A New Marketing Phenomenon

A New Marketing Phenomenon

Recently I’ve been fascinated by QR codes. Do you know what they are? You should. A QR code (abbreviation for Quick Response code) is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera telephones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, URL, or other data.

Recently, QR codes have become more prevalent in marketing circles and have been integrated into both traditional and interactive campaigns. Media where QR codes have been deployed include: billboard ads, guerrilla marketing campaigns, and displays, event ticketing and tracking, trade-show management, business cards, print ads, contests, direct mail campaigns, websites, email marketing, and couponing just to name a few. QR codes are of particular interest to marketers, giving them the “ability to measure response rates with a high degree of precision” allowing for easier ROI (return on investment) calculation, thus helping to justify spending on marketing budgets. QR codes also have been used at trade shows and in conferences. Here’s how you can use this technology to improve your business:

In an article that I recently picked up called “Want to Use QR Codes? Two Critical Steps,” the author asserts that there are two parts to driving QR adoption in your audience. Here are his thoughts:

1) Educate your audience about what a QR code is, what they need to read it (smartphone and app), and the fact that they need to scan/take a picture of the code to get to the content.

2) Create compelling non-print content or print content that is not possible to share on the given card/menu/sign.

To provide a little history, QR codes are common in Japan, where it was created by a subsidiary of Toyota in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. The QR code was created to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.

How can QR codes be used as marketing tools? Earlier this year a video game had a level in the shape of a QR code that yielded a password for use elsewhere in the game. Further, parts of another QR code were shown in a collection of game screenshots. When assembled, the QR code was revealed to be a URL of a countdown at Valve’s Aperture Science website.

Now do you get it a bit? QR codes are about teasing the audience to get them to go certain places or perform certain tasks that will promote your business.

Here’s another example: a newspaper uses QR codes to link to video content on their webpage. There is no way for the paper to share that via their traditional print product so this is a great use of QR codes, and with the way they explain the procedure anyone who reads the article and is interested will likely give it a try with their smartphone. Driving traffic and engagement with the newspaper’s online presence and if the content is high quality it is likely the next time the reader comes across a QR code from this newspaper they will simply scan without much prodding. That’s the idea after all.

Why not try it? It’s a new way to drive traffic and interest, two things every successful company needs.