You may not have heard about QR codes, or understand their significance. You may of course have spotted them on posters, billboards or even on the back of buses. But, do you really know what they are, and what their purpose is? Do you appreciate how this series of dots and squiggles can have a powerful affect on mobile marketing? Well, hopefully this article will go some way to answering those questions.
2D or QR codes (Quick Response, which they are now more frequently called) are 2 dimensional data matrix codes that were originally created by Denso Wave Corp (part of Toyota) in 1994. They are often used for adding web links to a printed page. Each code holds up to 4700 alpha-numeric digits and when decoded resolves to an action. QR codes are an easy way of sending people to a website without having to type a URL. When you scan such a QR bar code using a web cam or mobile phone camera, the QR reader application can open a link to a mobile website, download video content to your mobile, deliver personalised vouchers, enable m-commerce sites or put the information of a business card in the memory of your mobile. In fact, as mobiles get more and more powerful, it is only our own imagination that restricts the use of QR codes in marketing.
What are the benefits of marketing with QR Codes?
By 2013, more people will browse the internet via their mobiles and iPods than they will their PCs and laptops. The great benefit of QR codes is that you can just add the QR code artwork to any advertising, literature, exhibition panels or other communications you are producing to practically any scale, from the back of a business card to the side of a bus! Once the code is scanned by any smart phone, it will deliver a link and enable the person browsing to become interactively involved with your brand. QR codes can, however, contain much more information than simply links to websites.
What sort of information can QR codes contain?
- A QR code on a business card can contain an electronic version of the contact information. Scan the code and the reader application adds the contact to your address list.
- A QR code can contain event information. Scan the code on a poster for a concert and the app will automatically add its name, date and location to the agenda on your smartphone or PC.
- A QR code can contain an SMS with phone number and text. Scan the code and the scanning app lets you automatically participate in some contest to win prices.
- A QR code can contain an e-mail message with a subject and message text. That message can be a request for information so that in return you might get a reply email with additional information and attached files.
- A QR code can contain a geographical location. By scanning the code on a poster or advertisement, details of the location of for instance a restaurant or a cinema can be sent directly to your navigation software, informing you how to get to that place.
- A QR code can contain WIFI configuration data. Scan the code and your Android device automatically configures itself to use the wireless access at a hotel or public building offering this service.
How can QR codes make mobile marketing more powerful?
Using QR codes will undoubtedly give forward-thinking businesses numerous new opportunities to take their messages to consumers and build the momentum of their brands. QR codes can add a new dimension to mobile marketing, by allowing brands to:
- Build stronger customer relationships
- Provide an additional channel to sales
- Be seen as an innovative company
- Deliver promotions and communications to customers wherever they are
- Send video messaging to your customers’ mobiles
- Turn traditional print and media interactive
- Monitor and track campaigns with real time responses
- Build a database of new customers with ‘permission to use’