Most marketers are failing to use QR codes in smart ways; and, many consumers are not paying attention to QR codes because marketers often do not provide incentives and/or a good reason to use them.
As blogger Ashley Brown noted in her article, 5 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch, recently published on Mashable, QR codes appear to be just a “nerdy marketing gimmick.” She describes her encounter with a QR code during a recent shopping trip to Sephora:
I simply do not understand the success of QR codes… on a recent shopping trip to Sephora, I noticed the use of QR codes to collect additional information about products around the store. Considering I am admittedly secluded within the tech industry, I was anxious to know just how successful a somewhat “nerdy” marketing gimmick could be on the average, everyday consumer. So, I quickly asked a nearby sales clerk, “How many shoppers do you generally see scanning your QR codes each day?” Her response: “What is a QR code?”
There are many SMART ways marketers can use QR codes to collect data, track ROI of marketing campaigns, and deliver RELEVANT content to consumers. It’s just not being done that much right now.
Using her Sephora experience as an example, rather than simply linking to more product information after she scanned the QR code, they could have provided her with a coupon—instantly delivered to her cell phone—in exchange for her address or her subscription to their eNewsletter. They’d get something out of the transaction (customer/prospect data along with the opportunity to close a sale) and she’d get something out of it (a coupon that could be used immediately while she was still in the retail environment).
Done correctly, unique QR codes on printed materials may be used to deliver information that is both useful to and meaningful for a consumer. For example, imagine a family with a child getting a direct mail postcard from a photo studio. The postcard could feature a unique QR code that offers driving directions from the family’s home to the nearest photo studio location.
Since the QR code is unique and tied to a specific recipient, the marketer will have the ability to see who responds to a marketing piece and when. This type of data could then be used to further refine and personalize marketing messages or for targeted follow-up campaigns.
To explore other smart ways in which digital response technologies, like unique QR codes and SMS, can be integrated with print to provide value to both marketer and consumer, watch the short video on QuantumDigital’s site.