These days, more and more marketers are using uber-sophisticated gadgetry to push promotional campaigns.  Sure, there will always be a place for traditional promotional tools (i.e. t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, etc.) and studies confirm that these tools are still highly effective. However, creative marketers will do more than slap a logo on stuff.

Successful promotional marketing has become high-tech. Long gone are the days of a single channel approach.  So, which approach should you take? The new answer to an old question: The QR code.

As smartphones and smartphone applications continue to increase in usage, everyone from small businesses to international corporations are investing in QR code integration into their marketing strategy. With just about half the population carrying around a mobile phone, not to mention Nielsen’s prediction that smartphones will be the dominant device by the end of 2011, it’s worth it to give QR codes a try.


QR Code Basics

Before getting into the “how”, here’s the “what”: A QR, or Quick Response, code is a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background, and the encoded information can be text, URL or other data.

QR codes present a valuable method of adding web based content (basically any URL) to real-world messages, objects or locations. This tool provides an excellent means for multifaceted campaigns to push a digital offer and drive brand engagement, ultimately leading to increased website and social media interaction via a mobile platform.

The novelty lies in the way phones are able to scan and “click” to access the content, so it’s inherently tied to smartphone usage. Any user with a smartphone will need to do a one-time download of a free application which makes use of the phone’s camera, and you’re good to go.

As far as QR Code implementation goes, your options are virtually endless – in Japan, QR codes have been tagged onto heads of lettuce that direct you to information on when and where the produce is grown.

However, since most of us are still beginners, here are five practical yet impactful applications that you can incorporate into your marketing campaign today:


1. Google Places Local Business listing page.

Google has already created a unique QR code for you. All you need to do is log into your account and download it. When someone comes across your Google Places Local Business listing page, they can scan your code and instantly save your information to their mobile device.

2. Your website and social media networks.

When visitors hit your site, be sure that your QR code is completely visible so it can be easily swiped. It saves all of your information to the visitor’s mobile device. Be sure to add it to your Facebook Business Page, too.

3. Print Marketing.

Flyers, brochures, business cards, and anything else you use to market your business should have your QR code printed on it as well. If you advertise on billboards or TV, you can stick it there too.

4. Build a list of mobile subscribers.

This can be done by using mobile keywords and short codes. For example, you can push an advertising campaign telling consumers to text “special123” to receive 20% off your products or services. Upon sending the text message, they are instantly subscribed to your list. Once subscribed, you can promote other offers and build a relationship with them in the future.

5. Use unique QR codes for different events and promotions.

For instance, if you want to offer a coupon, acquire Facebook Page “Likes”, and share business information, you can generate a separate code for each and push it to the appropriate audiences.

The common theme here is that QR codes can be created with any information a company wants to share with its target audience. The prime opportunity presents itself when you are able to engage with consumers while they are physically interacting via QR codes – this could be at an event, a trade show, at the point-of-sale, or after the product experience is over.

Making the experience simple, engaging and advantageous is essential.  As the general public begins to interact and become familiar with this emerging medium, QR codes will be the most convenient bridge between the physical and digital world.

Checkout YFS Magazine’s QR Code – we’ve got a special message waiting for you. Pull out your smartphone. Go to your apps marketplace and download a “QR code reader” or “QR code scanner.” Open your new app and scan YFS Magazine’s QR Code below.

QR Code

Upasna Gautam is the Marketing & PR Consultant at Magic Logix , a digital marketing agency based in Dallas, TX. With a degree in Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics, Upasna’s analytical background offers a unique perspective in a field where creative minds are dominant. In addition to managing all of the public relations, social media marketing and copywriting at Magic Logix, Upasna is an avid half-marathoner, concert-goer, Tex-Mex connoisseur, and loyal Michigan State Spartan. You can follow her on Twitter @UpasnaGautam.


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