QR codes provide an added integrated dimension

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Quick Response codes have become one of the hottest trends in integrated marketing today; and, because their popularity continues to increase, marketers should be asking how QR codes can benefit their campaigns. With more business executives relying on smartphones to stay in contact with their work, marketers can use QR codes to tie together mobile, online and print media in their integrated marketing campaigns. In response, QR code momentum is picking up. Mobile tech company Mobio Technologies recently reported that QR code scanning in North America increased almost 10,000% from the second quarter of 2010 to this year's second quarter. A QR code can enhance already powerful printed marketing materials with an interactive mobile response, an immediate call to action at the moment of emotion that bridges the physical world with the online one. Because they work as links to online rather than fixed content, QR codes provide the flexibility to support campaigns for almost any product or service. Here are some examples:
  • QR codes on postcards can direct potential buyers instantly to an online catalog, optimized for mobile device viewing, to review available products and services.
  • If your product or service requires a demonstration, a QR code can direct your prospects to an online video.
  • QR codes on the labels of shipped products or invoices can help generate repeat orders and facilitate online payments.
  • Hotels can include QR codes in direct mail and ads to show conference facilities, video tours and dinner menus, as well as allow users to make inquires online when their interest is high.
  • QR codes can link to different pages at a company's website to test an ad or promotion to see what is working and what isn't. Similarly, you can offer different QR codes to different target groups to test response.
  • A QR code on your business card makes it easy for customers to quickly add your contact info to their phone contact lists.
  • Personalize your QR codes by having them embedded with a personalized URL (PURL), which takes a user to a customized microsite. These can be made for every prospect on a mailing list.
There continues to be discussion about whether to use QR codes or other emerging 2-D barcode technology. For example, some marketers have chosen to use Microsoft Tags because they offer more color customization than QR codes. However, since QR codes are more popular at this point, it's likely your targeted audience will have QR code readers installed on their phones rather than Microsoft's proprietary reader. If you do decide to use Microsoft Tags or another form of barcode technology, it is important to include directions on how to scan it because general awareness of them is not as high as with QR codes. When using QR codes, be sure your service provider or the software programs you use allow for a robust tracking system. Good tracking programs can determine how many QR code scans happened each day, the times of those scans and the locations. Back-end reporting becomes even more detailed when a prospect interacts with a customized microsite through a PURL and engages with your brand. Today, it's critical to find ways to reach prospects through a variety of channels that will advance the customer relationship and boost return on investment of any integrated marketing and sales initiative. Enhancing printed marketing materials with QR codes offers your target audience the option of interacting with your brand quickly—anytime, anywhere—and offers you the golden opportunity to immediately capture and respond to that lead. David Henkel is president of integrated direct-marketing company Johnson and Quin ( He can be reached at [email protected]
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