QR Codes: 8 benefits to those funny looking B&W squares

Neal Sceva, a 30-year veteran of the direct marketing industry, is a QR Code enthusiast. I asked him to contribute a post about the benefits of this innovative technology and he was happy to oblige. Thanks Neal. That’s his QR Code on the left so feel free to scan it with your Smartphone.

Either you’ve seen them or heard about them – those funny looking B&W squares in advertisements, on billboards and, with growing popularity, on business cards. They’re QR (Quick Response) Codes.

Developed in Japan, more than 60% of Japanese citizens have been using them for several years, Huge billboard displays in Europe feature only a QR Code, with no explanation needed of what it is or how to use it. Now they’re popping up like wildfire across the United States. Go to Times Square and you’ll see them on billboards there.

So, other than being a funny looking B&W box, what is a QR Code?

A QR Code is a two-dimensional barcode that is embedded with a URL link to data. It is printed on brochures, direct mail pieces, flyers, signage, billboards – almost anywhere you can think of! The QR Code is read by a barcode reader application you can download to your Smartphone. When scanned by your phone’s barcode reader application, the QR Code directs you to a specific URL. NOTE: You can download a QR Code reader application from your Applications Store or go to get.beetagg.com from your mobile browser.

8 easy ways QR Codes can enhance your marketing efforts:

Without having to type in or remember a URL, QR Codes make it possible for prospects and customers to respond to you on the spot. They scan codes from their daily newspaper, on the Web, or on the go.

With a QR Code on your printed materials or in your store window, take advantage of this technology and increase online and offline traffic by directing visitors to:

  1. A special offer on your Web site.
  2. A YouTube video that provides helpful how-to information or a product demonstration.
  3. A personalized survey landing page to get customer feedback.
  4. A Facebook Fan Page.
  5. A coupon offer good for an on-site promotion at your store, restaurant, etc.
  6. Your place of business by providing your address or directions to your front door.
  7. Your blog to view and comment on your post.
  8. Attend your event. Keep your eyes open this year, especially this summer, as more movie and concert promoters use them to generate excitement & increase their audience attendance.

Some recognizable U.S. companies are already on board with QR Codes:

  • Calvin Klein displays them on billboards in New York’s Times Square. It sends your scanner to a YouTube video advertising their latest jeans along with the store locations where you can purchase them at.
  • Continental Airlines sends a QR Code to travelers’ Smartphones for use as a Boarding Pass. All you need to do is pass your phone under the scanner at security and at the gate for final boarding. No more paper tickets to lose!
  • Others like the Macy’s, NBA, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Ralph Lauren, Target, Best Buy, Chevrolet, Mini-Cooper and Starbucks have all integrated the use of QR Code technology into their current ongoing marketing efforts.

Smartphone usage is predicted to double this year and the manufacturing of Smartphones and tablets is projected to exceed production of desktops and laptops. In addition, as Smartphone ads fill our TV airwaves and we’re continually bombarded by news of the latest iPhone, Droid or tablet device; the question still remains – will American consumers and American marketing executives grasp onto the utilization of this important communications tool like the Japanese and Europeans? I, for one, hope so.

I believe QR Codes are here to stay. What are your thoughts? Please share your comments below.

NeaL Sceva Integrated Marketing SpecialistNeal Sceva is a Certified Direct & Interactive Marketer (CDIM) and an integrated marketing solutions specialist for CPC Solutions. A 30-year veteran of the print and direct marketing industries, Neal may be reached at 303-345-5188, on Twitter. LinkedIn, or via e-mail at neals[at]cpcsolutions[dot]com.