QR Codes have received a bad rap in recent times and rightly so. Lack of visual appeal, poorly-considered marketing campaigns and a tendency to put QR Codes in the unlikeliest places has resulted in negativity from users. However, with foresight and ingenuity, QR Codes could prove to be a highly successful aspect of an overall marketing strategy. There are three important considerations if you are going to drum up business using QR Codes.
Make It Pop
The boring black and white QR Code icon are dead. New digital techniques mean that your QR Code can be presented in colorful, creative patterns that literally beg for customer interaction. The QR Code can even be integrated with your company’s logo – a far cry from the boring blob that is often presented as an afterthought at the bottom of pamphlets, posters or products.
One company that used attractive, three-dimensional patterns in outdoor areas is MyToys.de, a German online store that ran a successful LEGO promotion. Almost half of the customers to their LEGO website came via the QR Codes. Sales to customers who used the QR Codes were also much higher than those who accessed the website through other methods.
Give as much thought and planning to the design of your QR Code as you do to other marketing materials.
Make It Worthwhile
Often customers scan a QR Code, only to find that they are taken to the company’s website. At that point, the experience ends. QR Codes should only be one component of an entire interactive experience to enhance a customer’s engagement with your company.
In 2014, Singapore’s Vivocity Department Store gained marketing awards for its use of QR Codes in its media campaign during the previous summer. Mascots wearing giant shopping bags with the QR Codes on them wandered the mall and encouraged customers to scan. A number of incentives were offered. Instant prizes could be won simply for scanning on the spot. Once the customer had been taken to the store’s Facebook page and “liked” it, further prizes, including a major drawing, could be won. Many prizes consisted of discount vouchers, which enticed customers to visit the store.
Make sure your QR Codes are part of an overall marketing strategy rather than a dead end.
Consider Your Target Market
In an effort to hop on the QR Code bandwagon, companies have put QR Codes on everything from dog food to the sides of buses. QR Codes should have a legitimate purpose and improve your product for a particular target market. Commuters catching a bus in rush hour are unlikely to scan a code so they can find a company’s address. Think about whether or not QR Codes can be truly helpful to your target customer and improve their overall experience.
The Gulf of Maine Seafood Institute in Portland is cleverly using QR Codes to add prestige to their seafood products. As customers become increasingly concerned about the source of their food, the Institute has developed a tracking tool which allows customers to scan a code in the supermarket and find out details such as where a fish was caught, the name of the fishing vessel and even details about the fisherman. QR Codes are therefore being used to appeal to a particular segment of the market that would find it desirable to use their Smartphone to access such information.
Many museums and art galleries have realized that if they are to remain relevant to a younger clientele, they need to use technology so that visitors are fully engaged with exhibits. Many museums such as the Arizona State Museum have developed scavenger hunts using QR Codes as part of the experience. This increases visitor numbers and allows the museum to impart information in a manner which appeals to a digitally switched-on audience.
QR Codes should be aimed at a specific market rather than being used in random locations without a particular audience in mind.
Death of the QR Code Has Been Exaggerated
QR Codes are far from obsolete. Now that the initial fad has died down, savvy companies are finding clever, niche ways to use them as successful marketing tools. When developing a marketing strategy that involves QR codes, ask yourself these three questions:
Is it visually appealing?
Do I engage the customer?
Does it reach my target audience?
If you can answer “yes” to each of these questions, your campaign will be a success.