Do QR codes make great marketing tools?

In a recent post, I asked what people thought would be the hottest trend in 2011. A lot of responses discussed the popularity of location-based social networking sites, but there were also quite a few mentions of QR codes.

QR codes are those interesting, fuzzy-looking squares that you may have seen pop up recently on

qrcodeproduct containers, convenience store shelving, or even online. First established in Japan in 1994, the QR code is a 2-dimensional barcode consisting of black elements arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The intent is to scan data at very high speeds, usually with a camera phone or barcode reader. Due to an estimate projecting that, in 2012, more smartphones will be sold than PCs, QR codes are going to affect the way websites are designed and products are promoted.

Take an athletic shoe product, for example. At the next World Shoe Association trade show, a company can add a simple QR code to its handout, which links to a sweepstakes landing page providing key information or even a special offer. Or perhaps it can be taken further to incorporate the product and the use of a durable hiking shoe by creating a QR scan treasure hunt – where each scan links to a new splash page featuring a clue to the next one.

QR codes can be used to swap contact information. Instead of exchanging business cards, a single QR code can be scanned, and the contact information will save to your smartphone.

As this technology becomes more and more popular, there are a few ideas that should be considered to optimize results:

  1. Offer exclusive prizes, offers, or information to those scanning the QR code that are different than what is available to everyone else.
  2. Optimize the website for mobile-browsing.
  3. Include an obvious call-to-action so that the audience is encouraged to scan the code.
  4. Establish a plan to engage people who scan the code over time, rather than a one-time promotion.

The important idea to remember is that QR codes create a new opportunity to enhance the relationship with a customer/prospect who has already engaged with the brand, building positive word of mouth or even a future sale.

– Jonathan Ginburg, Senior Account Executive

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5 Comments

Filed under Digital, Online Adveritising, Social Media

5 responses to “Do QR codes make great marketing tools?

  1. I think your last paragraph sums it up very nicely. QR codes allow marketers to engage a customer beyond the first touch point and further immerse them into the brand. That will help develop relationships in unique ways.

    -TJ

  2. I think QR codes are going to catch on to many other areas of marketing. I could see an avid tweeter or a corporate tweeter simply adding a QR code to a tweet which then allows a user to grab the code and get a discount. The potential with these is limitless. I’m a fan. But sadly, i definitely think it could be overused.

  3. In my industry, PR & Social Media for Horticultural companies, QR codes are being added to plant labels provide consumers with additional how-to-grow-and-plant information at retail.
    Exciting field.

    • kilgannonsays

      That’s very interesting. Are you offering any kind of best practices or even photo entries to see successful plant growth?

  4. I believe it is a bit overused already. I see many ads on the train with QR codes most of them are poorly done or done just to be “interactive”. I think you made a great point by having people engage over time rather than just having a “one-stop shop” QR code.

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