A month ago I committed to scanning every QR code I came across.
Everyone (in social and mobile media marketing anyway) is talking about how QR codes are the future of mobile marketing, but at this stage it feels like the eventual mainstream adoption of QR codes is going to be a result of ad agencies and marketers ramming the things so far down our throats, that we have no choice but to accept their ubiquitous presence on everything from flyers to bus shelters.
This is kind of unfortunate. As it stands most consumers don’t know what they are and even fewer are actually using them. People should want to scan them because they offer something different or unexpected. Which brings me to some points I learned in a month of scanning QR codes:
1. Most just take you to the company’s website, or Facebook page. Even more unfortunate, is that most of these websites are not mobile optimized.
2. Occasionally I was taken to a mobile optimized site, but in most instances, it was to try and get something from me… fill out a survey, or vote for something etc.
3. This may just be a problem with my particular blackberry app, but it didn’t have autofocus, which meant that if the QR code was small, say on a wine bottle, it wasn’t happening. Something to think about.
At the end of the day, I only came across one instance – a set of QR codes that gave me text clues to find a prize, that really motivated me to come back and scan more QR codes. Otherwise, why wouldn’t I just type in a shortened URL that leads me to your website. I’m pretty good at texting, I think I can handle a bit.ly link!
Anyway, at work we use QR codes on the back of our business cards. I want to make sure that my QR code adds value to the business card, and I’m trying to think outside the box on this. Not just a lead to my LinkeIN page or vCard information, but something more creative. Naturally I turned to Google to help.
Unfortunately all I could find was “creative ways to use QR codes on your business cards“, which basically means – how to make them look pretty. News flash! They are ugly. If you present them well, good for you. It means nothing if all you did was take me to the website printed on the card (and yes I scanned them to see where they took me).
Just because you put a QR code on it, doesn’t make you creative!
(If you have ideas, or have come across creative uses, I’d love to hear them)