QR stands for “quick response” and the QR code is a cube shaped 2-dimensional matrix code that permits users to obtain data at a high speed by simply using the scanner (camera) located on their mobile phone. Originally developed by the Japanese corporation, Denso-Wave in 1994, the codes were initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing. As the years have progressed, the genesis of this technology has enabled it to be used in a much broader context, including mobile marketing. A QR code is free and easy to generate, and with the code’s ability to store much more information than a traditional barcodes, a user now has the ability to connect with a brand by viewing highly targeted website URLs, text and sms messages, and storing personalized B2C information all from their mobile phone.
When a QR code is scanned, information from the code is transferred to the mobile device where it is processed by specialized software located on the phone. This convenience oriented application enables marketers to better narrowcast audiences by directing users to specific website landing pages, advertisements, coupons, and calls to action while keeping the advertiser’s brand top of mind through the user’s ability to store this information in their phone. Certain brands and industries have already recognized QR Codes as a new communication channel in their quest to reach an expanding generation of tech-savvy consumers and have been using these codes in numerous ways to help achieve their marketing and branding initiatives. From using them to build their social communities, to placing the codes on outdoor advertisements, for-sale signs, print advertisements, business cards, fast food wrappers, convention name badges, in-store advertisements, dvd cases, and even wine bottles, these codes are furthering the personalization aspect of mobile marketing and helping brands win the war of advertising resistance by the consumer.
Although QR codes have yet to be widely adopted in the United States, it is commonplace in certain countries within Europe and in Japan. The Japanese are continuing to innovate around their original technology by searching for ways ways to strategically reach customers who they say are increasingly suffering from information overload. The advent of change is upon us and as QR codes become more mainstream in the U.S., marketers and advertisers will increasingly rely upon the ease and accessibility of this pull marketing technology to connect with audiences in a more efficient and cost effective way. The innovation and evolution of this intelligent advertising platform will create a mobile revolution where phones will eventually become a consumer’s main information source. With over 3 billion mobile phones worldwide today, the QR code will be a powerful mechanism in providing information gratification for a society that increasingly demands it.
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