Technology
Yankelovich: The QR Code Is Not A Fad

QR (Quick Response) Codes, the two-dimensional bar codes that, when scanned by a camera phone, link the mobile user to more information (videos, websites, email addresses, phone numbers, etc), are all the rage. Although the US was initially slow to adopt this technology, QR codes are now in magazines, newspapers, on TV, on cars, and even on gravestones. Some expect QR Codes to be a short-lived digital fad. But, according to a recent paper by The Futures Company/Yankelovich, with widespread marketer adoption and record consumer utilization in the first quarter of 2011, this technology has the potential to provide tremendous opportunity to those who successfully leverage its capabilities.

What The Data Say:

•Consumers are increasingly looking to mobile technology as a conduit for product information, support and reviews. Marketers who make such information easily accessible can gain an advantage over their competitors.
•Although the US was initially slow to adopt this new technology, reports from the first quarter of 2011 suggest American consumers are rapidly recognizing the benefits provided by QR codes.
•In the US, this technology is still in its infancy, but businesses, governments and individuals seem eager to take advantage of this new capability.

What It Means In The Marketplace:

•QR codes create a unique opportunity to provide on-demand information to consumers. They can be employed by marketers in any category.
•An added benefit of the QR code is that the information linked to them can be constantly updated, meaning that, unlike traditional labels, instruction booklets, and other in- store information, they can provide continual access to new information before and after purchase.
•Since the ability to access the information provided by the QR code requires a code reader, consumers must download and interact with the technology before witnessing any benefit. Thus one potential concern is that only tech-savvy individuals will derive any value from the system, and QR code initiatives will be limited to this select market.

Monetizing The Insight:

•QR codes need to link to more than a few lines of text or a corporate website. The link should provide special tools and interactive features that assist customers both in their purchasing decision and in their post - purchase usage of the product.
•As with all digital and social media technologies, it is more important to produce a useful QR code campaign than simply to put something out in the marketplace to appear leading edge. The internet is saturated with examples of ill-conceived QR code campaigns.
•It is such low or no value-add uses of QR codes that are leading some to consider them a fad, which indeed they will be if marketers continue to fail to use them well.

Source: The Futures Company, 7/19/11

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