Archive for the 'QR codes' Category


Twitter #Hacked, now QR codes…

Do bad things truly happen in 3’s?  It IS October.  My Twitter account was hacked and I since learned that my fascinating friend the QR code is the next victim.  Maybe it was the foreboding question someone at Mass Innovation Nights #MIN31 (note the number) asked me about the QRCTT project I’ve been shepherding.  “I just got this new smartphone, I want to try this QR scan and Tweet for one of the Innovators.  Are these things safe?….”  Fortunately the wiseguy in me replied “well in tech most anything is possible, so I can’t vouch for that…”.  I’d like to point you to John Paul Titlow’s recent post on ReadWriteWeb.

Mobile Marketer does a good job embedding a Final Take video in articles.  Here’s Chantal Tode’s Final Take on yesterday’s article “Malicious QR code campaigns threaten legitimate marketers”:

I’ll share more as Dag, Bobbie, Jim, Nirmal and I circle back on the QR codes and analytics from the next Mass Innovation Night #MIN32 on November 9th at the Mass Challenge incubator in Boston’s Innovation District.

And the third bad thing happened, not horrible, but it’s over.


QR Codes for events

Mass Innovation Nights is a monthly Launch gathering where ten new products display to a couple hundred people at various locations around Boston.  The locations rotate including the IBM Innovation Center in Waltham, Microsoft New England Research and Development (NERD) Center in Cambridge and last month at SCVNGR‘s headquarters during Boston’s FutureM.

These Launch gatherings are the culmination of a common ballot on which companies, friends, family, fans and customers vote over four weeks for the participating Launch Innovators to win one of four 5 minute presentation slots to the crowd.  There’s a lot of collective social media in the form of Tweets, blogs, emails, newsletters, video and posts in the voting process leading up to the event and a big blast of it on-site.

In early 2011 I cobbled together two products to create a unique QR code for each participating Innovator to have at their display.  The scanned QR code launched unique pre-loaded Tweet with a shout out for that Innovator.  We named it a QR Click To Tweet, QRCTT.  When you do this at your event remind your guests to sign into Twitter on their smartphones before they QRCTT. 

After a couple of beta tests at Launch gatherings I enlisted the help of Nirmal Parikh of Digital Wavefront, Dag Holmboe of Klurig Analytics, Jim Henderson of VizConnect and Bobbie Carlton of Mass Innovation Nights.  In one short conference call we figured a simple refinement of my cobbled project to generate QR codes to produce better analytics.  Few of us knew that was possible.  Props to Nirmal!

Click here to view slides.

The use of QR codes will allow us to analyze the Tweets, measure collective social media and give us a baseline to figure out how else we can optimize social media exposure for all the participating Innovators who launch products at Mass Innovation Nights.

Here are the steps to create your own QRCTT, a one click Tweet through a QR code scan that allows for analytics.


QR code – ClickToTweet cobbling project for @massinno

A few months ago I cobbled together a QR code generator with “ClickToTweet” to create an experiment (QRCTT) that allows attendees at Mass Innovation Nights to use QR code scans on their smartphones  to send an instant shout-out Tweet for participating companies at the monthly gatherings.  This slide show explains the cobbling.

#MIN24 @timstansky

Click to view.

There’s a lot of novelty in getting hundreds of attendees to try it out and give a Tweet mention to a worthy innovator.  It also builds social media buzz.  At our August Mass Innovation Night Launch Party we were able to add analytics to our QRCTT project.  Many thanks to Nirmal Parikh of Digital Wavefront for responding to my request for help on the MITX Group on LinkedIn.

So now I’m looking for suggestions from the community to figure out what else we could do to refine our experiment with QRCTT to optimize our social media and Tweets for participating companies each month.

> Should we incorporate the Mass Innovation Nights logo into our codes?

> Should we use multiple code/tag formats?  Microsoft NERD in Cambridge, MA graciously hosts our event on occasion – thanks!

> What’s the most amazing thing we could do with this?

Our objective is lots of social media for the participating companies each month.  Oh, yeah, and true to our free event, stone-soup approach, no budget for development or even printing handouts until I secure an underwriter for this QRCTT segment of our events.  Anyone interested?  @timstansky

If you’re not familiar with Mass Innovation Nights click here.

The next Mass Innovation Nights Lauch Party #MIN30 will be September 14th at SCVNGR’s Cambridge, MA offices.  It’s a FREE event and you should register here.

Please add your comments, Tweet, Google+, Like and share.  Thanks.


Location-Based Marketing observation by Cyndi Lauper

Confusion is nothing new.  My previous post generated a lot of traffic and offline conversations about my confusion with the location-based service  LevelUp and the use of social media in driving people to places of business to redeem offers, use services and demonstrate a return on investment to a business owner.

I since successfully used LevelUp at Cafe Luna in Cambridge, MA.  It was really easy to use – and get a $3 credit.  I asked our server Kamilla if she could help me use LevelUp and she explained the simple process.  Since I had already signed up she’d simply bring the LevelUp smartphone to the table with the bill, scan the unique LevelUp QR code on my phone, and done!  That easy.  Nothing awkward or geeky.  It was as simple as getting your ticket scanned for entry at Fenway Park.  And her recommendation for the black bean breakfast burrito was spot-on.  Word is that LevelUp is gaining traction.

People active in social media are generally smart and adopters of new technologies, but they are still human with only so much bandwidth to understand what to do.  So it’s important to tell them what to do with that offer.  Where?  How?  For What?  In my days of creating marketing solutions using radio stations we educated clients that the listener needs to hear a message at least three times to sink in and act.  Radio is a frequency medium – or at least it was… (Pandora, anyone?)

Here’s a good example of Tweets from Edible Arrangement franchisees that participated in the Mass Innovation Nights Foodie event and how they’re luring attendees back to area locations.@DoFruitNE you’re confused or interested in LBS, I suggest you purchase Location Based Marketing for DUMMIES by Aaron Strout and Mike Schneider.

Now that you’ve got that Cyndi Lauper earworm… 


LevelUp and dumbing down to my level

With so much recent coverage and opinion that the bloom is off the rose of group buying and couponing I read Mike Schneider’s blog yesterday morning about LevelUp’s value proposition with interest.  I happened to be near Beacon Hill yesterday with a friend just before noon and  I knew that shopping the Haymarket on an empty stomach is not a good idea.  We stopped into The Federal where I couldn’t decide between a breakfast sandwich or lunch at 11:50am and kept looking at the two menu boards above the counter.  After placing the order I noticed the LevelUp materials and the phone on the counter.  I tried to scan the QR code on the postcard at the counter and I think it tried to call a phone number in Connecticut.  I clearly started it all wrong because I thought the big QR code would bring me somewhere to proceed.  It didn’t.  So I checked in on Foursquare and Tweeted that I couldn’t get it to launch mentioning Mike Schneider @schneidermike.  Mike responded and I also soon received a message offering help from Christian Sann @csann, The Assistant Miranda Priestly and Business Development Lead for SCVNGR’s Local Business/LevelUp Program.

Today I gave LevelUp another chance.  I downloaded the app, entered my banking information and searched for somewhere to try near my place in Harvard Square.  Boston Burger Co offered me a $4 Credit and the “Spend $100, Get $10”.  Okay, but I don’t know that place so I opened Yelp, checked reviews and made a mental note to remember that place next time I’m in Davis Square, Somerville.  I can see using LevelUp’s offers in tandem with Yelp’s reviews.  The $2 Credit offer from Falafel Corner in Harvard Square was the choice.

We went there for lunch today just around noon.  The LevelUp materials were displayed on the counter right next to larger RelayRides collateral pieces sporting similar colors, think Howard Johnson’s blue.

The lone guy behind the counter was doing his best to sling shawarma for a line that kept growing.  I had my LevelUp QR code teed up on my droid, ready for the moment of truth at the cash register and the guy looked at it, looked at me and said he’s not familiar with it.  I tried to wave my phone in front of the LevelUp phone hoping maybe a genie might appear and show us both how to make a fast and proper transaction.  He explained that it was just installed yesterday.  At least my Bank of America card worked, you know the one that doesn’t charge you $12 a month if you swear off human tellers.

There are always learning curves to apps and logistical nightmares with someone like me who thinks the QR code on the postcard will take me somewhere rather than just read the text on the card and follow directions.  I feel for the app developer, the retailer and the poor salesperson who has to convince the retailer that they won’t lose their shirts and that coupon vultures will return with the incentive of continued rewards and consistently good food.  At least I found a great new place on Beacon Hill.  I’ll try LevelUp again at some point.

What do you think?  How could LevelUp dumb-down for someone like me?  Have you ever felt awkward or silly trying to redeem an offer with your smartphone?  What are your experiences? Please share your comments. also want to give a shout out to Mike Scheider and Aaron Strout on the upcoming release of their book “Location Based Marketing for Dummies“.


Getting There

Or, maybe I should have named this post Staying Ahead.  I’ve created this blog to share my passion for marketing that meshes traditional media with new media and technologies.  This is my place to give props to those who create good work.  Sure, I’m currently giddy about the possibilities in mobile marketing, QR codes and the like.  But I’m equally impressed by simple execution that makes it easy for people to find things they want, need or ask help for.  (Yes, I know I just ended a sentence with a preposition and someone with the gift of proofreading is hearing their inner tick and is grasping for a red marker.)

www.kendallsquare.orgEarlier this year I commented on a post on a LinkedIn Mobile Marketing and Advertising Group discussion  about QR codes used in transit ads on the Red Line, the subway that runs from Boston to Cambridge with stops at MIT and Harvard.  I noticed recently that the Farmers’ Market settled for using good old fashioned directional ads on transit posters in the Kendall Square Red Line station to direct hungry Cantabrigians to where they can buy fresh bounty.  No need for a signal, a charged battery, or GPS positioning.  The simplicity among the technology, ink on paper in front of thousands of riders struck me as very good execution.

What brilliant uses of marketing have you seen lately?  High tech, low tech, events, engagement of people that really struck a chord?  I’d really like your comments.

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