Consumers Know What to Do with QR Codes. Do Marketers?

In the marketing world, we call them QR codes, 2D barcodes and mobile barcodes. Consumers call them, “oh…those little black pixelated squares on the corners of magazine ads”.

Consumers may not know them by name, but they know what to do with them. A recent study found that four in five consumers know to scan QR codes when they seem them, even though the majority of those consumers aren’t familiar with the term “QR code.”

81% of consumers surveyed knew to scan the ” little black pixelated squares” with an app on their smartphones, despite the fact that they weren’t aware of the name of said “squares.”

Consumers who take action when they see QR codes? SCORE!

As a marketer and someone who built a business based on QR codes, I view consumer acceptance and engagement with QR codes as a major milestone. At one time I would’ve said that this tip in the scale equates to victory. Undoubtedly, we must see that consumers not only understand the fundamentals but take action accordingly (see code, scan code) for this whole mobile barcode thing to take off. And, ladies and gentlemen, we are getting there!

However, I’ve come to realize that consumer education and engagement is less of a scale-tipper than I’d first thought. Now I know that marketers must learn to effectively use QR codes first and foremost for this whole thing to work fluidly. I see consumers scanning frequently these days, but I also observe those consumers being disappointed in the results of those scans. I’ve been genuinely surprised by the commonality of marketers’ misfires—linking QR codes to web pages not optimized for mobile viewing, taking consumers to a home page instead of a specific product page or special offer, creating codes without tracking mechanisms.

Marketers have got to step up and do the legwork to make the gap-bridging effects of QR codes powerful. The creation and placement of QR codes is very simple to accomplish. What takes more effort is developing a strategy for mobile-friendly marketing: creating mobile-optimized websites, trimming content for on-the-go consumers, creating geotargeted campaigns and developing socially-infused messaging and meaningful click-throughs. Frankly, these are musts for anybody who sells stuff regardless of QR code use. Ours is now a social – mobile marketplace, and marketers have to step up!

If you need help not only cracking the code on QR codes but going mobile with your marketing, I invite you to contact me. I’m in the business of giving brands like yours a voice in the digital-social-mobile marketplace.

Let’s connect soon!

Posted in Effective Use of QR Codes, For Ad Agencies, For Marketers, News/Views - QR Codes & Beyond | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

QR Code Strategy is a Marketing Function

OK, I get it…in theory. QR codes get printed on stuff; that’s how they exist in the world. Hence, printers and producers of specialty advertising items are keenly aware of—and are driving attention to—the use of QR codes. At least a few times a week I hear businesses report that they acquired their QR code(s) from their printer.

As somebody who’s a strong proponent of QR code use, I’m glad to observe others advocating them. However, I also know that QR codes will not take hold and propel forward to their fullest benefit in the marketplace far and wide unless we get really smart, creative, practical and tactical regarding implementation.

Thus, I’m making this all-call to marketers:  Step up and get in the QR code game!

It’s time for those who build and nurture brands, target and track markets and create and quantify messaging to add QR codes to their tools kits.

This juncture reminds me of what happened with social media. While the groundswell of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube was overtaking the population, many marketers kept going along, rather status quo and often surprisingly unaware of the essential, fundamental marketing role social media was already playing. Hence, we saw a new category of service providers emerge—the Social Media consultant. Because the broader industry wasn’t quick on the draw, there was undue segmentation of the social media function. Ultimately social media works best when integrated into overall marketing strategy, blending and jiving with all other tactics for best results.

That’s what needs to happen with QR code use. Right now, the printing industry is rising to the occasion, and it certainly should. However, marketers need to awaken to the possibilities and lead the strategies. QR codes are great tools to have in the toolbox, and marketers and the brands they represent will benefit from them when they are used strategically and creatively.

So…there’s my 2-cents worth. Do you agree? Are you a marketer looking to gain knowledge and use QR codes / mobile barcodes / 2D codes to your best advantage? I’d love-love-love the chance to chat about ideas with you.

Connect with me here, on Twitter or on my QRHere Facebook page. I’ve got loads of ideas to share about adding QR codes to your toolbox.

Posted in Effective Use of QR Codes, For Marketers, News/Views - QR Codes & Beyond, QR Code Basics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mobile Search Leads to Purchase More Than Half the Time

I’ve got good news for brands and businesses aiming to use QR codes for their marketing. A report just published by shares the findings of recent research by research from Google and Ipsos OTX MediaCT that finds that “more than half of smartphone users made a purchase after their mobile search, whether in a store, online or via their phone.”

The research also reveals that smartphone users who conduct searches are rather far along in their purchasing decision and, thus, are very apt to take action.

Why is this good news for QR code-using marketers?  QR codes propel and target mobile search. If a consumer who is nearing the point of decision comes upon a QR code that links to compelling, motivating information, the marketer is that much closer to sealing the deal.  Of course, QR codes must be used strategically by marketers to really make the most of these findings. It’s important to note that this information also highlights the priority companies must place on making sure their digital content is mobile friendly.

This chart from indicates the purpose and intention of smartphone users who engage in mobile search. Again, with use of QR codes, marketers have the opportunity to direct the search process for even greater potential gains.

As smartphone use is consistently on the rise, it’s go-time for marketers who really want to reach consumers ready to make purchases.

To take QR codes to a whole new level of selling power, check out QRHere’s advanced QR code technology and solid strategy and support.

Posted in Effective Use of QR Codes, For Manufacturers, For Print/Publications, For Real Estate, For Retail/Stores, For Tourism/Municipalities, For Trade Shows, QR Code Basics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mobile Barcodes—QR Codes—Are Powerful Marketing Tools

The report is in, and it looks like U.S. marketers are raising the bar on mobile barcode use. Take a look at the graphic for the comparison, as offered in a report posted today on

The current study also addresses the need for marketers to make QR codes useful for consumers. In other words, the codes must lead to content that is helpful and beneficial for the person who scans it. The QR code may be cool, but it’s only a tool. Marketers must focus on quality, engaging and meaningful content (as always!!). Only when marketers achieve that core aspect will QR codes, or mobile barcodes, become ubiquitous. also states that 65% of smartphone users have seen a mobile barcode. And just look at the compelling statistics regarding those who recognize QR codes, as reported by earlier this month. Marketers should definitely take note. Consumers who know about QR codes are obviously smartphone users, but this shows that they have disposable income, are educated and in their prime buying years.  This tells me QR codes can be very effective tools for reaching key market segments.

Here’s a look at what compelled people to scan.

In terms of ‘meaningful use,’ this is very helpful insight for all marketers. Not surprisingly, ‘incentive’ and ‘information’ motivated the most scans. In my opinion, this affirms the in-the-moment nature of QR codes’ best value for consumers, yet also affirms my belief that we need to build in mechanisms to later re-engage consumers who sought more details in the moment. We’ve got to add value at the point of the scan, and we’d be wise to make sure we can reconnect later as well.

Posted in Effective Use of QR Codes, For Manufacturers, For Print/Publications, For Real Estate, For Retail/Stores, For Tourism/Municipalities, For Trade Shows, QR Code Basics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Link QR Codes to Specific Content

QR codes need to link to specific content in order to be most effective. It’s common sense marketing, really. It’s why the waiter brings out the dessert menu after dinner—to optimally target the selling message for the moment at hand.

I recently spoke about QR code marketing at a real estate industry event. One of the key points I focused on? Link QR codes to specific content to be most effective. If a potential buyer is scanning QR codes on For Sale signs all over the neighborhood, she doesn’t need to see your website’s home page each time she scans.  She needs to photo galleries and home details for whatever house she’s in front of, in that moment. Sending her to a generic home page really offers no advantage.

Translate this idea for your business. I’ll jump start a few ideas for you here…

– A Car Dealer: Provide vehicle-specific details on the car window in the lot. While you hope the customer will be buying a car that day, he may just be collecting information for consideration. Arm him with details he needs to make a decision.

– A Musician: At your next gig, hand out cards printed with a QR code that links to your latest project for sale in iTunes. Turn audience members from your gig into fans who make purchases simply by making it extremely easy to get to the music you have for sale.

-A Trade Show Exhibitor: Sprinkle your trade show booth with QR codes that direct to specific information. Use QR codes that are trackable and Google analytics to assess what codes got the most scans during…and after…the show. From this knowledge, gain insight on attendee interest and effectiveness of booth configuration and messaging.

– A Retail Store Owner: Link QR codes to specific product information and consumer reviews, to inspire in-store decisions and help shoppers create wish lists of future products they’d like to buy later.

My client, tile manufacturer Crossville, Inc., has integrated QR codes onto the backs of their tile samples. Each code not only links to a specific product but to a specific color as well. Their customers who actively scan can essentially create their own product portfolios, logging top picks for future referent. Mind you, Crossville is using my QRHere system, and that system heightens the interactions and value for consumers and Crossville alike. Nonetheless, you could achieve quite a bit of the same effect utilizing QR codes in their most basic form for your business.

If you’d like to banter about more specific ideas, contact me anytime!

Posted in Effective Use of QR Codes, For Real Estate, For Retail/Stores, For Trade Shows, QR Code Basics | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shorten Links Before Creating Your QR Codes

Before you generate a QR code for a website URL, shorten the link. Generate QR codes for shortened links whenever possible.

Handy services such as or (my go-to is for reasons I’ll explain later) are very quick, easy solutions for reducing the length of your link. Link shortening is useful for an array of activities on the social web, so I’m guessing by now you’re familiar with the concept.

Why shorten the URL before creating a QR code:

Reduce amount of data being encoded in the QR code – If you have a crazy long URL, all that information has to get digitally squeezed down to create you code. While QR codes are famous for holding lots-and-lots of data, it’s still best to keep it lean whenever possible. That’s because simple content results in a simple QR code (less visually dense), making the code easier to scan successfully.

Here’s an example for you. Compare the patterns of these QR codes based on the length of the URL I used to create them.

Clearly, the second code has a much simpler pattern that will provide a more reliable scan  when printed or posted. While the industry rule of thumb is to go no smaller than 1″x1″ when placing a QR code, the second code would like scan just fine if you needed to scale it down a bit for a smaller application. However, the first code might actually prove challenging to scan even at 1″x1″ depending on kind of smartphone and app being used for the scanning.

I choose for my link shortening needs because this free service offers great results tracking via a user-friendly dashboard and also allows for customization of shortened links. I even have a PRO account that allows me to use my own vanity base URL [] for my codes.

It’s best to customize a shortened code so that the person who scans will be able understand what the link leads to once the URL shows up in their scan history log on their QR code-reading app. If you shorten codes without customizing them, your consumer will only see meaningless URLs in their history logs.

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QR Codes for Manufacturers – A Case Study

Here’s how tile manufacturer has approached QR code use for its business…

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QR Codes for Retail Stores

Major retailers have embraced the power of QR codes. The edges of Best Buy shelves are marked with QR codes. For each product displayed, consumers can scan a QR code to get detailed information on their smartphones, in the moment.

Home Depot recently introduced a full QR code program, using these digital bar codes on print advertising and in store, as well.

For both these retail powerhouses, the motivation for QR codes usage likely hinges on deeper consumer engagement. Blending useful information with mobile technology makes these chain stores more responsive, helpful and interesting for consumers. The codes link to content that tells a more detailed, useful story in the moment, helping consumers make more informed purchasing decisions and inspiring interaction and response.

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QR Codes Bring City Tourist Attractions Together

How can QR codes help bring city tourist attractions together? Here are some fun ideas to inspire Conventions & Visitors Bureaus and municipalities to consider the unifying power of the QR code.

– Directional information: Use QR codes citywide to offer visitors directions and provide details about what is housed in certain locations

– Cross-promotions: Direct visitors to their next stops through digital ideas offered via QR codes

– Mobile couponing: Inspire visitors to get more involved in the city by linking QR codes to mobile coupons that add incentive in the moment. Offer discounts on admission to museums and events, meal costs at participating restaurants and on souvenirs sold at key locations.

– Interactive promotions: Create QR code scavenger hunts that compel visitors to seek all the essential scans citywide in hopes of winning the chance a unique prize

Look for more ideas on QR codes for tourism, coming soon…

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QR Codes Enliven Printed Materials

In age when the printed page is undergoing a rapid fade as we shift to consumption of digital content, QR codes are a vibrant way to bridge the chasm between printed materials we hold and electronic words we download.

QR codes are a kind of 2-dimensional bar code that brings digital information to the 3-dimensional world. Add a QR code to a page, scan it with a QR code reader on a smart phone and be instantly directed to helpful information on the phone.

Many magazines are featuring QR codes on their printed pages. From editorial content to ads, QR codes are being used to enhance messaging with digital content. QR codes on ads may link to YouTube videos or website pages that offer more detail than the ad format will accommodate. Business cards printed with QR codes link recipients to virtual business cards that can load directly into contacts. Books with QR codes provide extended insights on topics relevant to the subject being addressed.

QR codes help pages come to life and play a continued, valued role in our digital – social – mobile marketplace.

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