While the technology is not new, mobile QR codes (2D Barcodes), Microsoft Tag codes, and mobile coupons have grown tremendously in popularity for marketing to mobile. There are several advantages to this type of technology from a marketing perspective. We’ll explain the differences and talk about the benefits today.
Also known as 2D Barcodes, QR Codes were created in Japan as a way to store more information on a barcode. The acronym QR stands for quick response because the barcodes were intended to be able to be scanned very fast electronically.
Originally used to track auto parts, QR Codes quickly found new uses in marketing.
To the right is an example of a QR code. We use that barcode on our business cards.
Whenever there is an evolving technology, companies like Microsoft throw their name in the mix and evolve or customize the technology. Microsoft Tagis Microsoft’s attempt to better the aesthetics and tracking of QR codes. They introduce color and shapes and have even done some development with embedding images within the Tag as shown below:
I like the prospects that Tag brings to the table. I also like that they have a reader for just about every mobile platform. It’s very easy to find and install.
Mobile coupons are another growing QR-like technology. As you can see on the right, they are pretty strait forward. The apsect of mobile coupons that I like is the ability to send them to folks based on proximity to a venue to use them. That’s another blog post!
How These Work
QR Codes, Tags, and Mobile Coupons all work in a similar way. They all require a camera and a decoding software. The camera takes a picture of the object and the decoding software takes the data from the object and activates the appropriate function on the mobile device.
Soma examples of these functions include:
- Connect to a web address
- Download an MP3
- Dial a phone number
- Queue up an email
- Start a text message
- Redirect an app store to a specific application
How This Technology Benefits Marketers
As I noted above, QR codes were not originally meant for marketing. They do however add some real power to other advertising channels.
Extending the Print Experience
How many times have you sent out a print piece and put your URL on it hoping someone would visit your site? You may even use a custom url for tracking purposes. Imagine if a user could scan a 2D barcode on your print piece and immediately be taken to your website. No need to remember the print piece address.
Tracking Print Marketing
While custom URLs and 800 numbers work, 2D barcodes offer a great solution to measuring the effectiveness of a print campaign and are much easier to get users to act.
Where Are We Headed?
While they’ve been around in Japan for quite some time, this technology is still very new in the states. We are already seeing a huge influx of advertising with them. There is still a very long way to go!
If you haven’t started strategizing yet, it’s time. We’d be happy to help!