QR Codes are Dangerous, in the Wrong Hands...
By wrong hands, I mean 95% of the ad agencies and brands currently using them. See here’s the thing about QR codes, done well, they can take a consumer to a useful, meaningful curated experience. That actually gives a consumer a reason to interact with a brand again. (Guess where that works really well.. Korea.)
Unfortunately, as I walk around NYC on a daily basis, here’s what I see happens with QR codes:
–Well known Cable channel– that should know better! – Scan the code- link doesn’t work on iPhones #FAIL
–Well known Electronics Retailer – Scan the code - OUTSIDE their store – it takes me to their online store. Here’s a hint, you know I’m standing in front of your store, why not give me something that will make me come in the store. You know coupons work, really, they do. #FAIL
–Well known American Car Brand – Scan the code - it creates a fun game where scanning unlocks goodies on a scavenger hunt and the prize is something expensive. Result, the campaign is what marketing is supposed to be: fun, engaging & simple. #SUCCESS
As someone who lives and breathes on mobile devices, it’s unfortunate to see that brands are going for the shiny object, forgetting that it’s about the STRATEGY first. Here are some foolproof ways to use QR Codes effectively:
1. Ask yourself: What am I trying to do? – Is it a brand awareness play or drive people to buy your product? This should NEVER be a standalone campaign. Connecting it to social media, an experiential event, location based check-in, something. The channels are easy to merge now, remember that’s what QR are codes are, a channel!
2. How does my customer relate to my brand in other channels? If your customer is willing to print out a coupon and bring it into a store to get 10% off – odds are if you make that process simpler, they will do it. Remember, discounts are your friend.
3.Do you care about metrics? This just a stunt or are you tracking sales – decide what you want- FIRST!
4. Use a QR company that knows what they are doing. There a number of QR companies that claim “they can get you a million scans in 30 hours” – Run, like they stole your wallet, b/c these people are lying. Here’s a test, go onto their website and try more than 3 of their codes, if they work, that’s a good sign. Here’s why, if they’re working that means they have active campaigns and they haven’t mysteriously closed their US business and have 19 year olds in Russia managing your campaign.
5. Try it! Look, QR Codes are not going anywhere, so you might as well start small, but SMART.