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The QR Code: Passé or Pass It On?

November 13, 2012

When QR Codes first hit the scene they were touted as the lively contemporary version of the somewhat passé barcode.  But it seems that every six months or so since, someone asks whether or not the QR Code is in itself passé.

Perhaps it’s still too soon to tell.

QR Codes have potential to be a great tool for driving traffic to your website and expanding the life of your print materials into the online realm. And it seems that people are coming up with innovative ways of using them for marketing every day. Just follow the twitter hashtag #qrcode and you will find lists and examples galore. Comparison shopping? At educational kiosks? In the classroom? OEDb also shares some insight on how they are being used creatively in the publishing world with a list of 10 captivating concepts.

But there is still a question of whether the tool’s potential translates to usage by consumers. A post by Business Week earlier in the year revealed that only 5% of Americans scanned a QR code between May and July 2011. And, numerous companies are still experimenting with them to see if, when and how they are effective.

Here are some tips that when applied, may mean the difference between passé or pass it on.

1)    The QR code is for the mobile user. If your audience isn’t mobile (or can’t access a connection), don’t bother.

2)    QR codes have gained the most traction with the younger generation. If they aren’t a significant part of your audience—you might want to invest your energy in other marketing tools more apropos to your users.

3)    QR codes can be designed to better match your brand and may be more readily used if they are incorporated into your branding.

4)    Provide simple instructions on how to use the QR code and the specific benefit it will provide to the user. This is where creativity counts. It’s a tool of engagement. Be expressive, clever and enticing.

5)    There is some indication that users want some added benefit from the QR code. Going to a website is not enough, unless it includes incentives such as product discounts, unique opportunities, free downloads, etc.   

 

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