QR codes in 2013 and Beyond
Exploring the marketing potential of QR Codes
As it stands, QR codes are enjoying a comeback. Touted as the next big thing, QR codes were catapulted into the limelight in Japan – courtesy of a Toyota subsidiary – and they have been introduced into multiple industries since. With everyone’s curiosity piqued, traditional QR codes appeared to have lost some of their shine over the years. The general consensus is that black and white QR codes, as standalone marketing resources, are ineffective at engaging people to scan and interact with them. The challenge therefore was finding ways and means of incorporating QR codes in such a way that they are visually appealing and results oriented.
The missing link was found in the form of ‘visually appealing’ QR codes. With a strong focus on tempting customers or passersby, the aesthetically pleasing QR code not only generates a ‘Stop and Scan’ response, it also encourages much higher levels of sharing, engagement and has a higher call to action rate than standard black and white QR codes. This begs the question: how do you incorporate QR codes as part of an effective overall business marketing strategy?
To the Future: QR Codes Pave the Way
Presently, QR codes are fast regaining their footing as an effective marketing mechanism. The introduction of basic QR code marketing strategy has put paid to the notion that QR codes are defunct, ineffective or unappealing. The fact of the matter is that marketing departments and their designers are utilizing attractive QR codes to great effect. Companies and individuals have learned their lessons from the past and sound methodologies are now in place to facilitate effective management of QR code campaigns, in addition, the up and coming introduction of the Google Glass, which is set to utilize QR codes, may jumpstart a whole new avenue for QR code marketing and revenue (think augmented-reality marketing).
There is no doubt that wireless Internet is the way of the present and the future. Smartphone users are fast becoming the most dominant targeted market with an estimated 2 billion users around the world. On the go advertising is the norm and QR code campaigns are the go-to solution for marketing departments. The goal is to incentivise QR code marketing efforts in such a way that they engage customers on every level. Quick response codes are effective when they are well displayed, accessible, and enticing. To this end, they should be placed in strategically viable location such as: store displays, statements/invoices, real estate posts, posters in busy thoroughfares, on business cards, on promotional merchandise, and even at restaurants. As long as QR codes are cleverly used, they are a wealth of untapped potential.
To further illustrate the sheer potential that can be found in these codes, just mind the following statistics:
- Some 300 million QR codes were produced in China, during the month of September 2012.
- Total commerce from barcode scanning is expected to reach $50B by 2017.
- QR code usage among European phone owners as doubled the past year.
Bridging the Gap between Real & Virtual Worlds
Part of the dilemma facing marketing departments is the lack of complete understanding about QR codes. Fortunately, this can easily be solved by way of webinars, tutorials, instructional videos, e-books and a wealth of other QR codes informational sources. Mobile marketing has stamped its mark on the world and QR codes are the virtual bridge between a veritable multimedia universe and the physical realm. It is rather stunning to think that a two-dimensional black-and-white square can have such a dramatic impact on the way marketing can work. The numbers certainly speak volumes about the effectiveness of effective QR code marketing strategies. Often deemed the bridge between online media and off-line media, QR codes are fast appearing in adverts, print publications, billboards and beyond. Top name brands like Pepsi, Best Buy and Ralph Lauren already make use of QR codes and there is no limit to the potential they contain. The three step process to working with QR codes involves the following: scan the QR code, decode the QR code and view the landing page. QR codes are able to view websites, and dial telephone numbers, send SMS’s, send e-mails, download contact information, view maps or take you to a social media profile. The possibilities are endless. To get the most out of QR codes, it is imperative that you devise an effective marketing strategy first. Specify your target market, incentivise your marketing message and research the trends currently prevailing in the industry. QR codes can lead to many unique outcomes, including volunteer services, reviews and coupons, quizzes, donations, audio files, video files, e-books and beyond. These can all be used to add value to the user experience; thus increasing your return on investment.