What’s Next for QR Codes?

03 Mar 2014
by John Foley

Grab a snack, this debate could go on for a while. Ask a cross section of marketers about the future of QR codes and you’ll find yourself caught in the crossfire as one side argues that they’re  ineffectual and the other tells you that they’re the future of marketing. The maxim that there are three sides to every argument – your side, my side and the truth – which holds true here. QR codes can be used to enhance your future campaigns – but only if used well.

Why Some QR Codes Don’t Work

Some people say QR codes are a failure. In fact, the only real failure is the failure to use them to best advantage. QR codes are apt to fail if:

  • They are displayed in difficult to reach places
  • They are displayed in places where the customer is unlikely to stop and pay attention to them
  • The content they lead to is boring or not optimized for mobile viewing
  • There’s no real call to action

When QR Codes Do Work

QR codes work well when the benefit of scanning them is worth the effort of whipping out a phone or tablet, opening the scanner, and scanning the code. Benefits can include:

  • Content that is relevant to the current moment, such as a fun and informative video in a restaurant
  • Interactive or entertaining content such as a game
  • A discount, coupon or special offer

Great linked content needs to be matched with a strong, clear call to action for maximum effect. A QR code should be accompanied by a sentence that makes the benefit of scanning clear.

What Does The Future Hold?

QR codes still have the potential to enhance marketing campaigns by linking up the physical world with the digital world. As well as entertainment and offers, QR codes can be used to enhance a shopping experience or provide information. Other technologies such as Near Field Communications and Augmented Reality stand to become more popular too, but these can co-exist alongside well thought out and executed QR code campaigns, as each technology has its own unique strengths to offer.

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