QR Codes: Because Why NOT?
Three years ago on September 13, 2010, I uploaded a video about QR codes and I got a lot of confused questions that pretty much translated to, “What The Heck!!” At the time I was still learning about this technology, because it was still new to the United States. I would consume as much information as I could, with the goal of learning more about this cool “new” technology. In some circles I became the “GoTo” person for QR Code technology.
As my excitement grew I started to notice more and more of this technology out there. QR codes were on everything, people had them on their websites, online catalogs and more. I was guilty of this as well, until I though “Hey, wait a minute….” This is all wrong. That is when I started to understand that this technology is being utilized in the “hey new shiny object sort of way” but it was not being used as effectively as it could have been. That’s when I realized that the usage of QR codes might not ever reach its full potential because in some instances they were being used incorrectly.
- There is no reason to add a QR Code to your website because people are usually on your mobile or traditional website when they are viewing the QR Code. So if you had plans of using the QR code to direct them to your website, they are already there, there’s not need. Don’t use QR codes on a website to direct them to your website.
- QR Codes that are geared to open to a website should ALWAYS open to a mobile website, not a traditional website. We all know by now that a traditional website may not display properly on a mobile device. There ARE NO exceptions to this rule.
- QR Codes should NOT scan to “Download my catalog” because most of the time people have scanned a QR code with their phone. Absolutely NO one wants to use all of their data to download your HUGE PDF catalog to their phone.
The BEST and most practical use of QR Codes are to tie traditional print media to digital media. As digital marketers we can sometimes not grasp that everyone is NOT so enamored with the growth of technology as we are. However it is true! There are still many people that are very print-oriented and QR codes are a great option for that population of folks.
So as marketers we must recognize that although we are focused on digital media there is still an opportunity to tie traditional print to digital for clients that still utilize this form of marketing. QR codes are the perfect vehicle to get this done. As a matter of fact, this is the primary reason that QR Codes should NOT be discounted and should be revisited. There has not been an equivalent and cost effective medium introduced that is capable of tying together these two media as QR codes can, if executed properly.
Although it was once thought that NFC could bridge the gap between traditional print media and digital, it has not materialized as we originally thought that it would. This is primarily due to the cost and complexity of this technology for mainstream populations. Since the need to bridge traditional and digital, QR Codes remain the logical and least expensive way to go, as long as traditional marketing remains even a little relevant.
At one time we exclusively used traditional marketing, but we all know that things have change. In spite of this, there has not been a total elimination of traditional print media. So, we can still utilize traditional media to drive traffic to digital channels, creating a bit of a fusion between the older traditional marketing strategies and the new emerging digital marketing strategies.
Until the total discontinuation of traditional print media, as marketers we must find a way to tie together traditional and digital mediums for ourselves on occasion and for our clients. QR codes can be a very cost effective way to do this.
So lets give some thought to revisiting QR codes, if you’ve worked with them before or venture into something new if you haven’t.