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Proper and Improper Use of QR Codes: 10 Great Examples of Each

by Uriel Peled  |  
February 26, 2014
  |  21,675 views

Designed as a high-tech marketing resource, QR (quick response) codes have many useful applications. These (usually) black-and-white algorithmic codes are gateways to a potential multimedia nirvana. When used correctly, QR codes are marketing marvels.

In the world of QR codes, however, the sublime often coexists alongside the ridiculous.

Improper Ways to Use QR Codes for Marketing

Perhaps the relative novelty of QR codes has some companies a little confused about which best-practices to adopt. Subway—the international sandwich maker—created shirts with massive codes on the back of the T-shirts. The question arises: When are those QRs going to be scanned, considering that we communicate face to face?

Often, companies are so excited about using QR codes as part of their marketing campaigns that they forget the basic rules of the game.


These codes were designed expressly to simplify the marketing message, not to complicate it. Convoluted marketing messages detract from the effectiveness of using the QR code in the first place. Rambling lists of instructions and bullet points to get your message across are a definite no-go. Simplicity and appeal trump instruction-laden advertisements.

Companies that don't understand the true marketing potential of this resource run the risk of losing out on its potential for getting their messages across to customers. Many marketing departments are loath to embrace this technology and hope that it will simply go away.

QR codes are here to stay, and the sooner their untapped potential is understood, the better for everyone.


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Uriel Peled is a co-founder and the CMO at Visualead.

Twitter: @urielpeled

LinkedIn: Uriel Peled

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  • by Rudy Hiebert Wed Feb 26, 2014 via web

    Learned stuff I didn't know but am a fan of the QR code. Wonder why I still get phone calls even though I show my URL and email address.

  • by Brian Cohn Wed Feb 26, 2014 via mobile

    Definitely like what restaurants are doing to make a simpler yet faster experience for diners.

  • by Premysl Pech Wed Feb 26, 2014 via web

    I see vCard to be a time saver if you still collecting a business cards. SlimPublisher 4.0 can be used to create artistic QR code on the business card. Here is tip how if you need it.
    http://www.binarynow.com/office-suite/add-artistic-qr-code-business-card-letterhead-flyer-postcard-label/

  • by Paul Wed Feb 26, 2014 via web

    Good article Uriel. We continuously get positive response from the QR code used on our business cards. All of our information is added to their contact information by scanning it. Here's a link to see it: http://mystique.ca/2013/01/business-cards-stand-the-test-of-time/

  • by Susanna Moore Wed Feb 26, 2014 via web

    To use QR codes conveniently you may have a smartphone equipped with a camera and a QR code reader/scanner application feature. Luckily, the newer smartphones models available today often have an app pre-installed on them.

    QR code reader/scanner: http://www.rasteredge.com/dotnet-imaging/addon-barcode-reader/

  • by Personalizing content Thu Feb 27, 2014 via web

    We have done some experiments with the use of personalized QR codes which marry to a personalized mobile website experience. While QR codes may still prove to have a ceiling for adoption, our approach was to build a database of characteristics about those in our (potential) customer list. The QR code is scanned by the target/recipient, the database provides the personalized content, including calling the user by name, and presents information suitable or more appropriate for the user. Refining the experience can occur through questions asked during the encounter with the personalized mobile website.

    Our success with this has prompted the development of platform/foundation for use.

  • by Marie Wed Mar 5, 2014 via web

    We just launched a marketing campaign to our clients and key prospects to share our recent news, WBE certification, and global expansion. We tied it into a music theme ' Turning it up a Notch' and sent them a Bluetooth speaker enclosed with a postcard that contained a QR code that when scanned will play our latest video.

  • by Lori Pail Mon Oct 20, 2014 via web

    We used a QR code on a webpage to enable our customers to easily download our Event Planner App to their phone. We also included the "Download" clickable link to iTunes, etc. Why did we use the QR Code...because many of our customers are restricted from downloading from iTunes at work...so we made it easy for the customer to scan the QR code using their phone at work and then installing our app on their phone. We got a lot of negative feedback/opinions from others outside of marketing for using a QR code on a webpage. What do other marketers think? Is this a logical way to use a QR Code.

  • by poodahbear Mon Nov 17, 2014 via web

    #it's very difficult to keep up! But once I get it, I've got it and the technology keeps an older person once again in the loop.

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