Archive for May, 2011

Trends for Marketers: QR Codes

Friday, May 27th, 2011

QR codes is short for “Quick Response Codes”, which were created by Denso-Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, more than a decade ago.  If you are not familiar with QR codes yet they are similar to barcodes used by retailers to track inventory and price products.  The main difference between QR codes and barcodes is the amount of information that they can hold.

For marketers, both QR codes and barcodes are useful ways to engage consumers with a product/service.  They can be used for product introduction with in-depth information, consumer promotions like coupons, and unique marketing communications to enhance the shopping experience.

According to trend research by MGH in February 2011, 98% of smartphone users have already actively used QR codes in their daily life.  Although currently the adoption of QR codes usage is uneven, given the fact that the demographics of smartphone users represents a group of highly educated and affluent consumers; the awareness of QR code is growing, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes common in most demographics.

Many big companies are already on the move: McDonalds uses QR codes to allow consumers to find out nutrition information on their food.  United Airlines uses QR codes as digital boarding passes.   Google not only uses it in Google Place, but also powers its app center to generate free QR codes.  Ebay adds QR codes to its RedLaser’s barcodes app for iPhone users.  These firms already saw that the  potential of QR codes to connect people with each other and to multimedia digital content is very useful for businesses and consumers alike.

The potential of QR codes is limitless.  It is exciting to see how they are capable of bring people together with technology and extending them to enhance the customer experience.  But at the same time, while the world is excited about QR codes, FiG wants to remind you that no matter how powerful QR codes are, they are just a tool for marketers.  The real challenge doesn’t lie in the codes, but lie in the way you use it to provide value-added experience.  Following are several tips for marketers before you add them to your campaign:

  • Remember that the population of QR codes users is still limited.  Every time you place a QR code also put the website link for people who don’t have a code reader on their phones.
  • Currently the most frequent code readers are on smartphones.  It means that you need to consider cell phone reception coverage when putting your QR codes around.
  • You can’t manage it if you can’t measure it.  To ensure the success of QR codes, provide a trackable URL to measure it frequently, and reformulate it if you need to.


The Future Calls For Integration – From Apple to Microsoft to Facebook to Google

Friday, May 20th, 2011

It seems like that this spring is an exciting business season.  It is not surprising to see that Apple won the most valuable brand in the world since it introduced the iPad 2.  Facebook continues to be the fastest growing company.  Google started its “Groupon” business beta test and opened its online music service.  And last week Microsoft purchased Skype to join the video chat game.  With all the achievements and moves of the big tech companies, FiG sees a future that will call for great integration.

Why integration is important?

  • Power of Network Effect: If you are not familiar with the term “network effect”, just think about Facebook and Twitter for a moment.  Why do you use Facebook?  Because your friends, colleagues, and family are using it.  Because it is a convenient channel of communications.  Because one click connects every audience of yours.  The success of these businesses depend on the number of users.  The more users, the more value: this is the network effect.  The network effect also exists beyond the social media.  No matter what kind of business you conduct, the primary purpose is to attract consumers.  Properly integrating network effect into your business will automatically expand your prospective consumer base.  This is why Apple invented iChat and FaceTime.  This why Google constantly increases features on Gmail.  This is also why Microsoft purchased Skype despite of Skype’s negative profit record.
    • What does it mean to marketing/sales managers: To marketing/sales managers, the network effect is difficult to create and even more difficult to manage and sustain overtime.  eBay and My Space for instance, once heroes of network effect, both struggle today to regain their past dominance.  The trick lies in the constant and increased value offering and the flexibility to adapt to changes.
  • Multiple-Function Benefits: Last week FiG posted an article of “Tablet Takeover Suggests Ereader’s Demise” on Facebook.  In the article, the writer expressed concerns over the future of Ereaders, as consumers are increasingly trading single-purpose devices for multifunction gadgets.  According to a survey by the Nielsen company in April 2011, owning a tablet impacts the use of other devices, among which negative impacts include that on desktops, laptops, netbooks, eReaders, portable game consoles, and media players; and positive impacts include that on mostly online TV/movie streaming services and the usage of apps.  The results mean that consumers prefer multiple-function devices over single-purpose ones.  Big brands know it, and they are heading toward this direction by creating integrated systems with multiple services and capabilities.
    • What does it mean to marketing/sales managers: The multifunction feature is a double-edged sword to marketing/sales managers.  On the benefit side, it is always good to tell prospective consumers that your products can handle multiple tasks.  The disadvantage is that it’s challenging for marketing/sales managers to focus on the core value of a multifunction product.  What is worse is that the core value may vary to different consumers.  A couple of solutions to overcome the problems are an integrated marketing strategy with customized core values and a strategy development to reposition for different customer segments.

To sum up, FiG thinks it is of great importance for marketers to keep their eyes open in an ever-changing society.  Based on this business model, it is not always necessary to be the first mover, but it is essential for every company to maintain flexible for follow up. With limited resources, time, and focuses, it is very helpful to benchmark a company or pay extra attention to the leader of an industry, to see what they are up to, and whether there is an unforeseen trend that is going to influence the current industry that your company is in.


Event Marketing and Media Buying Case Study – Fight to Win

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Fight to Win Promotions is a Colorado and Texas based Mixed Martial Arts fight promoter.  They felt that they provided a top tier experience to a dedicated audience that would provide potential sponsors a significant advertising opportunity.  Like many local and regional fight promoters they had some fan clothing vendors and the occasional bar sponsoring their events but felt they could do better.  They needed a full-service advertising agency in Denver.  That’s where FiG came in.

Fight to Win Media Kit

Fight to Win Media Kit


Event Sponsorships


  • Need more sponsors
  • Need higher dollar sponsors
  • No idea who their audience was
  • No idea of how to value their sponsorships

When FiG asked Fight to Win who their attendees were that a potential sponsor would advertise to we were told they were mid-20s Caucasian males and that was it.  First FiG performed market research on site at an event to determine audience demographics.  What we found was that the audience was only 60 percent male, was on average about 10 years older than they thought with an educated background and many other data points that would be of interest to sponsors.  We now had something to sell but needed to package it.  That’s where the Media Kit came in.  FiG visualized this data in a clear concise PDF/booklet that spoke directly to the information that marketing managers need to justify a media spend.  Armed with this information FiG was able to improve the the quantity and quality of the sponsorships.

Lucky Strike Ring Girls

Lucky Strike Ring Girls


Results (samples):


Media Buying

After the implementation of the streamlined and successful sponsorship sales program Fight to Win began using FiG for media buying in the Colorado market with the intention of decreasing costs of advertising and increasing tickets sold to the events.


  • Media Buys were handled by station media reps
  • Programming was not reaching a large enough audience
  • Programming was too narrow

Fight to Win was making media buys directly with the media representatives of various outlets around the Denver-metro area.  The downside to this is that if a rep only gets paid for selling a specific station that’s all they will sell you whether it’s a good fit or not.  Furthermore they will sell what you ask for whether that’s a good idea or not.  In this case they were buying TV MMA fight reruns in the middle of that afternoon which had a couple hundred viewers across the entire market and radio stations with rock that mostly pulled 20 year old males.  FiG used their audience demographic data to target programming that was appropriate to the actual audience and had larger viewership and listenership.  The TV buy was now hitting larger audiences in the thousands while maintaining the frequency and keeping within the allotted budget and the radio buys were spread to multiple stations including ones that hit a slightly older audience than previously.  Ticket sales jumped after the scheduled media campaigns launched.


  • Targeted programming to real world demographics based on audience research
  • Negotiated better per spot costs
  • Improved ad copy


  • Increased audience for same cost
  • Hit a more appropriate audience
  • Saw ticket sales increases as campaign progressed

This is the type of project FiG excels at.  Advertising and Marketing campaigns with measurable results and increased revenue.  Talk to us about your upcoming media and advertising needs.

FiG Advertising and Marketing Announces New Client: Great Plains Moving and Storage

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

FiG is excited to announce a brand new relationship with Great Plains Moving and Storage, a Denver based moving and storage company with nation-wide capabilities.  This includes working together to develop and maintain their websites, for both the North American and Allied Vanlines franchises, as well as improve their search engine rankings.  These efforts will increase overall traffic to the site and convert those visitors into incoming leads.

Website Development and Maintenance:

Two websites will be developed to improve user experience for Great Plains North American and to re-establish the Allied franchise as a separate and fully branded entity.  To make sure Great Plains’ consumers are perfectly happy with their website FiG will solve visual and functional issues and enhance search engine rankings:

  1. User Interface Design and Development: Design or technology alone are not enough to improve a website in terms of  ease-to-use and experience enhancement.  In order to help Great Plains achieve website user acceptance and improve site marketability FiG has developed a process that creates a site that is both visually appealing and functional by employing techniques to determine the best way to get users to the information they need and to maximize conversions.
  2. Search Engine Optimization:  It will take time and extensive process to get Great Plains’ website on top of search results but it is a worthwhile effort and FiG is here to make it happen!  By executing a keyword analysis, online competitive research, and both on and off-site optimization FiG will make sure that consumers find Great Plains easily.


Check back soon to see the results!