QR Codes – #Winning or #Fail???

I recently gave a presentation on mobile marketing and openly admitted that I am not a big fan of QR codes. This apparently was not received well by a few members of the audience, so I thought I would take the time to explain my point of view on QR codes and their place in marketing.

Let me start by saying that quick response (or QR) codes can be an effective marketing tactic when used correctly. One of the main advantage of QR codes is versatility. QR codes can be used for almost anything and can be beneficial for both customers and businesses. I am a fan of using QR codes when they are easy to access and provide a short cut to the information the user is looking for or the goal they are trying to achieve. Also, I have to admit the QR code scanning apps have come along way. Today they are much faster and more accurate than when my initial opinion was formed.

#Winning – The Benefits of QR Codes:

  • QR codes are cheap – there are plenty of free QR code generators out there
  • QR codes can increase traffic to your website (IF USED CORRECTLY)
  • QR codes can increase app downloads
  • QR codes can help get people to register for events or promotions
  • QR codes can increase survey responses, reviews, and customer feedback
  • QR codes can increase social audiences and followings
  • and they are cool…. (I guess)

I am not a huge advocate of QR codes, because they are often used just for the sake of having one and more than often used incorrectly. In my opinion the buzz around QR codes started around 2009/2010. This is around the same time smartphones and mobile internet usage really started to take off. At the time many of the clients and co-workers were interested in QR codes and often asked about them. It seems like there is a new “buzz term” in the online marketing industry every 6 months or so and in my opinion QR codes was one of them at the time.

#Fail – The Disadvantages of QR Codes:

  • QR codes are only successful if consumers have the app required to scan them
  • They are often placed in difficult places to scan
  • Often misleading or uninformative
  • Used just for the sake of having one
  • Can (and more than often should) be replaced by an SMS Message or vanity URL
  • Sometime I just feel like “WTF QR CODES”

QR Code Fail

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