Diana Demarest: Mobile Marketing

You may have seen these strange-looking squares popping up on coupons, on product packaging, printed materials and even on clothing items.

These are called Quick Response Codes, or QR codes for short. Most smartphones today have built-in cameras. With the right software on your phone, you scan and read them with ease.

Yes, there’s an app for that. 

QR codes are a tech-savvy way for businesses to keep customers engaged, for political candidates to keep potential voters tuned into their campaigns or for elected officials to keep their constituents informed on their activities.

The QR code above is for BIZPAC Review.com. To read it, just download a scanner app for your smartphone, click the above graphic, print it and scan it with your built-in camera. Once scanned, it will automatically navigate your smartphone’s browser to the BizPac Review website.

What are QR codes and how do they work?

QR codes were developed in 1994 by the Japanese company, Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota. The auto manufacturer used QR codes to track auto parts.

A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode that contains data in its horizontal and vertical matrix. Unlike some other barcodes we are familiar with, such as the UPC code, QR codes can be read from any direction. Each code can contain up to 4,296 alpha-numeric characters — many more than in a UPC code.

The code’s data can be a link to a website or online video, a text message or even an email.

A new era in marketing

Many companies, such as Coca-Cola, Delta, Starbucks, Home Depot, Ford, Verizon and Calvin Klein, are using QR codes to promote their products and services. Political candidates are printing the codes on their campaign signs and literature. Realtors use them to promote online listings of homes for sale or virtual tour videos.

HBO used a QR code to promote its series, “True Blood,” and drive traffic to its website. Macy’s used the codes to launch online videos to promote Tommy Hilfiger and Martha Stewart products in its stores.

Orville Redenbacher ran a marketing campaign touting its new “Pop Up Bowl” popcorn product in a national Sunday newspaper coupon circular.

The coupon included a QR code linked to a videointroducing the new product and showing it in action.

QRStuff.com  will even allow you to create your own personalized QR codes. You can print them off on standard Avery labels or print a single image on a piece of paper.

Smartphones are here to stay, and the technology will only get better. QR codes provide a great marketing opportunity, taking full advantage of the technology while keeping your brand fresh and your message alive.

Graphic Credits: 

BizPacReview.com QR Code: http://www.QRStuff.com

Orville Redenbacher Coupon: http://www.orville.com

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