Skip to main content

Quick Response Codes: Tomorrow Is Today

By April 21, 2011July 2nd, 2014Marketing Insights & Strategy
Quick Response Codes: Tomorrow Is Today

An exciting and innovative marketing tool is currently challenging the imagination and cunning of every entrepreneur and marketing person, no matter what their business. This tool is called the Quick Response Code – or QR Code as it is commonly called – and it’s starting to show up in retail windows, on price tags, in brochures and on movie posters.

But what is a QR Code and how can you use it to make an impact on the marketing of your business?

What Is A QR Code?

The “what” is fairly simple to define.  It is a two dimensional barcode that allows a person using a smart phone to access information by simply scanning the code. By scanning the square-shaped matrix, embedded information becomes visible on the phone’s screen.

A Japanese company called DensoWave developed the technology in 1994 and it has been commonplace in Japan ever since. It is estimated that over 40% of the Japanese population scan QR Codes every day. They have also been used in Europe for quite some time.

QR Codes can be printed on practically any surface; paper, cloth, plastic, wood or even stone. These codes will eventually become more visible and will be used as part of advertisements in newspapers and magazines, on direct mail pieces, on signs and posters, packages and containers, T-shirts and baseball caps, labels, napkins, placemats and coffee cups, even as temporary tattoos – wherever people can be reached and are capable of using their mobile devices. They will receive marketing messages, data or information in an easy, quick and intriguing way.

QR Codes contain information in both the horizontal and vertical axis. Compared to regular barcodes, this allows for much larger amounts of raw data to be embedded. Data can be numeric, alphanumeric or binary. The more data that needs to be embedded, the larger the QR Code becomes.

The minimum dimensions of a QR Code depend upon the resolution power of the cameras that are used to scan the code. It is recommended that the minimum size should be 32 x 32 millimeters, or 1.25 x 1.25 inches for a QR Code that contains a website address.

This guarantees that all camera phones on the market can properly read the code.  Changing the size to 26 x 26 millimeters or roughly one square inch still covers 90% of the phones on the market.

What Do You Do With It?

The “how” is where the challenge comes in, and it will be up to businesses and marketers to uncover the many applications for this unique and exciting new idea.

The opportunities are endless and the applications boggle the mind. Think about how banks or real estate, healthcare or hospitality, retail or service industries can use this concept. In any marketing campaign it is essential to make the consumer take action. Scanning a QR Code is easy and requires a consumer’s participation.

A barcode on an advertisement can take the reader to the company’s website. A code on a store’s window sign can give customers other store locations with maps. The code on a receipt or paper packaging can offer special pricing or discounts.

Marketers can take so much advantage of a consumer’s relationship with their smart phones and the applications seem endless.

You do not have to be a marketing specialist to grasp the importance of QR codes. Anyone in business can recognize the benefits and rewards of this technology.

The potential is enormous – instant communication anywhere and everywhere and the ability to talk to the public as never before.

Marketers can unleash their creative and imaginative talents in every direction to discover new, non-traditional, out of the box ways to communicate marketing messages while capturing the goodwill and respect of forward-thinking customers.

You can print a QR code on any brochure, magazine ad, direct mail piece, lobby sign or folder. Putting a code on window posters increases exposure to people walking by on the street, even after business hours.

You can create hundreds of messages, from friendly greetings, to your website address, contact information, contests and giveaways, store locations and hours, pricing, special deals and incentives, exclusive video content, or reminders of upcoming events.

Get Ready For The Next Frontier Of Marketing.

Education and explanation will be necessary  in many instances and in various markets, but ownership and usage of smart phones is growing and a significant portion of the population is already comfortable with the technology and are pushing the boundaries of its capabilities.

These willing and curious consumers are the perfect recipients, the perfect targets for this new communication technique because they get it – they embrace the concept and anticipate more and more adaptations. If marketers recognize the value of this phenomenon they have an eager, aware population segment on which to focus.

So let the brainstorming begin. Marketers should start by learning about QR codes from specialists and then enter an arena that will test their ability to share products and services in a most exciting technological environment.