Sue Brooks's picture

What are QR Codes?

QR code

According to a recent survey of 1,500 UK consumers conducted online, 31% knew what QR codes were or what they were for.

19% had scanned one on their mobiles, which is surprising considering not many companies in the UK have started to use them as part of their marketing strategy.

Anyone with a smart phone can scan and read QR codes, although it’s usually via a downloadable app, and anyone with access to a computer can generate QR codes themselves.

“A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994.” Source: Wikipedia

The QR code stores all kinds of information from a web address, contact information, phone number and SMS details.  A smart phone user can go straight from their mobile phone to your website without having to remember your URL which is especially valuable if your website isn’t the easiest to spell or remember.

QR Codes can be used for:-

    Business cards
    T-shirts (beware of anyone taking a photo of your chest!!)
    Estate Agents ‘for sale’ boards
    Web pages
    Blog posts
    Product packaging
    Promotional gifts
    TV, newspaper and magazine advertisements

Recently the Hotel chain, Raddisson Edwardian, added QR codes to their menu and upon scanning the codes, their customers could see the selected dish being prepared by the chef.  The codes helped them decide what to eat but most importantly it was such a new experience, their customers soon spread the word to their friends and family.  This is a great example of offering a unique service.

"By carrying information in both directions [2d], QR code can carry up to several hundred times the amount of data carried by an ordinary bar codes.” Source: QR

As you would expect a lot of national and local brands are adopting this strategy as they can be used to promote just about anything i.e.  a product, service, events or a special promotion. QR codes are an extremely cheap way to do so.  

Most people now either have a smart phone, or access to one, so a QR code can be accessed by a huge audience, 24 hours a day wherever they may be at very little cost.  

Can you really afford not to consider this as part of your marketing strategy in 2012?