investment is such an important measurement in the marketing realm, the back-end tracking and reporting you can access through Microsoft Tag Manager is invaluable in gauging the success of your campaign. You can even run concurrent campaigns, and via the reporting capabilities, see which messages are working better, and tweak the campaigns that are underperforming.
Another invaluable feature of Microsoft Tag is that the same Tag can direct the user to an unlimited number of destinations. What this means is that you can print a large quantity of collateral with the Tag on it (to achieve quantity discounts), and change the link any time you want. This feature also extends the useful life of the collateral, as you won’t need to replace it every time you want the link to change.
Some of the more novel ideas I have seen Microsoft Tag used for within the industry include already-existing creative campaigns where the Tag has been added to help generate a specific outcome. For example:
- Identifying rotating specials for driving traffic into the establishment. Include a Tag on some form of consumer takeaway (a flyer, business card, or giveaway), as well as on your website and/or social media presence. Your customers can scan the Tag to see what this night’s/week’s/month’s special is going to be, and hopefully drop by to partake.
- Increasing the participation in a contest or giveaway. If you have signage or other marketing collateral in your establishment introducing some form of contest or giveaway you are currently running, where the guest would have to go to a website to sign up, try adding a Tag onto that notification. People can quickly and easily scan the Tag in-house and go directly to the site where they can participate. Enabling a call-to-action to be instantaneous will undoubtedly improve your participation rates.
- Educating the consumer to improve upsells. Design a video or automated PowerPoint presentation about your products, and create a Tag that will automatically run the video. If the Tag is placed by the item in your menu or table tent, your guests can learn more about the product in an interactive manner prior to their purchase decision. If your specials change, it’s no problem, because you need only to update the content on the Tag website.
- Driving interactivity and community to improve your guest’s experience. Offer your guest something to do while they wait for their food or beverage, and reward them for their patronage at the same time. Give them access and the ability to obtain recipes for your signature items by linking them to Tags placed on your napkins or coasters. While in your venue, your guests can scan the collateral, and the recipes (along with your brand) are good to go – right back into their homes.
The options for implementation of Tag, and the creativity in which it is used, are only limited by your own ingenuity. Because the barrier to entry is nonexistent, there is no reason not to experiment with this technology as you see fit. The combination of the 2D barcode’s maturation, and the intrigue of your guests as they come across your new marketing material, will converge to bring you a rise in usage among your target market. With creative campaigns incorporating Microsoft Tag, you’ll be reaping the benefits of an engaged and interactive customer base in no time.