It is a type of matrix barcode that allows people to scan it using a smart phone and be taken to somewhere on the internet, usually to a website or an online video. QR Codes are appearing on not only print advertising, but also on brochures, business cards, refrigerator magnets, product labels, and even the sides of some delivery vehicles.
Many marketers have begun using these codes extensively and some tout them as the next big innovation in marketing. Others are more skeptical. One thing that is certain is they have caught on with some segments of U.S. consumers.
One study published not long ago stated that in 2010 only 1% of the U.S. population had adopted the technology. That number had grown to 5% in 2011. Another study showed that by spring of 2012 that number had grown to 24%, certainly an upward trend.
These QR Codes can be made for free from many websites, including www.goqr.me. The technology is likely to continue to grow in popularity, but there are some pitfalls to be aware of when using QR Codes.
Not all consumers will use them and the consumer must have a smart phone. Some consumers find them cumbersome and prefer to simply enter in a web address. Their reasoning may include the fact they have to have their smart phone handy, boot an app, and then get a clearly focused scan of the QR Code. Due to this reasoning, it's good to always also include a printed web address in conjunction with the use of a QR Code.
Another major issue is that the website the QR Code takes the visitor to may not be optimized for viewing from a mobile device. If this occurs the viewer may be left feeling that their time has been wasted. Not something any marketing professional wants to have happen.
QR Codes are showing up almost everywhere people look and they don't always make sense. For example, why put a QR Code on a large sign or billboard near a busy road. People can't stop their vehicle to scan it without creating a dangerous situation and the space needed to show it wastes space that could have been used for something with a real purpose.
Marketers also need to understand that most of the population still doesn't use QR Codes. If well over half the population hasn't adopted the technology it is safe to assume many people don't know how to use the codes. Providing a brief explanation and incentive, such as a coupon, can increase usage and lead to better results.
QR codes are a valuable tool that is only going to grow in popularity. Used wisely, with attention paid to QR Code placement and purpose, it can provide for another usefully tool for marketing professionals promoting environmental services and products.
Cochrane & Associates, LLC, the environmental, mold, industrial hygiene, HVAC and indoor air quality industries' only dedicated marketing, public relations and business development consulting firm works with clients to develop ways to maximize their marketing efforts and ROI. We also invite you to visit the IAQ Video Network www.IAQTV.com and submit any videos you may have for inclusion on the website.
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