The Louisiana Lottery is in the beginning stages of going mobile. Kimberly Chopin, communications manager for the Louisiana Lottery Corporation, has been at the heart of the effort, guiding the Lottery into new territory. We were able to get in contact with Kimberly and ask her some questions about how the company is using QR codes. Fortunately, she had quite a lot to say.
How are you implementing QR codes in your marketing campaigns?
The Louisiana Lottery has brainstormed dozens of strategies for utilizing QR codes to market our games, engage with our players and add value to our products. Some of these include offering how-to-play instructions or winning number information at the point of sale, allowing online opt-in to our free online players’ club, and launching exclusive branded content or second-chance drawing entry from our scratch-off tickets. Right now, we’re in the early stages of integrating the use of QR codes with other marketing and communication tactics. For starters, though, we’re using the codes to simply deliver information. In my opinion, the key to launching a full-fledged campaign, beyond testing the waters, will be teaching our players how to use the codes.
For example, to encourage player participation in the Louisiana Lottery’s year-long 20th Anniversary Celebration we sponsored an online contest to design our anniversary T-shirt design. One of the strategies was posting flyers at fairs, festivals and places where our players and the arts community would frequent. While we knew that the process of designing and entering the contest was best suited for personal computers, QR codes on the flyer gave attendees a way to bookmark our contest microsite information for use at a later time. That’s a key benefit of the codes — connecting low-tech strategies such as flyers, point-of-sale posters and print ads to high-tech mobile engagement.
Also in celebration of our 20th Anniversary, we conducted a corporate image print ad campaign in local business publications to highlight the positive contributions the Lottery has made over the years to the state, players and our business partners. In the ads, we included a QR code that directed readers to more in-depth information about the Lottery’s history and anniversary activities.
Have you hired a third party to help build your campaign?
Earlier this year, we completed a technology blueprint that sets out parameters for enhancing our online presence, including mobile web. I anticipate that we will seek vendor partners for some areas, especially as we develop more complex mobile strategies.
What challenges, if any, have you faced thus far? How have you overcome them?
Our customer base as a whole does not tend to be early adopters of technology, so education is important if we want to reach beyond a certain market segment. We sell our products through a large retailer network of convenience and grocery stores and have begun a content series entitled “Digital Shopping Strategies” to teach them about ways consumers are utilizing technology to enhance their in-store shopping experience. Before we began to utilize QR codes, we put together detailed information about how they are being used successfully by top retailers and consumer product brands to achieve buy-in from our network. Then we provided specific instructions for how to generate a code and launch one using a smartphone.
Market research is important to the success of any campaign – What made you decide to adopt mobile marketing over more conventional methods?
I would not say we’re adopting mobile market “over” more conventional methods; instead we’re integrating it in our marketing efforts where appropriate. The media we utilize and the marketing tactics we deploy all have their purpose and place. The key to media selection is understanding who we want to reach and what specific behavior and/or result to we want to achieve; then we choose the tactics that are best suited for achieving it with maximum ROI.
Mobile phone penetration has exploded, especially as an indispensible web-enabled device. This is great news for the Lottery and any brand marketing its products in a retail environment, because it allows us to inform, engage and persuade at the right time and stage of purchase-making decisions. Marketers that understand their customers’ needs and use mobile accordingly to add value and convenience can differentiate themselves from their competitors.
How has the response been to your use of QR codes?
We’re still in the “trying it out” phase. Because our initial objectives have been simply to provide another avenue to deliver online information, we haven’t used QR-code campaign-specific urls. As our objectives become more sophisticated, so will our metrics.
That said, for our design contest campaign, half of all visits to our microsite were direct, a result of both digital advertising and QR code deployment. Also, mobile web visits to our site in general were up 10 percent during the campaign.
Anecdotally, there is the “cool” factor that QR codes generate in interest and buzz, of course!
What are your plans for future use of QR codes?
Our future plans could include offering how-to-play instructions on our printed game point-of-sale posters and ticket dispensers; providing winning number information on our draw-style game tickets; allowing online opt-in to our free online players’ club; and launching exclusive branded content or second-chance drawing entry from our scratch-off tickets.
QR codes are becoming more widely used in business. How can you stand out amongst the growing number of competitors?
The same way a brand stands out in general — by making the codes do more than just “advertise” or deliver the same information as what on the printed piece or ad itself. Deploying the code should offer the consumer an added benefit, a deeper level of engagement that makes he or she want to continue the relationship with the brand.
Will you continue to use QR codes in future campaigns?
We will continue to explore their use in our campaigns and ways deliver value, convenience and entertainment to our products through the use of QR codes.