Every now and then, I hear people ask what they need to do in order to use QR Codes successfully. There are lots of do’s and don’ts, but there is one cardinal sin that spells disaster every time. It is the “worst of the worst,” and from it there is no recovery — and Target Marketing magazine fell victim to its wiles in its September issue.
It was the Top 50 Mailers issue and the QR Code was in the upper right-hand corner of the cover. Prime real estate. It had a catchy text above it “Q&A: What Shaped Direct Mail in 2012?” and a bit.ly link for non-QR-scanners below it. I scanned the code and here is what I got:
That’s worse than sending people to the wrong page. At least from a wrong page, they could navigate somewhere helpful if they really wanted to. But where do you go from here?
It just goes to show you that even the best get caught in the simplest mistakes sometimes. So if you are creating QR Codes to insert into your clients’ marketing materials, you might want to take the time to scan them yourself before you send the file to print. If you are printing a file with a QR Code that someone else inserted . . . you might want to take the time to scan the code, too. Even if you just scan it off the screen.
You never know. You might end up saving your client from some key embarrassment and end up the hero.
[Update: As Adam Dewitz pointed out in the comments below, the error message I received was not an incorrect page but another server-related issue. As pointed out by Target Marketing‘s editor-in-chief, Thorin McGee, the magazine did test the code and it worked during the tests. Indeed, when I re-scanned it today, it worked fine. So the point of the article stands, even if this particular example was a bit — please excuse the pun — off-Target.]