Tuesday, June 21, 2011

QR Codes: What's in the Box?

By Jennifer Spitzer

Quick Response Codes, a.k.a. QR Codes, are those funky looking boxes you're starting to see on things like direct mail promotions, restaurant menus, product packaging and magazine ads. They're not mainstream yet, so unless you're an early adopter of technology, you're probably scratching your head about why consumers should even care about these bizarre looking barcodes. Consumers aren't the only ones baffled. Most marketers still haven't figured out how to integrate the little two-dimensional code into their mix.

Here's the skinny on how these high speed codes were developed. Denso-Wave, a Toyota subsidiary, developed the code in 1994. In a world where technology can be obsolete within a few months, to say this was developed before its time is an understatement. Denso-Wave owns the patent rights on QR codes but they've chosen not to exercise them, which means the use of these codes is absolutely free.

It won't be long before we see these codes everywhere. Here's a brief list of ways marketers will use the codes to promote their products and services.

1. You're running a promotion, exclusive to your Facebook page so you can increase the number of consumers who Like you. The QR code on all of your printed material, including in-store signage and POS materials, instantly takes the consumer to your Facebook page.

2. You're doing a product launch and you want prospects to have quick, easy access to specific information and offers on your website.

3. You're at a friend's house and they're letting you try out their newest widget. You love it and want one. Scan the QR code on the box and it takes you directly to the website where you can buy it.

My personal favorite helps me in my attempt to constantly multi-task. I'm driving in my car with my trusty iPhone within reach. I'm sitting at a red light and a van pulls up next to me, advertising the precise service I've been looking for. I grab my iPhone, hit my QR app, point it at the van and voila, I've captured the website just as the light turns green. It's a good thing. Afterall, who can possibly type while driving?

Try it! First you will need to download a QR Reader application to your smart phone. Then, go to http://qrcode.kaywa.com/, key in your business's web address and your free QR Code will appear.

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