Think Before You QR

By | January 20, 2012

QR codes are great tools, but you have to think about what you are trying to accomplish before you take up space on your marketing collateral, product packaging, or other project with one.

I recently purchased a nice little toy, the Snow Wovel, which is like a giant snowshovel on a wheel. Clear your driveway 3x faster, so they say, and with last night’s snowstorm and a 1/4 acre blacktop driveway, I could sure could have used the help. This morning, I had a two-hour school delay and a Wovel still in a box . . . with a QR code.

The QR code had no instructions. No text of any kind telling me what it was or what scanning it might do, but since I know a bit about QR codes, I suspected that it might have something handy like a tutorial on how to put the thing together. I had hungry, undressed children, a rapidly shrinking time budget, and a 1/4 acre of blacktop to clear.

I scanned the code and was taken to the product’s non-mobile website, with product images, customer testimonials, and lots of other information that was already on the box. The customer testimonials might be nice for someone trying to make a purchase decision in a store, but I’d learned about the Wovel online and purchased it online.

The box contained instructions, but what I really needed was a step by step on how to put it together—fast. I didn’t get what I was looking for.

My point? While not everyone scanning a QR code is looking for the same thing, marketers — your clients — should take the time to step back from their sales push and ask the questions, “Why am I putting this code on here? Who will be scanning it? What will they be looking for?”

When it comes to success with QR codes, help your clients stop thinking like salesmen. Instead, help them start thinking like consumers.

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2 thoughts on “Think Before You QR

  1. Michael

    Absolutely agree, there are codes everywhere, but many are just completely useless. Often there is no purpose at all, they just link the the general website, which often is not even mobile optimised.
    A shame, really, because it will turn people off, and QRs are quite a good way to connect print and online delivery.

  2. Mike Porter

    How true. My latest video was about QR code applications that fell short of expectations. The marketers didn’t take into account the user’s likely needs and interests at the time they scanned the code. Why send prospects to the customer service web site from a new-customer acquisition mail piece? Or to a site that doesn’t even mention the offer bearing the QR code? Mobile barcodes require a strategy. They aren’t just graphics to demonstrate you’re hip to new technology.

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