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QR codes, full name Quick Response Code, has been used in manufacturing for years but recently has been picked up by marketers as the latest gimmick for advertising. Basically a QR code is a super-UPC bar code. More flexible and dynamic than a UPC and many free mobile apps allow anyone with a smartphone to scan them. With a QR code you can direct the scanner to a website, a video, post a note, and anything else creative around those.
Microsoft came out with their own style called Microsoft Tag, but like Microsoft you need a Microsoft app, other apps can’t read tags and it makes the mobile ad space more confusing and complicated.
But are they working from a marketing standpoint or is it too early to tell?
A recent study showed 80% of college students didn’t know how to use QR codes. Think about that, 80% of a gadget dependent social group not just didn’t use, but didn’t know how to use them. I don’t blame them. QR codes are a real pain to use. You first has to see it, then decide if you are going to dig out your phone, load the app, wait for that to load and then hold it up to scan it. The end result is so what, most just take the users to a website, some send you to the latest commercial video. So what? To get someone to use a QR comes down to the marketers creativity to visually draw someone in to it. If they are going to spend that much creative energy to a garbled square then make it worth while for the people scanning it. If not then spend the time on the product or store, don’t waste time with a non-value add marketing gimmick.
My favorite is when they use QR codes in a 30 second TV commercial. I want to know how many of those actually get scanned? Do people really go back on their DVR, pause and scan them? Because that’s the only you can scan a TV QR, there is no way someone is sitting there like a Western gunfighter waiting for a QR code to flash by, yell ‘DRAW!’ and scan it before the commercial ends.
Do you use them? Do you even notice them?
QR Codes will always be used within companies for business purposes they are robust, easy and effective, but for regular customers or potential customers using them regularly I think it’s just a fad.
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Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.