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Guest Column: Gain a marketing edge with QR codes

31-May-2012
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Guest Column: Gain a marketing edge with QR codes

In our previous article ‘Decoding the QR Code’, we laid out the basic constructs of a QR code and the immense potential it has to impact day-to-day life. In this article, we bring forth the marketing potential of QR codes to reach out to the consumers with the right content and information.

There are clearly two camps out there. The first one, which thinks QR codes are lame and too clunky to be paid any attention. The second one feels QR code is the real deal and the saviour of a marketers’ worst nightmare.

We think it’s neither of the two and the reason is simple. Consider television – Two advertisements, built with similar budget and resources, one of them just goes unnoticed or most of the time gets a boo; the other ad connects so deep with the customers that they recall the ad first and then the experience of the product or the brand.

QR codes are just the same. Used wisely and with the right approach, they can make marketing campaigns look great. Merely using them just because they are ‘free’ doesn’t help in anyway.

Queaar looks at these 2D codes as a means to an end. They are like that great signage we see around and pictorially ‘represent a thousand words’ that you cannot print on your billboards and fliers. Their success will ultimately stem from the great content and the utility that is embedded behind them.

Here are five great use cases for mobile marketing campaigns involving QR Codes

Information augmentation – Have you seen sales people fumble when customers ask them the difference between HD and Full HD televisions? Or what the Dynamic Contrast Ratio of the TV set is? We see it all the time. So, how can you get your products on display to market themselves to your potential customers?

Print media augmentation – Print advertisement space is expensive, and there is only that much you can print on flyers and magazines. Moreover, your promotions do not answer all the questions your customers may have. How can you make your print ads and promotions talk to your potential customers? Is there a way they can see beyond what the print ad is saying?

 Coupons / deals are a great way of promoting your products, rewarding your customers and earning their loyalty. But customers need to remember to carry your coupons, or may decide to visit you on an impulse. How then can you ensure better redemption?

Social media works best when it is kept social. That is when your customers endorse you online, to their friends, acting as your marketing agents. Your prospective customers then feel compelled to come to you based on the good things that their peers are saying about you. QR codes enable this for you on a more real-time basis.

How can your bridge that gap between a great marketing campaign and hard sales? While your marketing campaign has generated a bunch of prospective customers for you, how can you ensure these become your actual customer? Again, QR codes bring the ability to make this process instant, in-premise and measurable.

You can employ QR codes for a lot more. The use cases are numerous and if executed well, you can generate not just buzz around your marketing campaigns, but can actually convert these to sales on the ground.

Lastly, here are 10 things to remember to run a QR Code-based marketing and sales campaign

1. Content is key, so what is behind your QR code is more important to generate traction and hold attention.
2. A call to action is a must. Users should know where you are leading them with your QR code.
3. Incentives are expected and must be given. Increased user participation will happen only when they see what’s in it for them.
4. Differentiation will drive success. Your campaign must result in a new experience for the user.
5. Market maturity will drive adoption. Ensure there is enough smart phone penetration and 3G network connectivity in the areas where you run your campaign.
6. Educating your users is an absolute must. There is a lack of awareness on what to do with a QR code and how to scan it. Ensure there is plenty of help around.
7. Use short URLs to your campaign site. The longer the URL, the more pixilated the QR code is and tougher it is to scan it.
8. Do not place your QR codes where there is no internet access, e.g. in an underground metro station with no network signal
9. Placement makes all the difference. So, ensure that the QR code is placed in an area such that it is visible and attracts attention.
10. Start now. The technology is mature and user knowledge is picking up. Delaying your mobile marketing initiative using QR codes will make you an also-ran.

The author is Co-founder and CEO, Queaar

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