QR Codes: Useful or Pointless?

QR Codes have been around longer than you might think, but have only recently become an important tool in the world of mobile marketing. The codes can be seen in countries where mobile usage is a part of everyday life, which now comprises the whole of the developed world and even some developing areas. With the rise of smartphones around the world, it's everywhere.

Companies use QR codes for consumers to unlock exclusives that can only be obtained with the phone's camera using an application. They are seen on outdoor advertisements, posters, on television, and even on the web. Should a QR Code be used for marketing purpose, it should be used properly. Otherwise it will be a huge waste of a business’ marketing budget.


Ideal QR Code Uses

A useful way codes can be used is for retailer discounts. By scanning the code, the user receives a unique code to redeem the offer either online or in person. Codes can also be used to visit the mobile site of an event, saving time without having to type in the URL, especially with a long address. Another use of a QR Code is for downloads of exclusive media items for smartphones and personal computers.

Creativity goes a long way for mobile promotions. Placements can be put in convenient areas such as a part of the company logo, or places where consumers expect an alternate object. An upcoming and interesting alternative is Blippar, where the user simply scans a part of the ad and is taken to a page based on the scanned object. Companies are taking advantage of QR Codes by letting users make purchases in advance without waiting in line. The best use is for exclusive contests by having users take part in their social network presence in order to win a prize.


Poor Ideas

For a successful campaign, QR Codes should be placed in areas where it can be easily accessible. In television advertising, it can be an inconvenience if the viewer can't find their phone in time to capture the code. An idea that is overlooked is telling potential customers to watch for the code in advance, but it is likely at fault for casual mobile users when there are other ways.

Another ineffective mobile marketing strategy is putting a code on places where they cannot be reached. Outdoor advertisements that are high up can be an inconvenience as the code can be unreadable. The worse part of a mobile campaign is taking users to a page that does not work on mobile browsers. It can be useless should the code be placed in an area with a weak signal. Lastly, a landing page should include content beneficial to the user instead of another advertisement.


Using QR Codes Properly

QR Codes can be useful, but can fail if not used properly. With usage on the rise, there is plenty of time to correct the mistakes made marketing to a mobile audience. Mobile marketing should be taken a step at a time than marketing for PC users for the best and longevity of the technology.

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