Feb 1, 2011
Just when we were mastering (as if) Twitter, Tumblr and Threadsy, a new technology (at least for some) rears its ugly head, making us all further scratch our own to determine whether or not we want to jump on yet another technological bandwagon. Originated by a Japanese auto parts maker (no surprise there) and moving with a strong headwind from the West Coast, the new shiny object is QR codes, and if you aren’t using QR codes in your business, you may as well close up shop (according to some).
QR stands for Quick Response. Think bar codes, but with more data encrypted in the actual code, which looks like a cross between a bar code on a quart of milk and the Rorshach ink blot test. The only required hardware for users is a Smart Phone downloaded with a free QR reader application like i-nigma. You simply point the camera to the two-dimensional code and scan (like that quart of milk in the check-out line), and your phone displays whatever real-time data (text, URL, YouTube or otherwise) was embedded in that particular code.
Users can download information from a QR code anywhere. If you’re lost on a large hospital campus, look for a sign with a QR code to get directions. If you want more details about a new movie, scan the ad for it. If you’re in the market for a house, take a virtual tour of the listing by scanning the QR code on the For Sale sign.
Retailers like Ralph Lauren and Coca-Cola are among early adopters that incorporate QR codes in their existing print and other marketing tools. It’s a savvy way to get their brand in front of consumers through online and offline avenues. Simply put, the QR code is another vehicle to instantly access information that can be part of a purchase decision, provide a branding opportunity or simply give basic data.
Getting customized QR codes is easy and free through multiple programs. But before you start splashing it all over everything, you need to develop a strategy for implementation like every other marketing venue you consider. So what if you get a QR code – how are your target audiences going to know what it is, how to access it and what to do with it? These questions simply beg for another post for explanation. Not to worry, check back next week.
In the meantime, what are you hearing about QR codes? Please share.
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