mindjumpers qr codeMaybe you have noticed the square barcodes sometimes appearing in advertisements, newspaper ads, movie posters, business cards etc. They are starting to appear more and more frequently. I have looked into what they are and how they can be used for marketing.

What are QR codes?

A QR code can be scanned by a smart phone and make an action on the phone. It might direct the user to a website, deliver a vCard, open a video etc. The possibilities are many. Thereby the name QR = Quick Response. QR codes are two-dimensional unlike the linear one-dimensional barcodes that are printed on to all products.

In Europe and the US, the 2D codes are fast developing into a marketing tool that connects the offline world with the online. Many see the QR code as the golden link between print media and the web. In Asia, and especially Japan, QR codes are widely used to connect online experiences to products. 75% of all printed media in Asia include barcodes as a marketing tool. So whether you are sitting in the subway and reading a magazine, drinking a coffee to go or looking at the posters, there is always a QR code nearby to direct you to further online content.

Of course, before embarking on using QR codes actively for marketing activities, you will have to decide whether it fits with your business and whether the codes will have an impact on your target audience. So far, many people are not yet aware of the codes’ existence, even though they are beginning to pop op here and there.

How to use QR codes

LikifyIt is easy to create your own unique QR code to incorporate it on some of your printed media. There are several generators available online for free where you have the possibility to type in the output you wish to create when users scan the code – whether it is a website, sending a text message, open a Youtube video etc. There are different actions to choose from depending on the generator you use. Some of the more popular QR code generators are for instance Kaywa QR Code or Kerem Erkan – the latter have several options and allows to you choose between colours, picture format and so on.

Another generator called Likify will can create a code that includes a Facebook Like button.

The only thing needed for people to be able to read the codes is a smartphone with a QR reader installed. There are several different applications to do that job, just try and search for it.

In a later post I will take a further look at some cases where QR codes are used for marketing.