Earlier this week I commented on a Techcrunch article discussing how Google and Apple could take the QR code mainstream if they integrated the technology into their standard camera apps. Today there is too much friction for consumers to use a QR code:
- See QR Code
- Decide that it is worth scanning QR code
- Get out smartphone and open QR code app
- Worse still – go to App store and start browsing available QR code apps
- Snap photo of QR code
- Arrive at website/video/offer
For me this just seems a crazy amount of processes to get the consumer to your intended destination. And I am a techy-geek. I wouldn’t even want to imagine explaining what any of those list items even mean to my parents!
I can’t help thinking that the new world of Inbound Marketing has led some marketers to drive forward the QR Code craze. Until recently it was acceptable to say “Half of my advertising budget is wasted – I just don’t know which half!” Today that is not cool. Today’s data driven marketer needs to know where every dollar is spent.
So what better way to track every TV ad, every message, every poster than dropping unique QR codes on them? Suddenly you can identify every individual campaign without having to ask your consumers to quote TV027 to get their 10% discount. On the face of it this is a valid strategy - but not if it is at the total expense of getting people to your content.
The problem is that in the drive for data you forget about the consumer and the problem you are trying to solve for them – getting them to valuable content as easily as possible.
On the Techcrunch comment I made the point that the problem with a QR code is that you can’t remember it. Let me expand on that.
Take this blog for example – CharlieThinks.com. If I met you at a drinks party and bored you with how I write a blog called CharlieThinks.com it’s in your mind. You can remember it instantly and access it from any device later – your smartphone, iPad or work PC.
More so, you can easily share that information with friends, “I met this guy who writes a geeky blog – CharlieThinks.com.” Your friend can easily remember and access that on any device they want. I experience that when I see visitors arrive at the blog having searched for CharlieThinks or CharlieThinks.com.
However with a QR code you lock your consumer down to the single device they have in their pocket (unless they manually share links to other devices) and they are unable to share easily with their friends:
“I saw this awesome travel offer the other day!”
“Cool, how do I get to it?”
“Oh..there was this code….”
The challenge for marketers is to make it simple for consumers to get to specific pages using their memory (like “check out our Facebook page facebook.com/company” or “search for company name summer offer”).
Start with cool content, then work out how to get your consumers to that content easily and then work out how you track who has seen what.
I’d love to know what you think about QR codes! Have you ever clicked on one? Have you failed to take up an offer or go to a site because it required you to use a QR code? Do you love QR codes and think I’ve got it wrong?
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