Zeus of Marketing

QR Codes, a marketer’s dream or his/her biggest nightmare?

April 20th, 2011

I have been reading so much about QR (quick response) codes lately that I dreamed about them last Tuesday night. In my dream I had opened a tattoo parlor with a distinct point of difference. I only tattooed QR codes on the back of people’s neck representing their business card information. Was this a nightmare? Thinking of the mark of the Antichrist and its 666 symbol? Or, a dream, where we are making ourselves more green and environmentally conscious by further reducing our need for the printed form?

The truth is that, well used, it can be a very efficient and selective promotional tactic.  Why selective? Consider the demographics of the current Smartphone user:

“Smartphone owners continue to be predominantly male, are 65% more likely than the average mobile subscriber to be between the ages of 25 and 34, and nearly two times as likely to make more than $100,000 a year.”


Source: Nielsen


Which beer, automobile or financial services marketer wouldn’t drool for this one? The question is, where do I “stick” this QR code efficiently.

The answer, right now – from my point of view – is that QR codes are best tested in a retail environment. I am surprised that I have not seen an explosion of QR codes for store delivered coupons in my local A&P. What’s best but to receive a targeted coupon while I am looking for my favorite frozen pizza in my local supermarket.  What a great trial incentive for Tombstone pizza when I was simply picking my weekly DiGiorno treat,  but a POP (Point-of-Purchase) display that tempts me to look for a QR code which directs my iPhone browser to a $0.75 off online coupon for Tombstone.  Definitely a better use than Bravo’s print ad in the subway station by my apartment – WHERE THERE IS NO CELL SIGNAL!!!!!!  promising to give me more information about Andy Cohen – Really? “Can you hear me now?”

For more ideas and 5 steps to a successful test – aim your Smartphone reader (my favorite is RedLaser) to:

Or click here Mobile Marketing: How to Ensure a Successful Test in 5 Steps.

You can generate you own QR code at http://qrcode.kaywa.com/, try out today and have some fun.  Let me know what is your “dream” use of a QR Code.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

Happy Passover and Easter!!!!!!



Entry Filed under: Location Based Services,Mobile,Social Media

  • http://twitter.com/Marque_Creative Marque

    Zeus very nice post. Love the use of stats you have there. I’ll keep an eye on your blog. 



  • Anonymous

    Here’s a great case study  (Tesco in South Korea) on good use of QR Codes : http://bit.ly/kX6mUh

  • Alex

    Thanks for the insightful post! Agreed, QR codes have been overused. Tech hype is to blame I’m sure! Also agreed: in a retail environment, to flash your boarding pass on your smartphone, or for other specialized applications, they make sense.

    Have you ever tried image recognition? A.k.a. mobile visual search? This is a serious contender to take the place of clumsy QR codes. Non intrusive, fast, robust… I like that approach too!

  • http://www.usefularts.us/ usefularts.us

    Very thoughtful post. Thanks for that, and your comment to the discussion on AdAge.  This is a great creative medium, but one that takes some real thought – to be sure codes get used, and that the content hidden behind them delivers content that works.

  • Deborah Mason

    Really interesting article and love the fact is so easy to create your own QR code.

  • http://brandperiscope.com Rick

    You are quite right Jesus, QR codes are very powerful, very targeted and will soon explode. And their application is almost limitless.


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