9.08.2010

Macy's Revisited

A few weeks ago, I posted an article about a 2D magazine advertisement that Macy's ran, and I wanted to briefly revisit this. Whether you read the article or not, essentially Macy's placed a 2D barcode ad in a women's fashion magazine, and the video that the code in the ad was supposed to resolve to was not completed in time for when the magazine hit the newsstands. The result, a screen error message and "apology" from Macy's, as well as a number of consumers who had a less than optimal 2D interactive experience.

So what did Macy's do? Did they try to fix the scan resolve for others who may come across the magazine ad? Yes, once the video was complete it was properly linked to the code and released for viewing. Did they try to restore consumer confidence, interest and faith in the use of 2D technology? No, not that I am aware of. Why not?

For all of those who scanned the code and could not see a video, why not get their phone numbers from the vendor who provided the code and send them a mobile message (an apology) with an eCoupon for $25 off their next Macy's purchase. Seems pretty basic to me. Company sets an expectation, does not deliver, company works to restore and surpass the original expectation. Isn't that how customers are won? Or look at it from a social advertising (i.e., word of mouth) perspective. Scenario A: consumer scans the code, nothing happens. Consumer tells one or two friends about the bad experience and soon enough a number of potential Macy's customers hear about it and have a negative impression of the retailer, as well as 2D technology. Scenario B: Macy's pro-actively recognizes the situation, sends an apology and a discount coupon to the consumer who could not view the video correctly and the consumer walks away very happy. Consumer tells one or two friends about the experience and the friends are left with a favorable impression of both Macy's and the 2D experience. (Or Scenario C: Macy's does not let the situation happen in the first place, but that was the discussion in the previous article.) Maybe this is a very simplistic way of looking at the whole situation, but which would you rather have at the end of the day, prospective customers walking away and talking with others in a positive light or negative light.

All of this is not 2D barcode marketing, it's basic marketing and customer service. There is no reason for companies to be lazy when it comes to properly executing on 2D because, if they do, all this will serve to do is slow the adoption and acceptance of 2D and defeat the whole purpose of making use of codes in promotional ads in the first place. Then again, maybe companies or marketing departments are just so flush with money these days that they can afford to spend and not have to worry about an ad's ROI, let alone satisfied customers or prospects.

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