Love John Foley’s post (below — amen! amen!), but I thought I’d throw my two cents in here, too. You know, because I like to be a pest like that.
As an industry, if we’re going to promote QR codes, we really need to be using QR codes ourselves. That ought to be a best practice, too. I say this because I continue to be amazed by the number of printers promoting QR codes but who appear not really to understand the marketing dynamics behind how they work. There is more to a QR code than just taking someone from the printed piece to the Web. You need to understand why the person is scanning the code, what they are expecting to see, and how they want to interact with the information on the other end.
I just talked to Patrick Whelan, owner of Great Reach Communications, who licenses a QR code primer that printers and others can brand to their own companies and use as their own. He’s so busy right now selling licenses to these things that it’s making his head spin.
On one hand, I’m thrilled. I wrote the primer, so I’m glad it’s getting a good reception. But then I think about many of the QR codes I’ve scanned in this industry that resulted in a really negative experience. If consumers have a marginal — or worse, negative — experience using a QR code, that begins to impact their perception of the value of scanning them.
The more bad scans, the less value they’ll see in the next one. So I’ve seen the face of the greatest to QR code adoption and it is us!
Suggestions? Before marketing and promoting QR codes, start scanning QR codes around you. Evaluate the user experience. What did you expect to see? What did you actually see? How functional was the site? Did the experience of using the code bring value to you?
Going through this process for a few weeks will help you begin to think through what works and what doesn’t. This way, when you promote QR codes to your customers, you’ll be one step ahead of them in being able to provide, not just the code itself, but real insight into what makes them work.