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Marketing goes mobile using 2D codes

Looking for new ways to add excitement to your marketing campaigns?

Adding mobile marketing to the mix is a smart way to leverage your existing investment and extend your reach to today’s smartphone-equipped consumers. Microsoft Tag can help you integrate all aspects of your marketing campaigns, make your printed materials more engaging, and reach your customers no matter where they are.

You can start simply: Try adding a Tag to your print ads or brochures that links to a YouTube video about your product. Or use Real-Time Location in a Tag to bring up search results showing nearby stores based on your customer’s location. Once your ad or product has caught someone’s eye, Tag enables you to put your story in front of them, increasing brand awareness and shortening the purchasing cycle. Mobile engagement is quickly becoming a necessity, since almost half1 of U.S. mobile phone owners use their devices to shop online or to help with in-store shopping, and by the end of 2011, more than 60 percent of mobile phone users will own a smartphone capable of scanning 2D barcodes.

By the end of 2011 more than 60% of mobile phone users will own a smartphone capable of scanning 2D codes

2D barcodes explained

Barcodes are a pretty big deal – and not just at the grocery store. In mobile tagging, the barcode is what connects a physical object (a magazine ad) to a digital experience on a smartphone (a cool video). Why should you care? Because a 2D barcode like Microsoft Tag adds a whole new dimension to your marketing campaigns, making them more engaging and interactive.

You can put a 2D barcode on just about anything – printed materials, packaging, posters, signs, websites, clothing. When people can scan the barcode with their smartphones, they instantly see the online content you’ve created – from a product video to a sweepstakes to a custom mobile site.

But not all barcodes are created equal. The type of barcode you use is important, because features and ease of use vary. There are three types of barcodes in common use: traditional linear barcodes, QR codes, and Microsoft Tags.

Traditional Barcodes

Before we get to 2D barcodes, we should note that some marketers provide basic product information using the 1D barcodes you’ve known for years. Some services use mobile apps to scan these barcodes and display data such as prices, descriptions, and user reviews.

QR Code

By moving beyond straight lines, a 2D barcode can contain more information. One common approach is the Quick Response (QR) code, an open-source platform with a variety of disparate formats and reader apps. This old-style 2D barcode contains the entire message in the code, so online access isn’t needed to decode it, but the barcode size will vary depending on the amount of encoded data. QR codes can be black-and-white or basic colors.

Microsoft Tag

Microsoft Tag takes mobile tagging to the next level, offering more flexibility both in the barcode design and the content behind it. Because Tags are linked to data stored on a server, you can deliver a more robust online experience – including entire mobile sites – and update the content any time without having to change the Tag. So, if you link a Tag on your business card to your résumé, it’ll still be valid after you get that big promotion. Tags can be black-and-white or full-color, including custom images (e.g., a company logo).

Source: Microsoft Tag blog

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