Marketing used QR codes first

Aug 9, 2021 | Digital Marketing, Marketing Data, Marketing Lessons

Did you know those QR codes you are of course sick of using by now were first used unsuccessfully by marketers?

I wanted to make light of the fact that for the middle years of my corporate marketing career QR codes were the craze of the digital marketing world, yet no one would use them.

These QR codes were set to “change the way we marketed forever” and then because they were only useful if you had a QR scanner they seemingly disappeared off the scene until in 2020 they finally had their day.

Now maybe these little square barcodes did in fact take off the way marketers had hoped in some other industries, but in the various industries I worked in unfortunately they just never seemed to take hold the way we had hoped.

And honestly as a marketer they did seem like a game changer, it was a quick way to have a customer scan and get to an individual product page, a campaign page or a contact us page.

But as I mentioned above the real issue was the fact that without the QR scanner app these bad boys couldn’t take you anywhere.

I am not sure when apple, Samsung and other tech companies integrated the camera to scan these things but for contact tracing, a global pandemic and now restaurants it has been a game changer.

So in a world where QR codes are now understood by all consumers how can marketers once again leverage this nifty little square that we had tried to make take off all those years ago.

Here are some ways I came up with how QR codes can assist you in your business

  • Print media – if you’re still using print media using a QR code on the ad/article/etc is a quick way to be able to accurately track how many people interact with the ad/article/etc send them to a unique landing page and Wolah! An easy way to track print media – better than offering a deal and asking them to say a code word
  • Product information – print QR codes for individual products to give people access to product  booklets, how to use pamphlets etc
  • Pop on products/tags to ask for reviews
  • Put on promo items to give people access to websites
  • Put on business cards with a link to your calendar to book an appointment time
  • Put on concert posters for people to book tickets (I love live music this one is more for me)

People are now conditioned to scanning QR codes for more information, in fact post COVID they may actually feel compelled to do so from habit (hope not!) it is a really viable way to get the consumer to do something, and it’s not a hassle for them anymore, it also allows you to direct them to the call to action you really want them to do.

Imagine how much better you can get with your tracking of your marketing using this nifty little square. It may even give you more of a reason to try some traditional methods like magazines and handouts.