Don’t call it a comeback. They’ve been here for years!
Over 25 years ago, Denso engineer Hara Masahiro invented the Quick Response (QR) code to solve a growing limitation of the traditional vertical line barcode. The traditional UPC barcode can store only about 20-25 characters. This is great for product identification and tracking sales in a retail environment. However, by comparison, the QR code can store up to 7,000 characters!
More data means more flexibility when it comes to using the QR code as a tool. This opens a lot of doors when it comes to leveraging them in print marketing.
Tracking the ROI of print campaigns can be challenging. But, recent changes in both public perception and use cases for the QR code are not only going to make them relevant again, QR codes will become indispensable.
10 ways marketers can use QR codes.
They can be used to initiate any of the following actions when scanned with a smartphone.
- Dial a phone number
- Open and pre-populate an email
- Add a contact to your address book
- Open a webpage
- Download or open an app
- View location and get directions
- Direct consumers to social media pages
- Initiate an e-commerce purchase
- Open YouTube to play a video
- Open and pre-populate a contact form
However, until Apple made the QR code a native feature of iOS in 2017, QR codes were a bit clunky to integrate into a marketing campaign because a separate app had to be downloaded in order to use them. When Apple included this feature, it was under-hyped and many even referred to it as a “hidden feature”. In fact, I stumbled across it by accident back in early 2019. I was attempting to take a photo of a coupon that I would use later but realized that as soon as I hovered over it with my camera open, I was prompted to open a web page!
The touchless menu has changed the game!
Now, just one year later, I see the QR code gaining widespread adoption with the normalization of the “touchless menu.” A few months ago, once PA began to allow indoor seating again for restaurants, I had my first glimpse of the touchless menu. At all the restaurants in PA that I have recently dined at, there is a QR code taped to the center of the table. And, as you watch fellow patrons, everyone now seems to know exactly what to do with them. Whether they are 8 or 80, they instinctively grab their phone, open the camera and link to the menu.
What does this mean for marketing in the staffing industry?
When you think about the possibilities for leveraging QR codes in campaigns, it’s clear that they can be a very powerful tool. The challenge has always been mainstreaming. Now that we’re getting there, the door will remain open and they may become one of the most beneficial tools for print marketing campaigns.