Are QR codes a passing trend?

Are QR codes a passing trend?

A few years ago, most people apart from those in the automotive industry, would have never heard of QR codes (Quick Response codes). Essentially a more versatile barcode, these odd looking boxes of TV static started appearing everywhere on advertisements, making marketing people across the globe excited as they had a new toy to play with. But QR codes were certainly not new, as they have been around since the mid-90s helping car makers track parts across their plants thanks to their ability to scan a reasonable amount of data quickly.

As marketing devices, QR codes gave marketers the ability to link display advertisements more closely to company websites/microsites and remove the need for customers to write down or remember URLs. Initially this seemed to work; everyone was keen to download a QR scanner to their mobile phone and scan every code they saw, which was a lot! QR codes were plastered on any surface advertisers could get their hands on; I’ve seen QR codes next to business signage at 1st floor level and on advertisements at tube stations…a little out of reach. These poorly thought-out uses of technology are part of the reason why some people have been calling time on QR codes. People get bored of seeing them used so badly, and then just stopped using them altogether.

Luckily there are alternatives. Ricoh have developed an image recognition system called clickable paper which means people don’t have to zoom in on an unsightly barcode or just land at one pre-determined site. Other companies are also working on image recognition technology that bypasses the need for bar codes.

But for people who properly understand the technology and are willing to be creative, QR codes are not entirely dead yet. The vital thing is to only use it if it adds something to your brand, your marketing strategy and the customer’s experience. If none of those are likely to happen, go back to the drawing board! Think about the way customers will use the technology, and what they will expect to get out of it. As has been said a number of times in these blogs, it can be detrimental to your business to engage in marketing half-heartedly or without fully understanding what you’re doing. If in doubt, call in the experts.

Within Rosco Digital Media we have staff who understand the digital world inside out having developed online marketing strategies for publishing houses as well as global social media companies. We are here to help your business make the most of new technology without having to learn from your mistakes. Contact us today to find out more.

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