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The Evolution of QR Codes

Someone in our company asked me the other day if we could print a QR code on posters which would be displayed throughout a trade show. When people scan the code, they would be directed to an online version of a PowerPoint presentation. I thought, “Why not? We can do that.” We’ve used QR codes in the past to link to websites and YouTube videos, but it hasn’t been something people get very excited about. Or perhaps, not many people knew about them. A QR (Quick Response) code is similar to a barcode, but can hold at least 100 times the amount of information than what a typical barcode can hold. They have been around since 1994, developed by a Japanese company to help track vehicles during manufacturing. They were introduced in the U.S. sometime around 2010 when the first QR code scanner app was released for smartphones. As the technology evolved, the code began to contain more and more information. Although the use of QR codes has been popular in Asia, they have had a difficult time defending their…

Art & Soul KC – SMCKC Recap

It might not be obvious how an art museum’s quest to raise more money applies to grocery world, I can assure you that I attended SMCKC’s February breakfast for more than just bacon. Angela Pritchett, digital marketer at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, how they increased their membership by changing what they promoted. Instead of focusing on member perks, Prichett began emphasizing why people are members and highlighting the shared community. They saw a spike in membership when they stopped talking about free parking and started detailing how many school children would get to visit the museum because of each donation. Each member knew the impact their money was making. One of my goals for the year is to increase contact numbers for email clients. I plan on taking a strategy from Pritchett and her team. They used a “manifesto” to tell potential members what the goals of the museum were, and how they would be helping as members. Now obviously signing up for emails is much lower stakes than giving money to a museum. However, I think some of…

KCDMA Symposium 2019 Recap

In January, KCDMA held their annual symposium. It was was a day packed with presenters from disparate industries, but with similar messages. Connecting with your audience through storytelling was a common thread through all the presentations. “People are too smart for ads,” Dennis Yu, from Blitz Metrics, said, “so it is time for marketers to try something else.” Yu also showed examples how things that stand out have a higher authority. AWG members should think about topics which they have authority. Is there an in-house butcher? Some stores specialize in flowers or catering. Focus marketing on the things that sets a store apart from competitors. Maybe a store is involved in the community –- highlight that. Building on this idea, Yu suggests targeting other authorities instead of fans. Yu described a tech client who targeted Facebook ads to employees of tech publications instead of their customers. Doing so caused the ad to be shared much more widely. This means if the floral department is the main attraction, try and interact with big name florists. Customers will take seriously recommendations of…

laptop on desk, marketing presentation on screen

Content Marketing Trends

If you haven’t started planning how to deliver quality content to your customers this year, let’s get started on a quality plan of attack. What people want to see and what is needed for them to become or stay customers is a topic that is ever-changing with advances in technology and how people view information. Communicating with people is almost too easy in today’s digital marketing world, but communicating effectively can still be a task that many retailers don’t know how to carry out. Create a plan, stick to it You didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday, you’ve been doing this a while. Whether you believe it or not, physical and digital marketing are very similar. It’s very likely that things you’ve done in the past from a physical marketing perspective can be effective in the digital realm, with a bit of polishing. Look to what has been effective for you previously, find a way to get that content into a digital jumpsuit and fire away. Did you have beautiful displays that attracted customers, that maybe you could transform…


Print to Digital: A How-To

“I want to get out of print.” That’s a statement I heard from multiple retailers recently. While print continues to be the go-to vehicle for most grocery retailers, more and more, retailers are looking for a way to shift dollars and take advantage of digital platforms. I’ve talked to retailers who cut print cold turkey and seen no changes in sales. I’ve talked to retailers who planned out a transition away from print for months only to have mad customers once the ad stopped being distributed. What’s the right path? Frustratingly, the answer is “It depends.” So where do you start if you’re a retailer wanting to get out of print? A good place to start is to assess where you are now. The only way you’ll know whether getting out of print will impact you is if you measure it. Take a look at where sales are currently. Pull numbers on customer count and transaction size. Think about what your current ad distribution looks like and how you could optimize it. You also want to make sure you know…

Trending Now

Trending Now: February

It’s time for our second installment of Trending Now! I’ll make this quick before something else takes the place of these items currently taking the internet by storm. I spend too much time on social media and follow a ton of food accounts, so I guess that’s not such a bad thing after all! Here’s what I’ve noticed lately: Rumors: Word is spreading that grocery ecommerce isn’t taking off as fast as expected and stores aren’t making as much as they had hoped. I have lots of thoughts about this. At the VMC show last week, a member said to me, “I know online shopping isn’t going away, this is a long-term play,” and he’s right. It’s definitely not a silver bullet to save a struggling store and it takes a lot of effort on the part of the store to make it successful. It’s not a “if-you-build-it-they-will-come” scenario. You have to let the right people know about it, entice them to try it, and then you have to impress the heck out of them to keep them coming back.…

Video on Computer

Facebook Video Options

We write about video a lot on this blog. Sean regularly posts about video creation tools and best practices. While I, on the other hand, usually include the importance of video content in my posts about Facebook algorithm changes and social media content strategies. But what if you don’t have the tools and expertise to create a professional video for your store? Not to worry! Facebook now offers several different options to help you create your own video with static images! The simplest option (also the only one that doesn’t require you to pay for an ad or a boost) is to create a slideshow in a Facebook post. It will display the images in order just like a slideshow, but it will post like a video and therefore will be given higher priority in the algorithm. You can post up to 10 images per slide show. Plus you have the option to have a fade transition in between slides and you can choose the length of time the slides appear (0.5-5 seconds). If you’re looking for something more personalized…

SEO and SEM graphic

How SEO and SEM can Strengthen your Digital Store Brand Identity

Have you ever searched for something on the internet and found yourself looking at an entry on the 4th or 5th page? Me neither, who has the time? There are several tasks a business can do to increase their websites rankings so they don’t end up in this position. Some of these tasks are free, meaning you won’t get a bill from a search engine while other tasks will cost you. The free tasks will take 3-6 months to see results, and depending on your technical comfort level, might end up getting farmed out anyway. If you choose the paid route results will be more immediate. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The process of affecting the online visibility of a website in a web search engine’s unpaid results. Search Engine Marketing (SEM): The process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. Also referred to as “Paid Search”. Common SEO task list: Most important; make sure your website is mobile friendly. Ask your web designer if your content is optimized with page titles, descriptions, keywords and ADA compliant. Look…

Curious Co-branding

Ever see a product’s advertising that infuses another brand and think, “that makes so much sense”? Things like Taco Bell and Doritos, BMW & Louis Vuitton, Apple Pay & Master Card, Boulevard Beer & Tech N9ne, wait…what?? Craft beer and hip-hop? Oh…that’s right, I forgot to mention co-branding doesn’t have to make total sense on the surface. Sure it doesn’t hurt to mesh Yum brands with bold delicious snacks or high end luxury with glam products, but if you eat Taco Bell you probably already eat Doritos and if you can afford a BMW likewise you know about or purchase Louis Vuitton luggage. However, it’s the outside the box brand collaborations that gain exposure to markets that previously might not have been available. For the content purpose of this blog I’m going to use the combo mentioned previously, Boulevard Beer & Tech N9ne (mostly true accounts from a speaking event hosted by KCDMA featuring Pat Mullin of Boulevard). Now I understand that some people reading this will not know one, if not either of these brands, so I’ll provide a…

Grocer Pod – Episode 12

On this month’s episode Sean talks New Year’s resolutions. He also sits down with Jeni Ganzman and Cara Mahon to talk about the upcoming VMC show.  To register for the VMC show email vmc_shows@awginc.com Next, Melanie Isenmann joins to talk about social media marketing. There are some new offerings as well as a new focus by the digital marketing team at AWG.