You all know how I feel about the relationship between traditional marketing and social media. The client still determines where you spend your marketing dollar, but you should not avoid building you audience and exposure. Social media is a great place to do that for sure. But what are the latest trends in marketing? Well, in this post and the next I will present the codes, for there is power in the codes.
The first code I will present is the QR code, where QR stands for Quick Response. According to Wikipedia, a QR code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.
Created by the Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. The creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed, initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing.
So, a product that has been around for over 16 years is considered new? Yes, mainly because they have become more prevalent in marketing circles and have been integrated into both traditional and interactive campaigns. It is within the last eighteen (18) months that they have become really popular in the small business arena.
Why are they so powerful? Is it because they are cool looking and something new? It’s much more than that. QR codes can be used to display text to the user, to add a vCard contact to the user’s device, to open a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), to compose an email or text message and storing addresses and Uniform Resource Locators (URLs). That’s right, you can deliver simple text, like a vCard, or as complex as a link to a website, like your blog or YouTube. Now that’s more than cool.
So, where can you put a QR code? How about in anything print, like billboards, brochures, business cards, flyers, magazines, product packaging and signs, to name a few. We’ve even seen them on pillows on a couch at a trade show.
So, how is the message retrieved? You need a QR code reader, which is free to download to devices like iPad’s, Smart Phones and others that have built-in cameras and can use apps. Once you have a reader, you can use your device to scan the code and retrieve the information. It is either point, or point and click. If you can use the camera of the device, you can scan a code.
How do I create a QR code? Simply download a QR code generator, which you can use to create the code and embed the information you choose. I use OptiScan or OptiShare mainly, but there are several others. Just search the App Store or the source for your App downloads to see what others are available.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Microsoft’s entrant into the code arena. They are called Tags, and use symbols and shapes instead of squiggly lines. While they also are cool and useful, they have not seen the appeal and experienced the success or adoption rates of the QR code. I will deal with them in a separate post.
As always, our goal is to get our readers to learn to Market Naturally.