Quick Response (QR) codes have been around for many years as a form of mobile tagging. Chances are you have encountered QR codes on boarding passes or UPS shipping labels. These black and white mosaics have incredible marketing potential, too—scanning a QR code image can connect the viewer with a Web site, lead to a YouTube video, create a Vcard, place a phone call or send a text message or e-mail. It is a great way to connect your print and online communications media.
Anyone with a phone that has a built-in camera and the ability to download applications can utilize this technology. Some of the newer smartphones have a scanning application pre-installed, but plenty of readers, such as QuickMark, Kaywa, NeoReader, ScanLife, and Zxing, are available for download
and support a wide range of mobile devices. Best of all, some
of them are free!
A recent Nielsen survey estimated that 1 in 2 Americans
expect to purchase a smartphone by Christmas 2011.
Compare that to the summer of 2008 when just one in 10 had a smartphone. The takeaway here is that QR technology will soon be at the fingertips of the masses.
It is also easy to generate QR codes, with or without a smartphone. Many QR reader applications also have a feature to generate code, and there are several free generators online, including Kerem Erkan, BeQRious, QuickMark, Kaywa and Zxing.
So what is the future for QR codes? Will they be a marketing fixture or fad? Nobody can say for certain, but they have been utilized in Japan and Europe for many years to engage consumers. Given the strength of the U.S. smartphone market, one would expect this method of marketing to catch on in a fairly significant way.
How can you utilize QR codes to better engage your audience and stand apart from your competitors? Check out these ideas, and let us know what you’re doing with QR codes!