posted by Accounts
Do you know what a QR code is?
Recently, I have asked this very question to a number of people. Some know exactly what I’m talking about, while others look at me a little bit perplexed. Once I show them a picture of one, they usually have an idea. Quick response codes or QR codes are those black and white squares that have been sprouting up everywhere. From magazine advertisements and business cards to the bananas in the produce section at your local grocery store, these squares are all over the place.
This two-dimensional bar code was developed by a Japanese company, Denso Wave, to track Toyota vehicles throughout the manufacturing process. They have come a long way since their start in the automotive industry; businesses big and small are using them as a way to interact with their consumers. I could even go online right now and create a QR code for myself, connecting individuals to my LinkedIn profile, Twitter page or blog. People sometimes include them on resumes, allowing potential employers to access a portfolio of their work.
Anyone with a smartphone can download a scanner app, giving them quick access to the plethora of information stored in those black and white squares.
The high rate of accessibility QR codes possess contributes to their continued widespread use in marketing materials. I recently found a code on a postcard I received in the mail for the Bellefaire Biathlon, an event that I have supported for a number of years. With a quick scan of the code, I was able to register for the event and make a donation.
Keep in mind that QR codes may not be the best marketing tool for everyone, especially if they aren’t done right. During my informal surveying process, I compiled some tips and considerations for using a QR code.
- Test – Nothing is more frustrating than a QR code that doesn’t work. I’ve spent my fair share of time hovering over poorly produced QR codes that won’t scan. There are a number of scanners in the app store, so be sure to test your code on different apps and devices. Here at thunder::tech, when we create a QR code for a client or for our own materials, we always test them on multiple devices with several different scanner apps.
- Placement – I have seen a QR code on a billboard along a busy street. Can someone please tell me how I am supposed to scan that? I haven’t tried to do it while driving, but I’m pretty sure that might pose a safety issue. However, there could be some merit to installing QR codes in eye-catching places. Even if they aren’t in an optimal place for people to scan and drive traffic to your website (i.e. a giant one spanning the rooftop of a building), they could become a conversation piece for your brand. Consider your end goal before choosing where to place your code.
Instruction – Give people information about what they can learn by scanning the code. Throughout my surveying of friends and family, the primary complaint was that they didn’t really know what the code was going to do for them. Give them a call to action such as, “scan here to register for an event,” “view a recipe” or “get more information” and don’t forget to remind them they’ll need to download and use an app to scan the code.
Audience – Who are you trying to target and where? A mother of two toddlers is more likely to scan a code from a magazine ad during nap time than one that’s on a package or display while she’s grocery shopping with her kids in tow.
Some may argue that QR codes aren’t worthwhile, but if done right and with the right reasoning behind them, they may just work for you. Think outside that black and white box; sometimes you have to go big or go home
About the author::
Kristin Kozel is an account manager at thunder::tech. When she isn’t working hard to meet her client’s needs, you can find her playing recreational softball, trying new restaurants in the Cleveland area or spending time with her family and friends.
TAGS: thundertech, code, scanner, scan, QR code, history, tips, consider, iphone, android, test, reader, read, marketing, QR
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