Last week, I spoke with the Director of Brand Marketing of a premium consumer goods company about their foray into 2D technology, as the company recently launched their first 2D print advertisement in a major national publication. The comment/question I put to the director was that I did not believe the campaign went far enough with respect to the 2D/mobile experience (i.e., there was no mobile website or landing page, the video shown did not enhance the overall experience, there was no mobile purchase incentive, etc.), and asked why not. To this, the director responded, "it's guns or butter."
If you are not familiar, "guns or butter" refers to a macroeconomics model, whereby a nation is essentially forced to chose between investing in defense or civilian goods, or sometimes both, when spending its finite resources. In relation to our conversation, the director used the phrase to refer to the fact that, because business was considerably off over the past couple of years, some hard decisions had to be made with respect to how limited marketing dollars were to be spent. As much as the company wanted to delve into the use of 2D barcode technology, the decision was made to go only so far, which meant that a mobile website and other aspects of the 2D/mobile experience were never fully developed as part of the campaign.
While it's certainly easy to spend other people's money, which is not my intention here, my reply/question to the director was this...if a campaign is not designed and implemented to be as effective as it could be on all fronts (i.e., build a mobile website, craft and provide mobile content, offer a mobile purchase incentive, etc.) then is the company really spending wisely and, more importantly, is it really giving 2D a fair chance to show itself and succeed? The director understood my reply/question and agreed, but reiterated that limited funds are limited funds and a stand has to be made somewhere.
After a while, a discussion like this can become quite circular, however, the one item I would like to raise by all of this is that, if a company is willing to spend several tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on the creative development and placement of a four color, full-page print advertisement in a nationally distributed publication then, why not take one more step and build out the 2D/mobile experience to its fullest? If one were to look at the company's entire marketing spend in percentage terms for this campaign, I believe the additional work to build out the 2D/mobile experience would have been negligible.
Granted, the company could only spend so much on the campaign, but with the way it was launched the question now awaits, was the campaign successful or not because of 2D technology or because the campaign was developed to its fullest? In my opinion, it makes little sense to budget and spend heavily on placement and certain aspects of creative, but lightly on the elements which encompass the mobile experience, the offer, the execution and other deliverables.