QR-iosity Killed the Cat

21 Mar

Over the last couple of months, the use of  QR codes has sky rocketed. They are everywhere these days, in the newspaper, on billboards, on the side of office buildings.

Problem is, they are not being used in the right way. It is a terrific technology that allows you to essentially link the physical world to the online world. But, it should not be a game of “guess where I will link you”.

I’ve been disappointed too many times – being linked to boring websites that in some cases aren’t even formatted for mobile usage – to be curious anymore. The novelty has worn off.

QR codes need to add value to the customer experience. Marketers need to make it worth your while, start explaining what the code will do, and stop sending you to generic web pages.

The Copeland team recently met with Gauge Mobile, a Vancouver based company that works to maximize the value of QR codes. Gauge Mobile can essentially link a QR code to any function on your mobile phone and then track the usage. That includes pre-formatted emails and texts, calendar reminders, and document downloads. All functions that are helpful and/or save time.

So, instead of a “curious  QR”, that blindly sends me to a band’s web page, provide me with a useful link that will place a reminder in my calendar for when concert tickets go on sale.

Help me, don’t annoy me.

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5 Responses to “QR-iosity Killed the Cat”

  1. Tony Vassiliev March 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    Thanks guys, you’re absolutely right; if advertisers don’t optimize their QR Code communications, they’re going to leave consumers with a sour taste and a lack of desire to participate in future promotions.

  2. michelabyl March 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    Using QR codes the right way means linking them correctly AND placing them in convenient locations.
    I was driving home from work today and noticed one on the side of a bus as it passed through the intersection. What’s the point of having a QR code if it’s in motion and you’re never able to scan it? And even if you were able to scan it, doing so while driving is sure to have unfortunate consequences…

  3. Brad March 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Excellent points Andrea. The stand-alone codes with no instructions and no promise are only going to get scans from those who are QR-ious – and those people are going to get bored/are bored of them by now, especially when they only deliver low-quality results. I recently documented my frustrations with a disappointing QR code on my blog: http://bit.ly/erBhyl

  4. andmerson March 22, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Tony- And since all QR codes look the same, the advertisers that are doing it right really need to make it evident to compensate for all the rest dropping the ball. Thanks

    Michela- It’s shocking how they thought that would work. When you drive past a billboard or in your case, it drives past you, you have but seconds to read the ad. Do you remember who the ad was for?

    Brad- That is so frustrating. I’ve had the same thing happen to me. The technology for QR codes was started by car manufactures and then became customer focused with the adoption of smart phones. I wonder if the code in your picture was supposed to be for internal use and hadn’t been taken off.

    Makes me think that since QR codes have now been adopted by the general public, companies are going to need to differentiate their internal codes or stop using them all together. As customers, we expect QR codes are now a marketing tool meant for us.

  5. michelabyl March 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    I didn’t even get a chance too see what company it was, let alone try and remember it!

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