Quick Response or QR codes have seen a surge in popularity due to their use in various promotions and fan events for some major companies. One thing to remember about QR codes is that they are simply a tool. A brilliant and innovative tool that allows fans and customers to become active participants in a company’s marketing strategy and as with most tools, there are things every company should remember before going all-out with the QR marketing blitz.
QR codes are pictographic representations that can be scanned using a smartphone to trigger a code. For most promotions, this code usually links to a web URL which provides the customer with perks; either a free picture, a discount coupon, a free video, or some other promotion. QR codes are also used to introduce new products, showcasing them on limited-access websites that can only be seen by scanning the QR code. QR codes are great marketing strategies since they actively engage the customer to take part, using a device that’s easy to obtain and operate. Still, there are several costly mistakes companies make when using QR codes in their marketing schemes.
1. Code Design
The code itself is for all intents and purposes, an expanded 2d barcode. The premise is simple enough. The code is displayed in a prominent area, customers scan it, and then they are taken to a website where they get a reward. But businesses still manage to screw up this simple scheme. One of the major mistakes companies make regarding QR code design is in incorporating unscannable images located in the middle of the code. The code works by defining its limits (three squares) and then obtaining the data encrypted in the barcode image inside the borders of those squares. Eliminating one or more of those squares, putting a large image in the middle of the bar code, or just plain distorting the code so that the 2d image resembles a 3d render makes the code unscannable and thus useless. Yes, even though most codes are error-checked using static code analysis to allow the code to still be recognized even with the QR code slightly marred, putting a creative imprint or logo that ruins the code is still a common mistake companies make.
One would think that companies that spend thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising would know where to place their QR codes. First of all, codes that link to a web page or an Internet-based service would naturally require Web access to give users the ability to reach the url imprinted in the QR code. Companies fail to realize this when they display their codes, in areas without wireless access, or even GSM and Broadband signals. Subways, tunnels, and other areas where telecommunications signals are hindered are really bad places to place QR codes. Placing QR codes on websites is also redundant. Why put a link that can only be seen using a device on a webpage when the customer could just click on a direct URL? Putting codes in plastic bags and bottle labels may sound like a great idea until a company is faced with irate customers fuming about not being able to scan the codes due to wrinkles and distortion due to moisture.
Smartphones are prevalent devices, but not all smartphone users know what to do with QR codes. Qr codes require scanners to translate the hidden link found in them. They require that the three squares be captured within the image, the phone held steadily and the fingers as far away from the device’s camera lens as possible. Bundling QR campaigns with print and mainstream media advertisements to guide people on how to scan these codes is a component of some of the best marketing campaigns. customers who are unable to get the reward due to scanning their code afterward just because they did not know that they had to have their device’s data reception on will inevitably lead to low ratings for the company or brand.
QR codes link to urls. Companies must make sure that these URLs are something that a customer can access. TA’s common mistake is printing links that are not mobile-friendly. QR codes are scanned using mobile devices. This means tablets and smartphones. Companies must make sure that the link they send their customers to is one that can be accessed by the device these customers are using.
Customers exert effort to scan QR codes. Companies have to make sure that they make it worth their customer’s while. Linking a QR code to a general homepage would cause more harm than good. Scanning a code just to reach a bland page, or another tasteless ad will probably not earn the customer’s affection. Linking a QR code to a site which makes them jump through more hoops to get something is also another tactic companies should avoid.
The general solution to all these QR code mistakes is simple. Every QR promotion, just like anything that companies offer their clients, must first undergo rigorous and extensive testing. Testing a location for wireless internet access, testing to see if a link works or if an image is scannable, and testing to glean whether or not a customer is satisfied with the value they get from the promotion are all sure-fire ways to craft a foolproof QR campaign. Static code analysis can only do so much to correct errors. Proper planning and common sense should be enough to handle the usual mistakes encountered during a QR code marketing blitz.