I’m sure you have seen these boxes around, whether it be on a poster, book, point of purchase display or magazine. What are they and where did they come from? According to Wikipedia, QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that were created by the Denso-Wave subsidiary of Toyota in 1994. These codes are read using the camera on your smartphone and decoded using a QR scanner application.

QR Code Example

QR Code

According to a third-quarter 2010 Smartphone Intelligence survey by Compete.com, 28% of smarthpone users have scanned a QR or other mobile bar code. While those numbers seem small, they are on the increase, and now that scanning software is coming pre-installed on Android phones it should continue to rise. The other thing that will drive use is the fact that these codes are popping up in mainstream media.

Some examples I have seen lately:

  1. Best Buy places QR codes on the price placards along with other product details. The QR code points to the Best Buy website, so the user can read more information and reviews of the product.
  2. Celebrate Gettysburg Magazine uses QR codes in their magazine so users can grab online coupons for the magazine’s advertisers.
  3. Noval is a new card game that was at Toy Fair this year in New York City. They had a QR code on a sign in their booth that allowed you to like Noval’s website adding it to your Facebook stream.

There are numerous options for using these codes, just let you imagination run wild. No matter what the application, you are most likely going to use them to achieve one of the following goals:

  • Extend the conversation beyond an advertisement.
  • Offer a discount

Produce some type of action, a Facebook like, Foursquare checkin, etc.

One bit of advice as pointed out by my friend Siobhan, keep in mind where you place the QR code since it needs to be scanned. Case in point, name tags that may be placed where people don’t want a camera pointed. Share with us the best use of QR codes you have seen.

Check out Beth’s blog for more tips on Social Media Marketing.

Beth knows new media web marketing and the technology industry from the inside out. Literally. As VillageWorks’ leader, Beth brings both tech industry experience and proven evaluation skills to her clients. Unlike most agency marketing execs, she knows what works in new media and web marketing because she’s done it herself.

6 Responses to “QR Codes Are Becoming Mainstream
  • Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog.

  • Hey Beth! Good article – I think 2011 is the year of the QR. I have a friend who sells real estate. She has added them to the For Sale signs that she posts in front of properties she has on the market. Each QR code leads individuals who scan to details and interior photos of that specific property along with all the info usually found on the flyers. It’s great because she doesn’t need to print as many flyers, so saves paper and she can share so much more info instantly to prospective buyers.

    By the way, I agree that Noval is an awesome game, and it was great to meet you in person at Toy Fair! 😉

    Michelle Spelman @jukemfootball

  • Message I am intrigued by the little nuggets of marketing genius, but I cannot find a reader that works on my BlackBerry Bold. Online forum searches have not produced helpful advice, except to learn that others share my frustration. Any ideas?

  • Jasmine,

    Try BeeTagg. Here is the link to supported phones: http://www.beetagg.com/supportedphones/default.aspx

  • Web Design & Web Development – Wood Street, Inc….

    According to a third-quarter 2010 Smartphone Intelligence survey by Compete.com, 28% of smarthpone users have scanned a QR or other mobile bar code. While those numbers seem small, they are on the increase, and now that scanning software is coming pre-…

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