Thursday, November 29, 2012

QR - Quick, Responsive, and Here for a While

I’ve read a bunch of things bashing QR lately and quite honestly I think the tech is getting a bad rap. It’s the old ‘don’t shoot the messenger” in bold underline if there ever was one – that is, when someone points to a weak consumer experience at the other end of a QR, the tech gets blamed for tepid results. 

The truth is QR is not going away anytime soon. It’s pervasive, easy to use, cheap to execute, and can tag along with multiple traditional media. To top it off, many handsets get loaded with a QR reader out of the factory, eliminating one step for the tech to actually get used by consumers. 

Yes, AR and NFC are the new mobile buzz kids on the block, but AR requires tagging and building of the image database and NFC is just making its way to market on the latest handset releases and isn’t really in the same ballpark in terms of function. 

QR is growing rapidly. According to one article, US QR scanning shot up over 4500% in Q1 2011. 

As smart phones follow their path of sales domination in the handset space and make feature phones obsolete while tablets chew away at the laptop market, QR use is going to continue to explode.  At the very least, it should be considered for every marketing and advertising program you roll out. 

Now to do QR right there are 8 things to consider before jumping on the QR train:

  1. Use a universal QR code that is reader agnostic.
  2. Make sure your landing experience is mobile optimized.
  3. Give people something special – home pages are not special, sorry.
  4. Give them an easy way to continue the conversation and get them to opt in to a mobile text program.
  5. Back up your call to action with the option to text a short code to get pushed the link to your mobile optimized (and very special) landing page experience.
  6. Make the experience easy for people. Follow the KISS formula [Not, I Wanna Rock n’ Roll All Night, but KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID}
  7. Have fun with it – usually we’re not saving lives here – we’re just trying to sell stuff – so connect with consumers with a laugh.  It’s the best way to make friends.
  8. Be clear. How do they scan? Where do they go when they do? What special experience or thing are they going to get?

QR is a great way to thread together a convergence media strategy. And before you throw out roughly half the audience still on Smart Phones and exclude those who don’t even yet know what a QR code is, remember point 5 above and include an SMS call to action that gives users and alternative to reaching your very special experience. 

Guy Borgford
Director, Mobile Advertising Solutions, Hipcricket
On Twitter: @gborgford

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