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American Airlines Spikes My QR Curiosity

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American Airlines Spikes My QR Curiosity
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What do you do when you have a solution in your hand in search of a problem?

If you’re the creator of the solution, you sell, sell, sell, crafting magnificent stories describing the power of your solution to change lives and create profits. That approach is mandated by fiduciary responsibility to those investors who brought your solution to market. The effort and persistence are admirable, but in time the substance of your solution will come clear, as will the reality of market demand for that which you are selling.

There are lots of examples of solutions seeking problems to solve. At the moment, contactless payment, many online reward applications, and almost every piece of exercise equipment sold through infomercials come to mind. One exception in the exercise category is TRX, which I’ve used and think is worth every penny.

I’m also thinking of QR codes.

I’ve written about QR codes before, highlighting the digital curiosity they can create and some practical uses they can provide to connect local merchants to their customers and enhance the value of print media at a time when it is teetering on the edge of destruction.

American Airlines seems to agree with my take, as the envelope I received this month with my AAdvantage frequent flyer status inside carried a big fat QR code on the back. If you own a smartphone and have just a wee bit of marketing curiosity in your blood, I don’t know how you could not click through the code.

I did and it took me to a landing page online which featured special fares and offers that American Airlines is promoting at this time. It took me all of 30 seconds to look at the offers and, while it wasn’t for me this time, I would check back for future offers if presented in the same way.

American’s use of the QR code is a practical example of how to create customer engagement and how to reap a little better return out of every piece of direct mail stuffed in the box. After all, there was nothing but white space on the envelope before this QR experiment, and the ROI calculation must be astronomical as the denominator (cost) is minuscule.

While solution sellers carry on with big promises, brands and marketers are wise to sit back and determine how they can put new technologies to use to meet their own needs. Often the answer is not the one being sold by the creator of the solution.

Some new technologies won’t survive your next brainstorming session. Others, like the QR code, can be selectively used to create customer engagement and help create incremental revenues.

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