QR Code Marketing in 2021 and Beyond


a wall  of QR codes as seen through a crystal ball


PHOTO:
Mitya Ivanov

The use of QR codes in marketing is growing, with current data showing that 78% of the world’s population owns a smartphone, according to Statista. With this number continuously on the rise, it would seem to make sense for companies to invest more time and money into using these types of codes in their advertising campaigns. 

The main benefits that QR codes can yield include increased customer engagement, easier access to information by customers, and an increase in conversions for businesses. Implementing them into your campaign can give you an edge over competitors who are not utilizing these forms of advertising yet. 

How Are QR Codes Being Used in Marketing?

A QR code stands for ‘Quick Response Code’ and is a 2-dimensional barcode. The information embedded behind a QR code can be accessed using your smartphone device in a photo mode or QR code reader app. 

You just have to point your smartphone towards the QR code to access its content. Today QR codes are used a lot to give a digital dimension to a product or flyer that leads to a URL. Since they are editable and size adjustable, they promote identity establishment, are material cost-efficient, are safe and secure, and are relatively easy to use nowadays. They can be used for WiFi access, product packaging, advertisements, business cards, promotions, and discounts.

“The user benefit is the most important factor to consider when implementing a QR Code in your campaign,” according to Sharon Von Donkelaar, chief marketing officer at Eindhoven, Netherlands-based Expandi. For effective use of QR codes in marketing, delivery should be heavily weighted towards immediately satisfying the end-user. “The code must give a user something they require at that very moment or can save for later use. Concentrate on directing users to scarce information, desirable coupon discounts, or to complete an action that otherwise wouldn’t be possible without a mobile phone,” Donkelaar continues. 

Related Article: How to Introduce AI Into Your Marketing and Customer Experience Practices

QR Code Marketing Best Practices

The best practice for QR codes, like any marketing channel, is to add value. Make sure each QR code leads directly to the source of value (promotion, checkout, etc.) and requires as few clicks as possible. This is powerful in the marketing sphere because it removes barriers that inhibit users from acting on their interests and spending time learning about your company.

To ensure your QR strategy is successful, ensure your data management structure captures any QR code interactions so you can incorporate this behavior into personalizing the consumer’s journey through other channels.

Here are some best practices to follow when building a QR-based marketing strategy: 

  • The QR code should be of a decent size, so scanning it is easy
  • You should put your QR code in every relevant and convenient place
  • Provide additional information below the QR code
  • Give people an alternative way of accessing the information on the QR code

Related Article: Use AI Thinking to Improve Customer Experience

How Can Marketers Incorporate QR Codes Into Their Strategy?

QR codes are a powerful way to follow and nurture customers across their entire journey. “For marketers, QR codes enable them to create and integrate short branded links, generate QR codes from them and place them virtually anywhere. From print media, billboards, storefronts, stickers, t-shirts, you name it. They can track their links to see how customers are moving from offline to online,” said Toby Gabriner, CEO at New York City-based Bitly

You can also use QR codes to drive app-based opt-in interactions as described above, which brings a host of analytic opportunities and touchpoint signals that can be captured and then used to take the story out of a one-off QR moment, into a longtail digital storyline responsibly delivered to that specific user. “Not only are QR codes the source for increasing offline interaction prompts with things like restaurant menus, store information, product information, directions, etc., but the “second-screen” revolution is seeing connected TV campaigns literally display QR codes on the TV screen because brands know that every household is also on their phone or tablet while watching TV,” shared Brent Ramos, director of product at Denver-based Adswerve.

For marketers, this allows for another opportunity of QR engagement to expose brand-recall or tie CTV impressions to second screen conversions. Thus, to entice your customers into scanning the QR codes, offer something of equal value to them. You can try running exclusive promos. For example, provide customers that engage with your social media accounts a small discount on their next purchase. Doing so can boost your online presence and customer retention rates.



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