Is having a QR code on an ad simply to pander to the clients and checkbox the “mobile marketing” portion of your integrated advertising campaign? asks Mitch Joel:
“In theory, QR codes sound awesome. Your consumer sees an advertisement that engages them, they whip out their mobile device, snap a picture of the QR code and they’re suddenly catapulted into an immersive brand experience that can live beyond the physical limitations of a print ad.”
Or are QR codes the “ugliest, stupidest, most useless (& used less) tech” around? Here’s what I know: I downloaded a QR reader app three months ago to write about how a bar association is using it for their continuing legal education marketing. I haven’t used it since.
But what on earth are QR codes?
Quick Response (QR) codes are black-and-white images that function like barcodes on steroids. They have the ability to store URLs, product information, or even an entire set of course materials for a conference.
To get a QR code, use one of the many free online programs (Google QR code generator). Then download a QR reader for your smartphone (i.e. RedLaser). Turn the camera on and point it at the QR code.
Cumbersome mobile application is a major drawback…
With the extra effort needed by the consumer, the QR code experience better be awesome. Or the results useful. In either case, you’ll likely be underwhelmed. Challenges abound:
- Like the effect of sunlight and shadows on a billboard campaign when trying to capture the QR image.
- Or the folds and creases on a postcard rendering the image useless.
- Or the hassle of getting the darn app to open quickly and click, largely missing the ads on television commercials. Why were they on fleeting commercials anyway?
And that’s before I even get to the often less-than-riveting or useful “landing page”.
Business cards – putting QR codes to good use
A QR code on business cards is a good use of this application. How many times have you returned from a conference with a pocket full of business cards that sit in your desk drawer for months on end? If all you needed to do was scan the code without ever accepting and pocketing the card and have it routed to your CRM or address book, how cool would that be?
I disagree. No, business cards are not going away. Certainly not in the legal profession. Hold on to your business cards but make sure you add a QR code.
The flack QR codes have gotten is well deserved but the technology hasn’t been widely adopted yet, so there’s still time to right the ship.
Use them properly. Don’t have a code on your website containing only a link to your website. Visitors are already there (yes, people actually do this)!
Instead, do some research and put in the work before formulating a campaign for your QR code.
Besides business cards, can you think of any other useful, practical applications? Please share your thoughts and experiences.