Mobile marketers have used mobile barcodes as a powerful means of reaching consumers directly. We place barcodes on magazine pages, in-store signage, and TV screens. But in our excitement, we mustn't forget that mobile barcodes need to be based on a strong strategy that encourages consumer interaction.

The primary benefit of mobile codes is clear: They enrich the brand experience by linking the physical world to the digital. Though half of smartphone users have scanned a quick response (QR) code, getting consumers to understand the value of codes and to continue scanning them remains a challenge, according to a recent Chadwick Martin Bailey survey.

Mobile barcodes undoubtedly offer consumers a new and different experience. But a smart marketing strategy must be the driver behind every one of those jagged black-and-white boxes, else your mobile barcode campaign is just another gimmick that says to your customers, "We're on to the next big thing, but not quite there yet."

As with most any digital channel, relevancy is central to an effective mobile campaign. What works on Twitter, for example, may not fit the corporate blog. The same is true for barcodes.

The following tips—the seven R's—provide a strategic framework for developing a successful mobile barcode campaign.

1. Recite the code

Mobile barcodes are a strange-looking phenomenon to the average consumer, and even the most savvy smartphone users could use a short reminder about how to use them. Include instructions (usually below the barcode) for scanning, link to a scanner app, and hint at what happens when a user scans.

2. Redirect to a mobile site

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Igor Glubochansky is executive director of advanced mobility solutions at AT&T. He can be reached via