Over the past week I have read no less than ten separate blog posts about QR codes.
It seems that these little codes are supposed to free us from the chains that bind us and somehow make our contact and marketing information fly into the hands of ready and waiting clients.
I've read about people wanting to replace fliers and even about replacing business cards with QR Codes.
There is no questoin that QR codes offer some unique and exciting marketing opportunities. That said, the United States buyer has to adopt the technology before it reaches it's full potential here in the US. The QR code was first adopted in 1994. It is widely accepted in Europe and Japan, but most US buyers don't have the software embedded in their phones - yet! While that is changing quickly in the US, we are not there - YET.
What Are QR Codes:
QR Codes stands for Quick Response meaning that a client can snap a picture of the code and be quickly be given more information about a product or topic. They allow everyday things such as business cards and signs to hyper-link to a website where more information can be provided. QR Codes can hold up to 7000 characters (both vertically and horizontally) so they are powerful marketing tools.
It's important to know that not all US phones have cameras and most are still not embedded with the necessary software that allows users to read the codes. In our 2010 marketing environment, users have to download an app that allows them read the codes. This means that the user has to adopt the technology. In the next few years this will change. Phones will come pre-loaded with QR readers and allow for easier adoption. Until that happens marketers need to blend old technology with new technology. We cannot risk ignoring clients who have not yet adopted the technology.
Some do's and don's on using QR Codes:
- DO implement and incorporte the QR code into your marketing.
- DO be an early adopter
- DO educate the consumer on the QR codes value and how it will help them.
- DO include information and call to action information in your QR Codes - aka add value.
- DON'T replace what we know works with a technoligy that is still in it's infancy.