Quick Response (QR) codes were originally developed in Japan for use in tracking inventory through automotive manufacturers. Built on open source code, the technology quickly spread to other industries, including marketing. In the mass communications field, they are now used to connect companies and firms with customers and prospects instantly. They are quick, cheap and easy to deploy. They take a split second to generate on a computer and can be displayed on screens or in print without any special manufacturing process. With the prevalence of QR codes in advertising communications today, free QR reading applications have become readily available and simple to use.
With their precision and inexpensive deployment, QR codes open up new avenues for marketers to extend their brands. Here are a few ideas to help you see how they can be applied to help you connect with your customers more easily, primarily through their mobile phones.
Connect your printed materials to your mobile website
Bridge the gap between your printed literature and your Web presence by sending customers to specific pages within your site for more information on a product or a special offer as a call to action.
Put a code on your business cards
Printing the codes on your company’s cards will help your customers and contacts quickly find your contact information and get them to your website for more detailed information about your business.
Include one on signage at retail locations
They can provide fast information about new products and promotions when included on in-store signage. For example, people standing in line at a bank could scan to instantly learn more about a new checking account product.
Place it on products themselves to provide extra information
If you want to get more information (e.g. nutritional information or care instructions for clothing) on your packaging then a scannable tag or QR code will be able to do this for you. Place them on book covers, food labels or magazine articles, for example.
No longer tied to a desktop browser, our fast-paced society now demands access to a broad range of information anytime and anywhere via smartphones. This has created the opportunity to facilitate our connections between the physical and digital worlds. Where there were hyperlinks in monitors to provide us information, now there are “real-world links,” jump-points like billboard that are embedded in our daily surroundings, linking us to context-sensitive Web content.
Marketers would be wise to experiment with the different capabilities, and as when they gather mainstream support, one thing seems for sure: the connection of real-world items to specific Internet content is only a short distance away.