QR codes are quickly becoming a part of any integrated marketing campaign. Also known as quick response codes, they are a useful way to encourage consumers to interact with a brand. They can be used to direct a magazine reader to a product’s ecommerce site, give additional product information or deliver a special coupon. 

Who is using QR codes?

According to a 2011 study conducted by marketing firm MGH, QR code awareness is high among smartphone users. One-third of them have used QR codes, and two-thirds have seen one. Users who were aware of QR codes tended to be more educated and affluent, and the majority used one to get a coupon or additional information. The largest majority of users were ages 35-54 and users were almost evenly split between men and women. As more well-known brands incorporate QR codes into their marketing campaigns, awareness is certain to grow in all demographics.

How do I use them effectively?

There are some very basic steps to take before employing a QR code in a campaign. Before trying the fancy stuff, ensure the basics are in place:

  • Give the potential user a website URL to download a code reader. Mobile-Barcodes.com has an extensive list.
  • The QR code should go to a site designed specifically for mobile.
  • The QR code should not be in a place with poor cell reception such as a subway stop or underground office.
  • Measure the success of QR codes with a trackable URL, which will provide stats on the number of QR code scans per hour as well as the devices used.

The most important thing to remember in effective QR code use is to provide value for the consumer. This can certainly be a coupon or promotion, but also think of information or a service as added value. An instructional video that provides information on how to use a product (along with selling points) provides value. So does services such as a Store Finder or ecommerce solution.

Unique applications

There have been some excellent examples of how to use QR codes to increase brand engagement by adding value for the user. Starbucks got an early jump on the movement with the Starbucks Card Mobile Application. Customers load an account with money, and the pull up their account’s QR code at the register for quick and easy payment. The QR code provides the added value of convenience and time saving.

In February, Jimmy Fallon broke the late-night show tradition of holding up the performing band’s album cover. Instead of the album, he flashed a QR code that led viewers to an exclusive music video. The clip became a trending topic on Twitter, magnifying exposure for both the band and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Web-based event registration site Eventbrite experimented with using QR codes at registration desks. Whether it’s a conference or a concert, attendees hate waiting in a long line just to fill out an attendee form. When attendees registered with Eventbrite they were sent a QR code in their confirmation. Event coordinators quickly scanned the codes, gathering attendee information quickly and accurately.

These are just a few examples of the creative and engaging ways QR codes can be used. Think of the growing use of QR codes as an opportunity to develop new ways of engaging with the people who care about your brand.

Via Nick Jerome
About the Guest Author:  
Nick Jerome is a marketing services manager at FASTSIGNS®, a visual communications services provider with more than 550 locations around the world. 

on: qr codes – nailing the basics and adding value for consumers via @jpenabickley