Ask the experts: Local marketing gurus offer their best advice for common marketing questions

Monday, October 17, 2011

What are QR codes and why are they important?

Dana Hukel

Dana Hukel, president and CEO of BOLD Marketing: QR codes, or quick response codes, are a type of bar code designed to have its contents decoded very quickly, hence the quick response. They offer a specific set of information almost instantly to consumers who choose to scan the code. In most cases you need a smartphone to be able to scan and read the code. Usually the code will link you to a website for more detailed information.

QR codes are important because they allow a specific set of information to be shared with an audience that is engaged in what you're marketing. You can get very detailed with a captive audience. In some instances QR codes are now being used in place of concert tickets. They're even being applied in some foreign countries for use in grocery stores and mass transit.

The main significance of QR codes is in the marketer's ability to share exact information with an engaged consumer. You don't often get the opportunity to share your exact message with a consumer and have the consumer seek out that information. Whether or not QR codes really catch on in the United States is still to be determined, but you can give them a try in your organization and measure the success rate. Make sure you're not using QR codes in a media where it isn't necessary. For example, it's not necessary to use a QR code in an email that sends users to a website because they're already on a computer with easy access to the Internet. It's best used in mediums where the user would only have a smartphone to quickly access the information.

Drew Janes

Drew Janes, owner/producer of Relentless Media Productions: If you have scratched your head wondering why someone would put bar codes on his business car, T-shirt or storefront display, it's because you are seeing companies leveraging the power of mobile phones by letting consumers scan codes for instant information. The information could be a link to their website, a mobile application or a way of producing more "likes" on Facebook. QR codes could be your next ticket for leveraging consumers to find out why you're here.

A QR code or quick response code is a bar code somewhat similar to the ones you see on almost every product you purchase. Originally designed to track new vehicles during the manufacturing process, the QR code gained popularity among businesses to quickly enable mobile phones to scan and generate information.

As a business owner there are many benefits of using QR codes. The best reason is the fact that it is absolutely free and you can generate a code for your website, phone number or link in seconds by using qrcode.kaywa.com. Start with these tips to generate your own QR codes and get new eyes on your business:

-- QR code linked to specials that only apply to those who scan the code

-- Generate traffic to your Facebook page or Twitter

-- QR code on business cards that allows users to directly add you as a new contact via smartphone

-- Point of sale receipts

-- Use for directions to your business

-- Recruit new employees by using a QR code as a link to an instant application

This is just the beginning. As you find more creative ways to use this free resource, you will attract more customers since accessibility to your company just got easier.

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