Automated marketing and site development.

15 Cool QR Code Things [article]

Amazing QR codes

15 Cool QR Code Things [home slide]QR codes are everywhere — on the sides of buses, in newspaper ads, on signs, in stores, on storefronts, in cereal boxes, and even on rooftops — but are they really worth all the buzz? You bet.

Here are 15 Cool QR Code Things that your customers can do to market their business with a two-dimensional collection of squares.

15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 1]QR codes are a method of capturing a lot of data into a single symbol. The symbol, when read by a QR code reader — typically a SmartPhone — is deciphered and the encrypted data displayed, such as with an SMS text message, or used to perform an action, such as opening a web page.

In June 2011, 14 million Americans scanned QR codes to redeem coupons, capture contact information, watch videos, and so much more.

Audi created this great video showing a QR code made in a rather unconventional manner.


15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 2]The most common source of a scanned QR code is a newspaper or magazine. This type of offline marketing can be tied to online marketing when the QR code transports the user to a page on your website where they can print a coupon, fill out a form, or complete a survey.

AXA Insurance took the offline activity of a television ad and engaged the viewer at a whole new level as shown in this video.


15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 3]Probably not too surprising is that 60.5% of the people who scanned a QR code are male. That doesn’t mean, however, that unless you’re targeting the male audience you shouldn’t use QR codes. While the majority are men, 39.5% are women and they are just as eager for interaction.

Given the inclination for men to scan more often, it’s no wonder that Chivas Regal found ways to integrate QR codes into their marketing efforts.

15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 4]18 to 34 year olds are the primary scanners, followed closely by 35 to 54 year olds. Kids are getting in on the action too and companies such as Disney are starting to cater directly to that market.

In this video of a subway platform in Japan, Disney has rolled out a QR code campaign directly targeting the younger generation, and even found a way to make the QR codes uniquely Disney.


15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 5]In the same study, 36.1% of those scanning QR codes make $100k or more. That might seem like a cue to target your marketing at the affluent, but consider this, more than 50% of the time QR codes are scanned to access a coupon or discount.

Home Depot makes great use of QR codes by placing them on product signs within the store.


15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 6]Around 20% of the QR codes are scanned while the user is at work and certain QR code types certainly lend themselves toward a more business-to-business type use, including shortcuts for accessing social media accounts, phone numbers, email addresses, and complete contact details — perfect for the back of your business card.

Business-to-business use is stretched to the limit as you’ll learn in this article about Philips & Company’s new product, Blue Marble.

15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 7]While a fifth of the scans were done at work, amazingly enough nearly 13% were scanned while outside or on public transit. This means that subway stations and bus stops provide great backdrops for very large and hard-to-miss QR codes.

While bigger sometimes means better, a big canvas may not be as noticeable as a wearable canvas as you’ll see at this unique online storefront.

15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 8]Restaurants have found dozens, if not hundreds of uses for QR codes and 7.6% of those scanned were done so at a restaurant. With QR codes, diners can access nutrition information, grab an online coupon, or even access alternate online menus.

Check out this video if you’re looking for some ideas about how you can use QR codes with food and menus.


15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 9]QR codes are actually quite forgiving with about 30% tolerance. This enables you to be creative in ways you may not yet have discovered.  Some QR codes have pictures or logos integrated into the design and others are integrated into a design as Macy’s did with their backstage pass.

QR codes have been made up of all sorts of unusual bits as you can see here with Frisk Mints.


15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 10]There are dozens of free QR code applications online where you can type in your information and download the resulting graphic. These are called QR code generators. is a great resource and if you sign up for their subscription service, you get professional analytics tools and bulk-creation tools — indispensable if you want to create dozens of QR codes for multiple touches of a single campaign.

Free QR code generation is built into lots of applications. The PrintSYS web to print application is a great example where six different types of QR codes can be created by both B2C and B2B and placed within business and marketing materials.

15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 11]Understanding who scans what QR codes can give marketers a whole new suite of tools to uncover their customers’ buying behaviors. With tracking, you can see how many times a coupon was accessed, for instance, compared to the number of times the coupon was actually redeemed.

Trade shows provide many opportunities for integrating QR codes into a traditionally offline activity and where analytics would be invaluable.

15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 12]QR codes enable marketers the unique ability to use online tools to track offline activities (such as trade shows and coupons of the previous slides), but other opportunities are limited only by your imagination. Think about adding QR codes to receipts to engage foot traffic at your website or, follow in the footsteps of Home Depot and many others, and provide decision-making information at the point of purchase in your store.

You might have a bit more difficulty tracking this QR code. It tends to disappear quickly.


15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 13]When you’re choosing what data to store in a QR code, beware of putting too much in too small a space. The more data you have, the more little squares you’ll generate. Long, difficult-to-type URLs are the perfect candidate for keystroke reduction.

Realtors have been very creative in their implementation of QR codes.

15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 14]The more data you have, the more complex and dense the code. These complex QR codes don’t work well on business cards as they become impossible for most SmartPhones to scan.

Some QR codes are easier to scan than others as you’ll see here, and not all codes were meant to be scanned.

15 Cool QR Code Things [slide 15]If you have a lot of data to capture, don’t shy away from QR codes, just be sure you have a big enough canvas to display the detail.

Calvin Klein has clearly found the right-sized canvas for their QR code.


15 Cool QR Code Things [end slide]QR codes are a great marketing vehicle with a wide variety of uses already in place and unlimited opportunities we’ve yet to discover. If you’re creating marketing events for your company or someone else’s don’t miss a chance to test these tools for your campaigns. Remember, 14 million of us scanned QR codes last June and that’s a marketshare that simply cannot be ignored.

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