QR Review: Two Home Runs, a Walk, and a Strikeout

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March 1, 2012

Are you using QR Codes® in your direct mail and promotional materials because you think you should or to thoughtfully engage your prospect on a deeper level? Are you using these two-dimensional codes to engage your prospects on a three-dimensional level or are you just incorporating QR Codes® because it is the thing to do? The results I saw this week reminded me that not every marketer has a defined strategy for response.

This week I scanned four QR Codes® from promotions I saw on the street, in a newspaper, magazine, and on a postcard. Two of the codes led me to a URL that positively influenced my opinion of the company or produce, one led me to a web page that didn’t support my decision making, and the last led me to a disabled URL. Let’s take a closer look.

Burlap Events — 5 Stars

In response to wedding budgets lower than Kim Kardasian’s, a video company called Burlap Events recently ran a well-crafted advertisement in a female dominant magazine with a QR Code® strategically placed beneath its phone number. With a quick scan, my smart phone redirected me to a mobile-compatible screen with a personality-rich video.  The experience made me want to give the company a try in future and refer it to my friends who might have a special event that’s worthy of a video.

Cates Auctioneers — 5 Stars

Looking for repeat business, Cates stays in touch with real estate agents and investors. Cates sent a postcard that was well designed, just enough photos and text, and a QR Code® strategically placed next to its social media mentions. I scanned the code and conveniently was led to virtual tour of the home making me even more confident of the value and location of the property. Cates gets five stars for creating urgency and using both channels extremely well.

Jane Iredale Makeup — 2 Stars

Flipping through a woman’s magazine I’m surprised to find only one ad in 140 pages with a QR Code®. The advertisement is for a makeup line that is highly buzzed about for its natural ingredients, natural look, and is only carried in high-end salons. I scan the QR Code® in hopes to learn more and fall upon the company’s home page, which is not optimized for my small smart phone screen. Nothing references the ad and there’s no offer, just a couple of You Tube videos demonstrating how to apply the makeup.

I would have expected more for the price point of this makeup. Even hosting a video showing before and after shots of a woman wearing the makeup would have been more persuasive. Nothing deterred me from the product but nothing moved me further down the sales pipeline either.

Subdivision Notice– No Stars

Walking my subdivision, I decided for the first time to swipe the entrance sign. Perhaps I’d learn information about my property value, when the next community get together was, or something else of importance. The QR Code® took me to a URL that no longer existed. No confidence boost there. Perhaps I should notify my homes association or the developer.

It’s interesting to see how different companies in different industries are using QR Codes®. Check back for another QR code® review – good, bad, or ugly. In the meantime, remember these four important points before you publish a QR Code® in your marketing materials.

  1. Test the code.Sounds obvious but make sure it works and continue to check it on a regular basis.
  2. Give the prospect a payoff.A coupon, video, juicy information they normally would have had to work really hard to get qualifies.
  3. Mobilize the experience. Make sure the QR Code® leads to a landing experience tailored to a small screen size. Dropping a customer on a flash-heavy, slow to download page is counterproductive.
  4. Track the scan.Which ad pulled your prospect through to the landing page? If you’re going to use a code, measure the response.

QR Codes® are another tool to allow us to think through the experience and give our customers one more reason to work with us or buy our product. Otherwise, what’s the point?

QR Codes® are a registered trademark of Denso Wave.

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