In one of the course lectures for the Digital Innovation in Mobile Marketing and Communication class we talked about QR codes. I hadn’t thought about them in a long time. It was probably about 8 or 9 years ago when I first heard about them. (They have been around since 1994.) It was at work and someone suggested we use them in our subscription marketing. It would be so cutting-edge and revolutionary! We built QR codes into our direct mail campaigns. We put them on the order forms and on the outer envelope. We used them on signage at conferences. All these years later I don’t recall the exact results, but I do remember they didn’t amount to much and after about a year we stopped.
A few years later we tried QR codes again. This time to drive traffic to our cardiology journals. Two conferences were identified – one in the U.S. and another in Europe. In our booth we had materials promoting groundbreaking cardiology research published in our journals and the QR code took you to the article online. The European conference came first and the QR codes drove some decent traffic. Everyone was pleased. Next up was the U.S. conference. Expectations were high. Results were barely in the double digits. And that was mainly from staff. What happened? After some analysis, we surmised that QR codes were not really used, especially in the U.S. People didn’t tend to have the app.
It seems that QR codes have been making a comeback. Technology has changed and makes the codes more appealing and easier to use. By 2022, it is expected that 5.3 billion QR code coupons will be redeemed by smartphones and 1 billion smartphones will access QR codes. (Juniper Research)
They are more enticing – No longer just black and white, QR codes can be customized with color, logos, and different shapes
They are dynamic – No longer static, it can be edited. The flexible destination URLs add flexibility related to time – based on season, one-time launch, or day of the week – and the device used.
They can deliver an AR experience – IKEA uses QR codes in its mailings so users can view the object in their space.
There are many way brands can engage with customers through QR codes, from downloading apps, to shopping, signing-up for newsletters and loyalty programs, linking to social media, and in stores to provide shoppers with an experiential experience. And so much more!
I think it may be time for my marketing team to dust off that QR code and put it back to use.