QR Codes. Would you like a Coupon with that?

“Are QR Codes Dead” seems to be a popular subject on marketing blogs and discussion groups recently. So I was interested to see a recent survey by comscore (2012 Mobile Future in Focus) showing that 20% of smartphone users in the US have scanned a QR code in the last 3 months.

 Anyone who’s traveled to Europe recently will have seen the ubiquitous use of QR codes – ranging from standard advertising to tourist information and bus schedules. So it might be surprising to find that the US leads UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain in QR code use. Perhaps the Europeans have already gotten over the fad of QR codes – maybe tired of poor implementation and weak marketing tie-ins - while we are still discovering them in the US; but the remnants are still left on billboards and bus-stops.

The study also showed that the scans resulted in Product information (73%), Coupon/offer (33%), Event info (25%), Charity/cause info (13%) and App download (11%). This is probably driven by the use of QR codes in many stores, such as Best Buy, to help with the shopping experience – but you can only expect the use of “QR codes as a coupon” to grow, as Marketers develop more targeted campaigns.

In my opinion, QR codes will be around for a while, but the usage will continue to evolve and improve as we gain experience with them. Have you seen any unique or effective uses of QR codes recently? Please share.

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About Steve Cummins

Director of Digital Marketing at Dittman Incentives; President of Business Marketing Association of NJ; B2B marketing professional, specializing in digital communications and technology products; Social media marketing enthusiast. Opinions are my own.

Posted on March 15, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. QR codes look kind of messy, but smart marketers are the one who look at the entire process. But too many do it wrong. For instance, a billboard may share a compelling offer. A scan of the QR code takes you to a home page,

    Smart marketers designed a mobile friendly landing page and point the QR code there. The key is for marketers to put themselves in the point of view of the prospective customer and design the experience, not just a page.

    Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor (@fearlesscomp)
    Find New Customers
    http://www.findnewcustomers.com

    • Good point Jeff. That’s probably the “cardinal sin” of QR codes (although there are many to choose from!) – pointing to a non-mobile landing page, from a technology that’s clearly meant for smartphone usage.

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