You’ve probably been noticing lately that those weird black and white boxes are appearing in more and more places (on advertising media, in store windows and on product shelves). QR codes have finally made its way to US consumers, after having been widely popular in Japan. But how do you know if your target audience is using or even cares about QR codes?
QR stands for Quick Response, as in: allowing users to get information fast. QR codes can be used to display text to the user; open a URL to a video, webpage or microsite; or even add a vCard contact to a user’s device. The codes may appear in magazine ads, on signs, buses, business cards, direct mail, store displays, at trade shows or on just about any object which users might need additional information. You only need a cellphone with a camera and a reader app that scans the QR code image in order to display the intended data.
MGH, a marketing firm in Baltimore, conducted an online survey to determine awareness and usage of QR codes among smartphone users. Key findings from the survey include:
- 32% of respondents have used a QR code at least once
- 70% said they plan to use a QR code again or for the first time
- The top motivators for a user to scan a code are to get a discount, get more relevant information or to enter a sweepstakes.
The Good News.
1. No longer do you need to blast your consumers’ eyeballs with textual overload. So, instead of cramming every little bit of information about your product or service into a tiny quarter-page ad, a QR code might be the right way to go (as long as your audience isn’t made up of old geezers).
2. With a QR code, your consumers can easily be pointed to mobile-friendly microsites to receive highly relevant information. For example, a brick-and-mortar store can have QR codes that link to customer reviews or video testimonials about a particular product, helping consumers make better buying decisions.
3. QR codes are trackable. You can view how many scans, where those scans came from, even what type of phone scanned the code. These kinds of analytics can help you to decide whether or not QR codes are right for your marketing plan.
The Bad News.
1. Although there seems to be endless opportunities in QR code marketing, it remains unclear if it will really catch on for consumers in many US cities. This will continue to be an experimental tool until marketers can truly measure results. In addition, using a QR code may still need to be explained to your audience on how to use it.
2. Like any other form of marketing, in order for a QR code to be viewed as a success, it must have great content that’s worth sharing. It must be highly useful for the consumer. If you’re just using a new technology for the sake of being hip, then you probably won’t get the results you’re looking for. This funny article by Steve Smith can help you decide if a QR code is right for your business.
The Ugly News.
It has already begun: some people are getting QR codes tattooed on their bodies, which link to websites like Facebook. Fortunately, I believe they will soon realize that it’s just about as cool and original as having a barcode tattooed on the back of your neck.
To generate your own QR codes for your marketing material, contact us to learn how.
Watch this quick video about QR Codes from CBS’s Early Show.