Using Technology To Even-Out The Odds In The Fight For Consumer Mind Share

We all remember from the old school days 4P of Marketing: Price, Promotion, Product, Place – not necessary in this order. But now, in the real world, when it is your money on the line and the future of your business hangs on the balance – how does small business owner effectively promote and advertise?

Lets look at the couple options:

There are of course traditional ways, print media ads and TV and Radio spots – both will be reaching a very wide audience, both are very expensive, usually not targeted, and worst of all – inflexible! That is, for a typical magazine ad there is a requirement of at least 1-2 months of lead time to get ad created, placed into publication, print and distribute publications, etc… So your hot product or promotion will not be seen by public for 60-90 days after you conceive them. This might work for traditional staple products that don't change that much, but for a small business, chances are that your product is new, innovative, rapidly changing with market and technology, and can not wait 3 months to be promoted. TV and Radio are little more flexible, but also very expensive and not easily changeable.

You can also identify and go to local and national trade shows to display your latest products, innovation, and special offers. Again, you are bound by trade show schedule, and again it is very costly. Between floor space, freight, transportation, travel, labor, and other numerous and growing every year, expenses related to trade show – your costs to promote are sky high.

On the other end of the cost spectrum is advertising via e-mail blasts. While you can e-mail your message to thousands of addresses – will they ever see it, or will it end-up in spam folders of e-mail provider or end user? Worse, you might be 'blacklisted' by some of the providers, assuring that none of your e-mail will ever get to recipients serviced by these providers. And even if you get through, is your message still as relevant as when you sent it? What, if due to any number of reasons, your great offer no longer valid or even 'worthy of attention' anymore? All this effort is for nothing!

Another method that has proved to be very effective is dynamic, on-the-spot marketing using QR codes. Platforms, such as offer a very inexpensive, flexible (so you can stay current no matter when target recipient receives your message), easily deliverable and usable (no big production required to create, anyone can get it) and "sticky" (repeatable, visible, ubiquitous) marketing at very little or no cost. A typical setup might be as low as $4.99 / month. These platform are build on combination of print media and Smartphone delivery advertising option coupled with ability to provide fresh up-to date (or minute) advertising message or latest offer, regardless of when message received or read by recipient. This "magic" is accomplished by embedding a special cell-phone readable QR Code into the message, and providing business owner with a tool to create and change contents of QR Code destination at will! The benefits are in freshness and timeliness of the message, as well as in ubiquitous access since to use this platform no special tools are needed, just an access to internet.

As you can see, the proliferation of choices for business marketing is growing, but unfortunately the ability to afford some of these choices and their effectiveness in the real world force us to utilize technology, such as QR codes and others, to gain an edge in the 'all-out' fight for the consumer mind share.