And so it goes in the brutal you-have-30-seconds-to-make-your-case world of new tools and gadgets.
So who says they’re dead and why?
Google does. Ah.
Frankly, they are backing another horse: Near field communications. But that’s another post altogether. (Another Next Big Thing!)
For marketers today, the issue is that mobile search is just too damn fast. It’s quicker to type in a URL then to take a pic with your phone.
I would suggest that the real problem is not the codes but rather how they’re being applied.
Drilled down, QR codes offer the ability to bridge traditional and digital media. But it’s incredibly short-sighted to think that their purpose is simply to create a shortcut between a print piece and a website.
The real opportunity for marketers is to use QR Codes to enhance the overall experience the audience has with the brand. In doing so, we can bring traditional media to life in inspiring new ways.
Take this example from Reporters Without Borders.
Three things are working for the advertiser.
First : the presence of the code in the ad is explained to the reader. I can’t figure out why advertisers just plonk them in ads without an explanation of what they will deliver and expect people to drop everything and grab their mobile devices. They’re not that cool.
Second : the QR code function makes perfect sense. There is no mindless redirect to a self-promoting website. The content beyond the code IS the idea.
Third : the QR code function adds value. Anyone taking the time to take a pic of the code is rewarded for doing so.
What our audiences don’t need is yet another self-serving call-to-action stuffed into an ad, that then asks them to haul out their phone, take a pic and wait for a website (which may not even be mobile-friendly) to download.
What they will respond to is smart, creative applications that take the estimation of the advertiser up a notch or two.
Ultimately QR codes are going to sink or swim depending upon how we (that’s the ad folks) apply them.
Download your QR reader here and stay tuned.