Interview: Douglas Karr of DK New Media

DK New Media logo

Welcome to our series of interviews with local (and sometimes national) leaders in the social media and technology industry that will be featured on Social Mediarology. Today’s interview is with Douglas Karr of  DK New Media, an Indianapolis-based, globally-focused new media agency.


Douglas Karr – DK New Media

Below is Part 1 of the interview. See Part 2 at the bottom of the post.

Douglas Karr HeadshotAuthor of Corporate Blogging for Dummies, Chief Blogger/Founder of the Marketing Technology Blog and CEO of DK New Media. Douglas and his team specialize in performing due diligence analysis of marketing technology companies for venture capital and investment firms. DK New Media also consults on an ongoing basis with large companies who wish to leverage online strategies to build inbound marketing efforts using search and social media.

Can you tell me a little about yourself and DK New Media?

I’m Douglas Karr, author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies, and I helped start up Compendium (Indianapolis-based corporate blogging company). I’ve been blogging for a long time on the Marketing Technology Blog – I think I’ve been blogging for about six years now – and have a tremendous following on the blog. We get around 40,000 unique visitors a month on the blog and it’s a very centered demographic. The core of the visitors are CMOs and directors of marketing.

DK New Media is the agency that I built up. I had done email work at ExactTarget and blogging work at Compendium  and started doing a lot with SEO and pay-per-click and all of these other vehicles and what we saw was there was a gap in the industry as far as people who understood how to put all the pieces together and conduct what Forrester calls an omni-channel approach to marketing. DK New Media does a lot of “outsourced CMO” work, where we’ll be your CMO-for-hire for companies that may not have many resources. For other companies like ChaCha, we’re a trusted advisor and for folks like Webtrends it’s a hybrid where we do a lot of the work, but they also have some incredible internal marketing minds.

Our job is basically to prove ROI to our clients. So what we do, more than anything else, is inbound marketing – setting up analytics properly, getting a wholesale approach and adding a piece at a time – and then always showing clients their return on investment and how to measure it. I think that’s a differentiator in the industry because a lot of people, social media consultants especially, don’t actually go for the ROI for their clients.

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Explaining QR Codes

QR codes are starting to pop up in more and more places. From outdoor billboards (see the image at right) to Twitter avatars to magazine ads, the proliferation of smartphones is helping fuel a huge increase in QR codes.

So what exactly are QR codes? In short, QR codes are 2D barcodes that contain embedded information – a website URL, contact information, a link to a Twitter account or other information about a product or service. You can scan a QR code by using a QR reader on your smartphone or iPod Touch. I like ScanLife (a free download for  Blackberry, Android, iOS and Windows Phones) as it allows you to scan QR codes as well as standard barcodes, but there are dozens of free and paid QR scanners out there. I actually scanned the standard barcode on a children’s book the other day and it brought me to an info page that talked about the book and gave me links to purchase the book online.

Arkansas QR in Ad ExampleArkansas’s Tourism office started utilizing QR codes in their 2010 Tour Guide and in print ads this year. If you scan the QR code embedded in their ad (click for a larger version), you’ll be redirected to a page on Arkansas Tourism’s website that gives you more information about things to do and places to go in The Natural State. In fact, if you look through Arkansas’ 2010 Tour Guide (and presumably their 2011 guide) there are QR codes sprinkled throughout that give the reader more information about the page they’re reading – an excellent way to extend the print experience to online.

Ryan Adams Concert Poster QRAnother great example is this Ryan Adams concert poster. If you scan the QR code, it brings you to a landing page where you can download a free live version of one of his songs and it also features a link to buy tickets to Ryan Adams concerts through TicketMaster.

Those are just a handful of examples of how some companies are starting to use QR codes to extend users’ experience from print or outdoor to the web. Smartphones and QR codes can offer businesses the ability to provide more and more targeted information to consumers in spaces that are traditionally space-limited like outdoor advertising, signage or print ads.

Social Mediarology Contact InfoThere are even people who have started putting QR codes on their business cards. Simply scan the code and you can easily add the person’s contact info to your address book. That’s so much easier than coming back from a conference and having to manually add dozens of business cards into your contact list. In fact, if you scan the QR code on the left, you can add my contact information to your address book.

Have you seen any interesting examples of QR codes?

Four On Friday: Social Media Recap

Check out these articles to see what you may have missed this week:

1: Facebook Introduces One-Time Passwords Via Text | PC Magazine

Social Mediarology thinks: For as much flak as Facebook has received lately for their lack concern for users’ privacy, this is yet another step in the right direction. Facebook also recently released the ability to log out of other locations remotely and this One-Time Password feature is just another way Facebook really is looking out for their members. If you’ve ever felt nervous about logging into Facebook on a public computer, this is a great way to check in on Facebook without the worry.

2: Klout Now Measures Your Influence on Facebook | Mashable

Social Mediarology thinks: Klout’s influence score has become one of few widely-recognized and respected Twitter influence scores on the web today. You’ll find Klout’s scores baked into Twitter clients like HootSuite. Klout’s foray into Facebook is interesting because while finding a definitive influence score for Twitter or Facebook is nearly impossible, it seems much more difficult to do so for Facebook, where there are many more variables to take into account that for Twitter.

3: Skype 5.0 Busts Out of Beta, Integrates Facebook Friends | Engadget

Social Mediarology thinks: There have been rumors for a few weeks about the integration of Skype and Facebook and half of the equation is now solved. With the 5.0 release of Skype, Windows users can log into Skype and bring all their Facebook friends with them. Then next step will be Facebook pulling Skype into their own chat application to create Skype-enabled text, audio and video chatting. While many businesses are starting to use Skype more and more, their integration with Facebook will bring more users to Skype.

4: URL Shortener Now Generates QR Codes | Mashable

Social Mediarology thinks: QR codes are gaining popularity with the advent of mobile apps that can easily scan this new style of barcode. Foursquare even allows users to scan a QR code that will check them in to a location. While QR codes are still in their infancy, they are becoming more common and has done themselves a great service by making QR code creation so simple (just append .qr to the end of a URL and they’ll display your QR code. Take a picture of the one above using a QR code scanning app on your mobile phone and it’ll redirect you to