By Jennifer Graham, Guest Contributor
With more than 5 billion mobile phone users in the world, it’s imperative that your company’s mobile marketing strategy is poised to reach this enormous market. From sms marketing to mobile websites – the mobile marketing landscape is more confusing than ever. With so many new technologies, it’s difficult to keep up. One of the newest entrants into the mobile marketing mix is QR codes. So, what are they and how can you benefit from them?
QR, “Quick Response” or “two-dimensional,” codes are special barcodes that can be read by Smartphones and link users directly to mobile content such as a video, coupon, picture or website. A QR code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. They were originally developed in Japan in 1994 by a Toyota subsidiary to track inventory during manufacturing. Though QR codes have been used in Asia for many years, only recently have they become main stream in the US.
To scan a QR code, the user simply downloads a free scanning application from the App Store on their Smartphone. When the app is opened, it opens the phone’s camera to “scan” the code. Once the code is scanned, the user’s phone browser will automatically redirect them to the content. And if that’s not easy enough, soon scanners will be pre-loaded in most phones.
Benefits and Uses
Because QR Codes provide immediate access to mobile information and allow instant interaction, they are a great addition to any print marketing or advertising campaign. Here are a few examples of the benefits of using QR codes and some examples of how they are currently being used.
- Get More Information: QR codes on real estate signs to link potential buyers to pricing and pictures
- Preview a Service: QR codes on movie posters to link patrons to trailers or ticket purchasing
- Compare Products: QR codes on labels for “how to” demos, coupons, tips and tricks, reviews, etc
- Purchase Instantly: QR codes next to ads for instant purchase power
- Drive Website Traffic: QR codes on ads link readers to website
- Get a Discount: QR codes to download a coupon that can be redeemed on the spot
- Get Noticed: QR codes on business cards and resumes to link to LinkedIn profile, website, or portfolio
Three Marketing Factors When Creating Your QR Code
When you are ready to create your own QR code, here are three things to remember:
1. PROVIDE VALUE! When customers take the time to scan a code, they want to be rewarded with a coupon or unique content (video, recipe, demo, free trial, etc).
2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! If your market is mainly young, tech-savvy customers, a QR code is great. If your audience consists of older, less sophisticated customers then consider combining QR codes with SMS codes. This will increase user participation by including non-Smartphone (Dumbphone ☺) users.
3. MEASURE YOUR RESULTS! Individuals can create free QR codes with one of the many online generators. However, businesses using QR codes in their marketing and advertising should consider a campaign management platform to track usage, measure effectiveness and analyze results for maximum impact.
Jennifer Graham has worked with Mobile Discovery, a leading mobile and social media technology company, since 2008. Prior to Mobile Discovery, Jennifer consulted internationally through her own marketing firm, ConsultJMG, with notable projects in Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo and New York. Before starting her consulting firm, Jennifer worked for the Linux provider, Red Hat. As the Global Marketing Manager, she managed international marketing efforts for the offices in Tokyo, Seoul, Mumbai, Sydney, and Beijing. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science in Management from Virginia Polytechnic and State University (Virginia Tech) and graduated summa cum laude as Valedictorian of the Pamplin School of Business. She enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family in her spare time. Jennifer currently resides in Washington, DC. Visit the ConsultJMG website at www.consultjmg.com or Mobile Discovery’s website at www.mobilediscovery.com.
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