Creative Marketing with QR Codes
They’re still showing up, and in greater numbers: Those white backgrounds with black designs on any product—waiting to be scanned, followed by a display of all the info a customer could want before deciding on whether or not to buy said product. Yes, the QR code continues its strong and steady comeback, and it may well become a major asset to marketing.
The ups and downs of the QR code saga
As reported late last year—from its introduction in the early 1990s to today—the journey of the QR code has been a dramatic series of peaks and valleys. In its early days, there was criticism of the original app technology that made the scanning of codes difficult. Eventually, smartphone technology was developed to enable the scanning of QR codes directly from native camera apps. And last year, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging, the option to make contactless payments and access information about everything from store merchandise to restaurant menus made QR codes a welcome accessory to many people.
Today, QR codes are branching out (no, breaking out)
Today, QR codes have not only grown in usage—but in capability. A recent article in Clear Channel Airports provided a checklist of how this technology is extending beyond giving consumers information related to browsing and buying. Industries have taken notice of the QR explosion and are adopting them in various methods to make more of a connection with potential customers. These methods include:
- Content: Microsites, e-books, instructions, locations, e-learning, and schedules
- Entertainment: Music playlists, videos, trailers, and games
- Prompts: Downloading apps, dialing phone numbers, texting, signing up for newsletters, and sending RSVPs to invitations
- Shopping: Coupons, promos, payments, menus, recipes
- Interactive: Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) experiences
Brands can benefit from implementing QR codes, as they will be more accessible to customers in ways that are both affordable and easily trackable.
And, here's a point that marketers should keep in mind for planning ahead: The Clear Channel Airports article—citing findings from a recent survey conducted by The Drum/YouGov—stated that 75 percent of Americans intend to use QR codes in the future.
First-party data and QR codes
Hal Koss, writing for Built In, confirms the benefits of how QR codes have the potential to reach customers, but goes on to point out that this technology can also collect first-party data. This will be a major asset to marketers as they make the gradual shift away from third-party tracking, which is predicted to be over by the end of 2023.
Steps that may take QR codes further into the future
To make QR codes even more accessible to customers—which in turn will benefit marketing—Mr. Koss offered insights from several experts with this technology:
- For physical items, calls-to-action should be clearer and even attractive. Alex Wan, co-founder and CEO of Periphery Digital, stated that most QR codes are plain and straightforward. If these codes had more visual appeal, consumers would take notice, be more likely to scan them, and learn about what’s being offered.
- Dynamic QR codes. Sharat Potharaju, co-founder and CEO of MobStac, believes that as popularity of QR codes grows, so will the “dynamic QR code,” which can direct users to different campaigns where factors such as time, location, and date serve as a collective common denominator. The dynamic QR code is seamless, and it provides a personally relevant experience to anyone who is scanning for information.
- Social media advertising. Potharaju also points out that when a particular QR code is scanned, information such as the device used and the location of the user can be applied to relevant ads that will be displayed to them on Google or Facebook.
- The in real life (IRL) possibilities. As proof of the forward-thinking efforts behind QR codes, Mr. Koss notes that QR codes are also being used as digital extensions of actual objects, and points out how museums have been conducting a similar practice by letting visitors find out information on certain works of art with their mobile phones.
So, the QR code is not only making a comeback—it may revolutionize marketing. Whether one is a fan of QR codes or still remembers how difficult it was to scan them a decade ago, they are here and going forward. If nothing else, the progression of the QR code should be looked at as an unrealized opportunity to be used in marketing.
Could your business use some new opportunities to become more visible? EGC can help you discover them. Contact us today.
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