Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Death of the QR Code?

Courtesy of FastCompany.com
Posted by Amanda Walsh


Remember QR codes? Those funny looking black and white boxes that seemed to be popping up everywhere? If you’re not familiar with what a Quick Response (QR) Code is, that’s ok and you may not be alone.


A QR Code is a type of barcode that is used to store information and share it with the user who scans the barcode with their smartphone. The code could take the user to a video, a v-card for contact information or a website. For more, check out the Wikipedia article.


In this Mashable.com article, 5 Reasons why QR Codes are broken, Dan Wilkerson questions the real-world uses of QR codes and outlines a few reasons why QR codes may have not taken off in popularity as expected.


A study of college students by ArchRival “found that out of 534 of our nation’s best and brightest, 78.5% didn’t know how to scan a QR code.” It seems that those outside of the marketing realm have little, if any, idea what QR codes are. Marketers need to overcome that challenge by building awareness and including directions on how to scan the code and what phone apps to use.


Marketers love QR codes for their ease of creation, traceability and affordability, but many consumers just don’t see the benefits, continues Wilkerson. Consumers need an enticing reason to scan the code. This is why it’s imperative to include some type of call to action and incentive. Some incentives might include a free e-book or whitepaper or a steep discount for a service or product. And, if it takes too much effort, the likelihood that a consumer will engage with the QR code and scan it is very low.


Wilkerson notes the importance of location of the code on your marketing material. QR codes have popped up on billboards, on food, buildings and even on banners flown by airplanes. How is anyone going to get close enough to scan a flying QR code while it flies 30,000 feet in the air? When considering location, the code needs to be easily accessible for the consumer to scan and benefit from the information.


“At Furia Rubel, we serve many professional service clients who may or may not be using QR codes in their marketing mix,” said VP of Marketing Laura Powers. “A few effective ideas, that take into consideration some of the snafus above, include putting QR codes on business cards for v-card downloads, directing people to special landing pages on mobile-optimized websites and offering videos that quickly supply important information.”


If your QR code entices someone to scan it, make sure it’s worth their while to do so and give them good, relevant and useful content to share.

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