Archives for : Technology

Marketing Mishaps #4 – E-Mail Sale Fail

I received this e-mail yesterday (see image below) from GPS manufacturer TomTom.

Does your company use scheduling apps for marketing messages? If so, you might want to make sure that another person reviews the schedule from time to time.

Don’t get me wrong – I signed on for these e-mails, and appreciate the updates and offers I get from TomTom. But I was shopping for a new GPS for a relative before Christmas. Sending this message on time might have sold at least one more unit!

Have you seen a similar Marketing Mishap? Tell us about it in the comments.

P.S. TomTom’s is currently discounting some of their GPS units. I have no idea if it’s a really long Fall Sale.

UPDATE: Just saw a TV commercial for One-Hour Heating and Air: “Get your furnace ready for winter!” Too late.

TomTom E-Mail Sale Fail

TomTom E-Mail Sale Fail

I am very, very calm.

iPhone 5: Keep calm and carry on.

Digital or Paper – Best for Your Business?

Writing-business-notes-tablet-pensIn my business life, I started with a paper calendar for planning and prioritizing tasks, and tracking appointments. It was called a Franklin Planner.

Later, I used a variety of digital devices (i.e. Palm), also called Personal Digital Assistants, or PDAs. I used them in combination with paper tablets. For one job, I was required to keep my daily calendar in Microsoft Outlook on a company-provided laptop. My schedule was “visible” to my supervisor, who worked in another city. I freaking hated that. We can talk about that another day.

My current solution is to keep track of appointments and contacts in my iPhone. A major benefit of having my contacts and calendar in digital form on iPhone means that they are constantly and securely backed up in “the cloud.”  I really appreciate that. I use a composition notebook to record project details, ideas, seminar notes, and such.

Among my friends that are writers, several of them use Moleskine notebooks of various sizes, and swear by them, and even have preferences over the type of pen they use when writing in them.

What do you prefer for tracking appointments, contacts, and project info? Digital or paper, or some combination? Why?

Optional question for extra credit: How important is the capability to set priorities in your digital device or system?


Quick Answers for QR Code Questions

Marketing Mercenary - "About JR"Marketing Mercenary - "About JR"Marketing Mercenary - "About JR"

(The QR codes to the left are identical, and will all take you to the “About JR” page on this website.)

Q) What is a QR code?
A) Everybody knows what they look like, but what exactly do they do? This answer is from

A QR Code (it stands for “Quick Response”) is a cell phone readable bar code that can store website URL’s, plain text, phone numbers, email addresses and pretty much any other alphanumeric data.

Q) Do you have to have a smartphone to use QR codes?
A) Yes, unless you’re using QR codes to patch a leaky waterbed.

Q) What are the best services to generate QR codes for my marketing purposes?
A1) That depends on your needs. My favorite is (That’s the whole URL – there is no <.com> after.) will shorten the link for you, give you a QR code, and TRACK IT’S PERFORMANCE*. That’s right. It will display a graph showing when and how often your shortened URL has been accessed via the QR code.

*You need a Google account to use, but there are so many great reasons to have a Google account, not the least of which is this tracking feature for your QR codes.

A2) Another great QR code service is, mentioned above. It will create QR codes that activate ALL KINDS of URLs or other information, such as:

  • a phone number
  • a Google Maps location
  • an iTunes link
  • a telephone number (just press “call” to make the call)
  • a YouTube video
  • a plain text message
  • and many more!

You can also select various sizes, according to your project needs.

Papa Roux hand-drawn QR codeQ) Are QR codes customizable, or do they all look like random black squares inside a white box?
A) They are somewhat flexible. They can contain colors, and even be hand-drawn. The code to the right will take you to the website for a great Indianapolis restaurant. If it doesn’t immediately register, pull the phone back just a bit when you scan it. Note the hearts, words, PacMan, and Space Invaders character, and other icons.

Q) How should I use QR codes?
A) Like many marketing tools, this is only limited by your imagination. Because the QR code reader is a smartphone application, please don’t use a QR code to route visitors to your standard (non-mobile) website. Use them to send visitors to a YouTube video for your non-profit’s fund-raiser. Use them to provide a special phone number for ordering your brand new product or service. Use them to direct visitors to your MOBILE webpage, if you have one. Use them to conduct a QR code-based scavenger hunt of your favorite customers, or to direct visitors to your Eventbrite invitation for your open house or seminar.

Q) Any questions?