QR (quick response) codes are moving from tech geek novelty to fact of life. Neilson estimates that by December 2012, one in two Americans will own a smartphone and those mobile devices with bar code scanner apps are the reason QR is such a dream come true for marketers. For the first time ever, a print medium can be interactive and produce immediate, measurable sales.
Like anything in its infancy, mistakes are being made. Patricia Odell talks about the big hype and disappointment of rapper Lupe Fiasco when he tweeted to his followers that something big would happen in New York’s Union Square. About 2,000 fans gathered, which was a fantastic response and testament to his fan loyalty. Unfortunately, those fans were expecting to see Fiasco perform. Instead, they found a massive QR code projected onto a tall building. But when they scanned it, they unlocked an exclusive pre order for his latest album, “Lasers.” (“One Rotten QR Code Can Spoil the Whole Bunch,” Patricia Odell, Promo Magazine)
This has everything to do with my favorite refrain “fulfill your customers’ expectations.” The exclusive might have been a nice offer, but his fans were expecting to see him so it became a big disappointment. Don’t let this happen to you.
Another life lesson can be learned from a major auto manufacturer who bought magazine back-cover advertising space with a big QR code on it. The issue was that the code linked to a url with a typo in it so anyone scanning got a 404 “page not found” error and there was no way to fix it.
When you craft a QR code, which is in effect a blind offer, make sure that:
- The context surrounding your code doesn’t misrepresent what it’s going to do and,
- You link to something that can be changed on the fly.
The same rules regarding understanding your customer demograpic and the place your ad will appear apply to QR as to anything else. Remember the basics when entering into a new medium.