||What's a QR Code and Why Should You Care?
QR codes, those barcode-like images that can be scanned by smartphones, are showing up in magazine ads, on product shelves and billboards. We even saw one the other day on a dog collar.
Taco Bell has used QR codes on fountain drink cups to direct consumers to MTV video content. Procter and Gamble and Kraft Foods have used them for online discounts. TV's HSN (Home Shopping Network) recently offered a four-day QR-a-thon, displaying the codes at the bottom of the TV screen for more web information about products.
Scanning a QR code is easy: Just download a free QR code reader app for your smartphone, and take a picture of the code. The QR code can be read horizontally or vertically, allowing marketers to pack in more information.
Yet according to researcher comScore, only 6% of mobile phone consumers actually use them -- leaving 94% to wonder what the fuss is all about.
Marketing professionals who wrote us either love or hate QR codes.
"I've spent lots of time building my companies and our branding," writes Jeffrey Greene, founder of Miami-based 84 West Studios. "So how does it make sense to place a graphic, an ugly one at that, onto your graphically pleasing advertisement only to have it point to your website? The QR code is generic and indistinguishable to your customers from one your competitor has."
Tom Force, owner of ICEkeytags in Southlake, Texas, says QR codes help small businesses compete with larger firms. At little cost, a small business "can provide fresh and real value content to target consumers," he writes.
His company markets plastic keyring tags that have personalized "I.C.E." information inscribed on them (for "In Case of Emergency"). Thanks to the ease of QR code technology, ads on the tags can constantly be updated. "Since our tag holders keep the keytag on their keyring, the latest coupon is only a scan away."
The trick will be educating consumers about QR codes. Most people we spoke to had no idea what we were talking about, even when we pulled a QR code out of our pocket to demonstrate. That suggests the industry has a lot of work ahead of it teaching people not only how to use the codes, but telling them why they're there in the first place.
To find out more, we talked to readers and stopped by a taping of CBS's "Let's Make a Deal" to chat with folks waiting in line. A good 70% of the people we spoke to had no idea what we were talking about, but the other 30% love QR codes. Here's why.
"Whenever I go to the movie theater, I scan them for free popcorn," said Christine Mendoza of Covina, Calif. "I also use them for discounts on bars of soap. I scan them and get a dollar off."
Emmanuel Garcia used a QR code with a "Madden" game for his Xbox videogame system. He scanned the code to enter a sweepstakes for a free prize.
"If I need information on something, like at Home Depot, I'll do a quick scan," says Matthew Thorne, of Seattle.
When reading magazines, "I'll take out my iPhone and scan, and it pulls up the information about the product," says Tammi Curtis, of Houston.
While at a museum in London, Kevin Edwards scanned the QR code "to take the information with me," he says.
"I used it once for (information about) a house that was on Westwide Rentals. (The code) was there on the sign," says Hannah Hawkins of Los Angeles.
(Source: Jefferson Graham, USA Today, 10/28/11)
Click here to email to client
Back to Radio Sales Today
Click here to view classified ads in the RAB Job Center.
Tell Us About Your Ad Campaigns
If you are hosting a local event or promotion for any mass retailer including Walmart, Kohl's, J.C. Penney, Amazon, Best Buy, Toys "R" Us, Macy's, Walgreens or Target, we want to hear about it.
Please click the link below and send us an email. Be sure to include a brief summary and campaign highlights. Send your email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sales Management: Problem Solving Simplified
Problems? At a broadcast property? Perish the thought! Well, as hard as it is to believe, there are SOME stations that have problems.
Join RAB's Sheila Kirby for this lively webinar, and learn strategies and tactics to slay the "problem dragon." You'll understand different problem types and how they differ, step-by-step ideas for solving problems, and why having no problems is truly overrated.
This webinar will be presented on Tuesday, November 8 at 3 PM (Central) and again on Thursday, November 10, at 10 AM (Central). For registration details, click here.