If you follow marketing or promotional product buzz online, you may have encountered a snazzy black and white phenomenon called the QR Code. A QR code (short for Quick Response Code) is a new kind of barcode that gives busy consumers a quick and easy way to access a company’s website or special deals and coupons. They’re appearing in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, and even the drink cup you may get at popular fast food restaurants.
How do QR Codes work? It’s simple. Smartphone users download a QR Code reader app for free. Then they use the phone’s camera to snap a picture of the code, and they’re directed right to the source of the embedded information. This enables them to view contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the phone’s browser. For a 21st century company, this means that anytime you update your website or create a new special offer, customers can access that instantly and easily on their smartphones.
One of today’s leaders in QR Code usage is Google, who always strives to be at the forefront of new technologies. Google has supplied thousands of U.S. businesses with window decals, so passers-by can scan and go right to their Google Place Pages. In turn, this tracks the flow of customers.
The promotional product applications of QR Codes are endless. When you add one to a tradeshow giveaway or a client gift, you make it easy for your target audience to connect with you. Sure, you can print your web address, Facebook page, or Twitter handle on an item, but that requires the person to manually type in the URL. Any time you can remove a step, you can increase your response rate. Furthermore, since QR Codes are still a novel innovation in the U.S., they’re conversation-starters. They get noticed, and they brand your company as cutting-edge and tech-savvy.
For us techie consumers, QR codes have some interesting features. The codes are capable of holding several dozen to a hundred times more information than a standard barcode because they contain information in the vertical and horizontal directions. They have embedded error correction and damage resistant coding, so they can be printed on almost anything. Because they can be read at high speeds and all angles, they can even be printed on 30-foot billboards or on the sides of buildings, and smartphones can read them on the go without losing any information.
The question, of course, is this: Should you be using QR Codes in your marketing, advertising, and promotional products? Since they can be printed in one color (an advantage over a similar barcode system from Microsoft), there’s no reason not to add one to your next design. Generate your own QR Codes for free on the web, and ask your Gorilla Marketing specialist about the best way to include them in your next promotion.