I read with interest Google’s recent discontinuation of QRCode within Google’s Places. It would seem that Google has ruled its verdict on QR codes: a failure. Does this mean that QRCodes have no future? After all QRCode has been around now for almost 10 years! This is not a new technology, but people are still struggling to find the right use for it.
I am a firm believer that QRCodes present a great opportunity for marketing purposes, it’s just that the desire to use and interact with a QRCode, on a mass scale has not been identified. Sure, there have been a lot of successes with QRCodes over the years, but within niche and relatively small groups.
As a consumer there needs to be a real desire to interact with a QRCode. Without that desire why would I purposely download an app in order to use them. The vast majority of QRCode still seem to encode a static URL, and that creates very little value in my opinion. It would take me less time to simply type into my browser and visit the company’s website, opposed to downloading an app, scanning the app and then being taken to the company’s website.
Personally, I think that the opportunity with advertising is stronger. Imagine me receiving my monthly tech magazine (which I subscribe to) and then within the pages are QRCodes alongside articles and advertisements. If I were then to scan a QRCode against the latest DELL laptop, lets say, I would be taken to a personalized microsite which welcomes me; knowing that I have visited that site only because of me scanning my personalized QRCode. It then either present more information about the product in question, or stores that as a ‘favorite’ and allows me to scan several more codes, before collating all my interests together and presenting back to me a personalized PDF or email with relevant product details, offers, and retailers in my area. The growth in the tablet marketing could well fuel this adoption.
This would first present me with some value, easier access to relevant and timely content, and present the publisher with an increased ROI because they are generating measurable interest from an advertisement.
Imagine a tradeshow, with QRCodes on all the exhibitioner’s stands. Whilst walking around and interacting with various suppliers I could scan the QRCodes. It’s then easy for the show organisers to see exactly what I have expressed an interest in, and present me make all the information that I need post-show directly to me.
There’s still a need for mobile phone manufacturers to embed the scanning technology within the base OS – but this may not happen. In the meantime the responsibility lies with the marketers to create QRCode campaigns that absolutely add value. Please no more QRCode on fizzy drink cans that simply take me to a mobile version of their website? Why would I want to do that? Even if I had a QRCode app on my phone?