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January 2012
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April 2012

Touchcodes - More intuitive than QR Codes?


As QR codes are beginning to revolutionize the convergence between the web and mobile, building new ways for brands to interact with customers, adding the power of interactivity, data & information for advertising campaigns, I have always found that it is not easy for not so tech-savvy customers to appreciate & experience the power of this technology.I believe that for successful adoption of high-end or innovative technologies, simplicity is key. QR codes still are a bit complicated for wider adoption.

In fact, a few months back in India when I was a part in an internal company marketing conference,  some of the new marketing initiatives had QR codes being integrated as a part of their campaigns. Sadly, neither the channel partners nor the sales folks nor the senior management folks knew how to use or leverage it. It left me thinking about its challenges for wider adoption amongst consumers. 

Recently, I came across an interesting technology called Touchcodes which appealed a lot to me. I loved the simplicity and ease of use. It was a lot more intuitive and did not require new learning from the average consumer.

Here's how it works:

" the new technology works by embedding  a thin layer of capacitive material in printed items like business cards, tickets, magazine pages, or product packaging. When you hold the paper to a capacitive touch screen, it acts like a set of invisible fingers tapping out a complex code that’s interpreted by a Touchcode-enabled app or website."


I believe it has some lovely applications that are very intuitive and comes naturally to us in the way we  are used to doing things :

  • Imagine a coupons being distributed by retail stores and can be read on the phone by placing the coupon on the touchscreen of the mobile. This can ensure instant redemption and also trackback mobile nos available against the existing member databases.
  • Can be in ads in magazines and the customers can just cut the card and place it on the touchscreen of their mobiles to avail of instant trial/samples.
  • Catalogs can be customized with touchcode cards for availing customized offers.
  • Imagine holding your phone in a supermarket, touching the pasta box and getting instant recipes on your mobile phone!
  • The data captured can be very useful for customized marketing programs


QR Codes are not going away soon but I do see Touchcodes being adopted soon for many applications across offline media, web & mobile.

The "natural interactivity" they come with is a compelling story for marketers.



How brands need to adopt & leverage technology marketing?

This week there was an interesting debate around P&G CEO - Bob McDonald's comment. He had mentioned that:

“In the digital space, with things like Facebook and Google and others, we find that the return on investment of the advertising, when properly designed, when the big idea is there, can be much more efficient. One example is our Old Spice campaign, where we had 1.8 billion free impressions.”

The word  "free" had raised a lot of eyebrows and threatened many on the future of advertising & marketing services business models. He was almost  saying that digital is the new mass market and that P&G does not have to pay big bucks to catch the attention  & mindspace of  such consumers, which they normally end-up spending for their brands offline. 

While I agree with him - some platforms will have to be leveraged where millions of consumers are already there in the digital market place, other marketing technologies need to be identified, invested and nurtured very carefully as most of these will increasingly become fragmented as more disruptive marketing technologies emerge in the years to come.

In fact I hold a contrarian view  that everything will not be free but I see technology marketing creating a new model of marketing spending - micro investing & budgeting - A lot of small budgets will have to apportioned intelligently across mutiple-technologies which can help marketing meet its brand objectives! Instead of a bazooka approach, it will be a stealth-gun method.

As I see the future, many new technologies will keep coming-up and world of technology marketing is going to see many disruptive innovations - by way of customer engagment technologies, customer experience platforms, payment technologies, BIG data & Analytics etc.. Today, it might be the facebook, google+ , twitter etc. and tomorrow it might be Pintrest, Instagram, some kind of a 3D software game etc.

The question really is how should brands decide which of these technologies do they need to invest and grow their marketing spends on? When we interact with many companies & their marketing departments, we do find them adopting marketing technology basis "flavour-of-the-season" approach.

  1. Many a times, there is a need to adopt more depth to their thinking on how these technologies can leverage their current marketing strategies
  2. Also, they need to evaluate and prioritize them from a host of options available to them but need to see which ones amongst them has a best-fit match to their marketing objectives.
  3. They must refrain from having a herd mentality basis the buzz some of these technology marketing platforms create and start to adopt them without any framework or approach
  4. Given they have limited resources and time to invest, it is important to debate & agree with all their marketing partners - both internal & external on how it will help achieve brand KPIs
  5. Also, CIO & CMO will have to start working very closely as many of these technologies will link many of the company's internal departments like never before.

It was interesting to read Brian Solis  blog about the same topic and he had an interesting infographic which many of the CMOs can adopt as they evaluate and adopt many of these disruptive technologies for marketing:


It is important for CMOs to invest and back the right marketing technologies. They must carefully evaluate & measure the brand-fit & marketing objectives against each of them.