Quick Response codes, or should I say QR codes (because nobody really calls them the first one), have been around for quite some time. 2010 and 2011 saw an increase in hype as this black and white and square-ish form of marketing came to life. Companies saw great potential in QR marketing; it excited them like kitties and milk! QR campaigns were flung out into the open air and we, as consumers, were delighted enough to give it a try. What happened after though, proved to be disappointing. QR marketers proved themselves to be ineffective and though QR coding is a great tool if utilized correctly, it can be as critically damaging if done the wrong way. Let’s find out why QR marketing is in a dead-zone and why you shouldn’t engage in it.
1. Not everyone has a handy QR scanner.
Imagine carrying a bar-code scanner around town. Nah– I’d rather not. QR codes are fun (really, they are!) but it’s not like we anticipate scanning codes in our daily routines. This is the reason why a lot of third party QR scanning applications have come out for smart phones! Yes, it’s handy alright, but is it really practical?
2. Websites and mobile phone compatibility.
Most of us, if not all, zip around the city with our mobile phones tucked neatly in one of our pockets. Sometimes while we’re up and running about attending to our errands, an interesting poster-ad will catch our eye, and for a brief moment, we are willing to spend some of our precious time on it. Well just look at that, a QR code promising freebies, interactive content and juicy information! Time to whip out my smart phone and scan this cute (not really) little box! Guess what? The code leads us to a website, not compatible with our mobile phones, and thus our valuable time has been wasted… again. This annoys consumers, and potential customers and thus a marketing failure.
On the rare occasion that scanning a QR code actually leads to a mobile-format compatible website, we end up in a Facebook fan page. Okay so it’s tolerable and maybe there’s something for us in it if we like the page. EEEENK! Wrong! This thought process often times only leads to disappointment and annoyance, for after going through all that just for an ad, you probably won’t even get a free drink! What a waste of time! Okay so it’s not like we’re looking to be freeloaders, but the point is if you’re going to make a customer go through so much effort to scan, load your website, and even like your fan page, let there at least be a little something in it for them! For what’s the point of marketing with all those QR codes if the consumer believes that there is no personal value in scanning it the first place?
4. Scanning QR codes and death!
Okay so death may be a little over the top, but hey, we’ve all seen those posters with QR codes waiting to be scanned… at the other end of the subway… behind the third rail! Just how convenient is that? Now, if a million dollars were to be given away for every scan that would be a different story!
5. It’s too troublesome.
There are times when rushing is the only transportation to get to our destinations, there just isn’t enough minutes in your life to scan a QR code! Considering that most smart phones are not exactly integrated with built in QR code readers, most users will have to boot up a third party app, get the code in focus (don’t get me started on what a pain in the ass this is) and scan it, and finally wait for the content to load. A simple Google search would have been faster, or even copying a link as an alternative to the bar-code would be of great help.
The QR code system is a great concept, and it is most certainly full of potential! Utilizing it in a manner suited for the benefit of the everyday consumer should be the aim of every business looking to venture into this. However, the case is far from this goal, at least for the time being. It seems to me that most marketing departments still only eye this awesome tool for the benefit of their own businesses and not the customer directly. As to whether the future holds better days for the QR technology, I cannot say, but it definitely will not be written off in my books.
Celina Conner is a Yoga Instructor, a holder of aMarketing Diploma from Martin College Australia and a mother of a beautiful daughter, Krizia. She has a passion in cooking and formulating vegan recipes.Follow her adventures on her Twitter.