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QR Codes Kill Kittens: Author Scott Stratten Talks to Marketing Smarts [Podcast]

Hosted By:
Kerry O'Shea Gorgone
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
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Scott Stratten is the president of Un-Marketing and an expert in "viral, social, and authentic marketing," which he calls Un-Marketing.

Formerly a music industry marketer, national sales training manager, and a professor at the Sheridan College School of Business, he ran his "UnAgency" for a nearly a decade before switching gears to focus on speaking about social media, viral marketing, and new media at events for companies such as PepsiCo, Adobe, Red Cross, Cirque du Soleil, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Fidelity Investments.

He's a top 5 social media influencer as selected by, and the best-selling author of the books UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging and The Book of Business (UnAwesome).

I invited Scott to Marketing Smarts to discuss his latest book, QR Codes Kill Kittens.

Here are just a few highlights from my conversation with Scott about the mistakes many marketers are making with QR codes and other technologies.

The misuse of QR codes makes consumers (and Scott Stratten) angry (04:56): "It's the QR code on the website, it's the one as your Facebook profile for your business, it's the one on the billboard that's 118 feet away that I can't reach... But the problem isn't the QR code technology: It's both the adoption of it on the consumer level and the execution of it on the marketing level. Even if we had a high adoption rate (which we don't) from consumers, the pages they're directing to aren't mobile-friendly, aren't working at all, or have no reason to them."

Most people don't use QR codes, so don't expect them to start with your ad (14:21): "We somehow think that our ad's different, our product's different. It's not. We're not that special. I sat at an airport at a gate and watched as people walked by a banner in the airport...that had a giant QR code on it. You know how many people scanned it in four hours? I didn't even scan it. Zero."

Scheduling posts tells your audience that you're selfish (17:00): "This is my issue. I've always been against scheduling. Always. Since '08, even when you couldn't schedule and they started coming out with things that would allow you to schedule it... and I've been fighting it ever since I saw the first one. The issue isn't necessarily scheduling. People will come to me and say 'I schedule, Scott, because I want to spread out the corporate content. But it's OK: If somebody replies to it, I'll get a notification so I can then engage. Isn't that what I'm supposed to be doing?' And my answer is no, you're not supposed to be doing that. If you only react on Twitter to people who are tweeting to you, we've lost the point of conversation. That is, people on Twitter reading each other's tweets and interacting and reacting to content. If you only tweet back to people who are reacting to your content, you're being selfish and we're breaking Twitter."

For more information, visit or follow Scott on Twitter: @unmarketing.

Scott and I talked about much more—including how CAPTCHA is still frustrating online shoppers, and what constitutes a mullet—so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

This marketing podcast was created and published by MarketingProfs.

This episode features:

Scott Stratten, author of QR Codes Kill Kittens, UnMarketing, and The Book of Business UnAwesome.

Kerry O'Shea Gorgone is a lawyer, podcaster, speaker, and writer. As Director of Product Strategy, Training, she oversees sale and distribution of MarketingProfs' premium training products. Kerry also hosts the weekly interview show, Marketing Smarts.

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  • by Gayle Gallagher Wed Dec 4, 2013 via web

    Great presentation! Kerry and Scott carried on a lively, informative (and funny) conversation. Thanks so much! Good topic. Good stuff.

  • by Kerry O'Shea Gorgone Wed Dec 4, 2013 via web

    Thanks very much, Gayle! Scott's a fantastic interviewee, knowledgeable and fun.

  • by Ben Reeder Thu Dec 5, 2013 via web

    You totally got me to read farther because of the title. lol. The article and presentation were great....thanks for taking the time to share.

  • by Kerry O'Shea Gorgone Thu Dec 5, 2013 via web

    Thanks for posting (and listening), Ben! You'd love the book. SO funny, but with really helpful marketing advice, provided by illustrating what not to do!

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