Has the QR Code fad worn off?
I believe the answer is both yes… and no. Confused?
When QR Codes first hit the streets marketing departments all over the world got into a tizz, plastering QR codes on everything from business cards, billboard ads, in magazines, even on things we eat. Everyone in the marketing world was so impressed with this new-fangled technology very few put any real thought into their content and meaningfulness to the customer.
I heard of too many QR Codes failing to inspire potential customers and some even frustrate them. QR Codes that simply take you to a company’s corporate website are disappointing enough for a customer but when said site isn’t even WAP enabled then all you’ve done is annoy them (and wasted their time). Not a great marketing start.
Location also became an issue when companies started placing them in areas where the user has no reception, making the codes unreadable, or in places where it would be too dangerous to start fumbling about with your phone to capture the image – like advertising boards on the side of the motorway.
Due to a lack of real understanding and a sense of ‘rushing the job’ to keep up with everyone else, something that could have been a real additional marketing tool I feel has became somewhat of a joke. And when discussing QR codes with my colleagues, it seems the consensus that if you’re determined to use them, then marketers need to re-address the point of QR codes and what benefit their code will bring to the customer. Using codes as access to discount codes on products, or secret additional content are fantastic marketing concepts and are more creative ways to incorporate QR Codes into marketing campaigns.
Even though QR Codes have someone what stalled in the marketing world, in other areas they are taking the lead. With so many companies now providing e-tickets, whether it be airlines, concerts, theatres etc, QR Codes have become the new paperless ticket. So much so that Apple developed ‘passbook’ on the new iPhone to store all your QR Code tickets in one place. I even pay for my morning Chai Tea Latte (with extra Chai) with my Starbucks QR code on my iPhone...
Bottom line? It appears that QR codes are increasingly used for smartphone ticketing and other purposes, but so far I've seen that they’ve been largely ineffective as advertising tools.
I would however be very keen to hear what other people think about them as a marketing tool and whether you've had any great success fro them. If you are able to comment, please do below.