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Five QR-Code Marketing Mistakes and How to Fix Them

July 16, 2012  
Marketers remain bullish on the potential of QR codes, but a Temkin Group study in April found that only 24% of US adults are actually using them. So notes Dan Wilkerson in an article at Mashable.

According to Wilkerson, there are five common mistakes being made by QR-code marketers that are turning consumers off.

Here they are, with some suggested solutions:

Poor content. To marketers, QR codes are cheap, trackable, and easy to create. But using one costs users time and effort: They have to download an app to read it; it isn't clear what kind of info they'll unlock; and 90% of the time, the site they land on isn't optimized for mobile. Suggestion: Improve your offers. Promise a discount, the first few chapters of a book, a free drink, a video.

Poor consumer awareness. A study of college students by ArchRival found 78.5% don't know how to scan a QR code, Wilkerson reports. Suggestion: Ensure your market is educated on what actions to take with a QR code (and why it's worth their while)!

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  • by Ryan Mon Jul 16, 2012 via web

    Wow I'm amazed that 78.5% of college students don't know how to scan a QR code! Is this information true? It seems to me that that age group would be the ones who would know how to use them. Very interesting.

  • by Alex Mon Jul 16, 2012 via web

    I'd strongly argue against the poor aesthetics comment above. People already have enough trouble recognizing QR codes -- changing the colors and making them look "attractive" will only make them harder for people to recognize as QR codes. No one complains about UPC barcodes not looking pretty, but everyone knows what they are and what they do. If they were in green and blue with pretty logos and pictures, do you think people would still scan them?

    Also, how is poor consumer awareness a mistake that marketers make? You need to know if your particular target audience is up to speed on QR and if not, then make sure to put instructions near the code.

  • by Patrick Zuluaga [PMZ Marketing] Mon Jul 16, 2012 via web

    My advice is to always test your marketing campaigns and that includes the use of QR codes!

  • by Maria Wasing [EPiServer] Tue Jul 17, 2012 via web

    Thanks for your tips. Having done a bit of research on QR codes and used them for campaigns, I would like to add that to the testing part that you need to consider the mobility aspect and the external surroundings. Using a QR code on a billboard on a busy high street may be a good idea but placing it in an elevator with bad Wi-Fi or 3G connections will not work. Think about the external environment that your target audiences are in and whether taking out their phones and scanning a code is physical possible or convenient for them. In addition, you increase your chances of conversions if you also personalize the content for each unique visitor. Use the preferences of the visitor, where they are (geography) and the context, then share your offering based on that. This is where it can become a lot more engaging for potential customers. Best of luck with using them!

  • by Kyrsten Braun Tue Jul 17, 2012 via web

    One additional recommendation: Include the URL under the QR code so people who don't have smartphones can access the content.

  • by Bhaskar Tue Jul 17, 2012 via web

    My mind is boggled at the places where I have seen QR codes pop up. I have seen them on T-shirts, the back of baseballs caps and ...on cupcakes. How would you expect a customer to scan 6/9th of a QR code on a cupcake and land on your site?

    Sheer folly, I tell ya.

  • by Ryan Tue Jul 17, 2012 via web

    I saw one printed on a billboard once. How are you supposed to scan a billboard while you're driving your car? Are you supposed to pull over and stop? QR codes on billboards are kind of worthless I think.

  • by Mark Tue Jul 17, 2012 via web

    I kind of have to agree that QR codes aren't all that useful. By the time I find my scanner app, open it, have it load the camera and scan the code, it would have been faster for me to go to a URL.

    Speaking of terrible places for QR codes, I've seen them on moving targets like the exterior ads on busses and trains. Again, very little foresight into the practicality of the ad.

  • by *biztag Tue Jul 17, 2012 via web

    A few things in regards to the post, just for the record.
    Questionable Value; Donít prejudge- if QR Codes save users time, it's a value add feature, let the user decide how they want to interact with your product and/or services. Once you have collected data you may have missed before, you will realize the power of an efficient mobile web application bridged by QR Codes.
    Aesthetics; The greatest thing about QR Codes is that they are different, distinguishable at a glance, they are not meant to be beautiful, all the time, they represent a symbol mobile friendly access to the web, FAST! A consistent corporate message and friendly social interaction (at least with biztag QR Code biztags :)
    The Point; You don't need to know everything about QR Codes to get started, just jump right in, with a consistent message and easy to manipulate and custom fit UI from biztag, your audience will show you how they are interacting, metrics that may be new to your operating practices which will enable you to target market more efficiently. Cheers, and thanks for reading, simply here to help!

  • by FrankyGee3 Thu Jul 19, 2012 via mobile

    We are in the training wheels stage of many technologies, text marketing and QR codes being most prominent. Those who adopt now will be ahead of the game later. Thinking how to use them creatively and in ways that delight the customer is the difference. They can be cumbersome, but if the payoff is good enough in their minds, the effort is ignored. For instance, using it to enter a contest or get a coupon is a great incentive.

  • by Caribbean Sailor Sun Jul 22, 2012 via mobile

    Thanks for all the varying insights. As both Biztag and FrankyGee imply, well shouldn't be making the buying decisions for our customers. Either you're in or you're out.

  • by Russell Mon Sep 3, 2012 via web

    Q. The benefit of using a QR code has to be more than saving the end user time if you are going to place instructions, the QR code and a URL for non app compatible mobile devices all in the same space. The BIG prize better be good for all involved.

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