When Marketers Get It Right With QR Codes

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ADOTAS – The concept of mobile activated barcodes, like QR Codes, has recently fascinated marketers. What could be better than sending people from traditional, static media to digitally engaging content in one click? You can even track those clicks to determine effectiveness of your messaging if the right tools are used.

Now, what if more than 50 million people in North America now have an app on their smartphone that can read a standard QR Code, and comScore found that 14 million Americans scanned in June alone? Sounds great, right? Now, you can go QR crazy and throw a code onto anything. People will go right to your home page and they will get all of the information they could ever want!

Not so fast.

In their simplest form, codes are a quick way to get to your website, but there is a much bigger opportunity to be realized. Deploying QR codes should come from a strategic idea that solves a need for your users. To demonstrate the effectiveness of deploying a strategic QR Code campaign, let’s look at some recent campaigns from Taco Bell, Tesco and Ford.

When Taco Bell sponsored MTV’s Video Music Awards they wanted to deliver exclusive MTV content to its customers in a way that would engage them with the actual product. ScanLife-powered QR Codes were placed on items like cups and boxes that would immediately link to mobile-formatted content.

What made this campaign unique was that the content was refreshed every week, so each time a code was scanned customers would see something different. This led to over 400,000 scans in just six weeks, which was a direct result of strategically combining code context and content.

Speaking of context, the next example is a gold standard. Tesco, a global grocery retailer, developed a program in Korea that combined the best of brick & mortar and e-commerce into a single shopping experience. It papered an entire commuter train station with what looked like real store aisles – milk, eggs, and other staples, but they needed one more ingredient to make this static installation come to life – QR codes.

Image courtesy of 2d-code

The program allowed customers to simply scan the codes to add an item to their shopping cart, buy, and ship the order to their home. Tesco could even make suggestions based on scanning behavior for other items that may not have been visible in the station. This was an amazing example of how codes can turn anything into a virtual store with ink, paper, and a great idea.

Finally, many people think that QR codes need to always link to the same content because the data is “hard wired” into the code. While this is true at a basic level, there is much more you can do to make your code smarter.

Ford ran a campaign that asked people at an event to “collect” or scan five unique codes that were distributed on Twitter and event signage. Once the same user scanned the entire group, he/she was automatically entered into a Ford Focus sweepstakes. All consumers had to do was enter an email once, and the real-time metadata did the rest. It’s important to understand that each code is unique, each user is unique, and – once you combine the two – you can have a really engaging experience that is relevant and exciting.

The world of QR Codes is upon us. Codes are being published in droves, and people are now ready to scan. But don’t disappoint them! They are taking the time to engage with your brand, so take advantage and give them an experience that will make your QR Code proud.

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