Keeping up with the latest tech craze can make you, well, crazy. But there’s a new one you might want to be familiar with, especially because the mobile tech boom is changing the way customers and clients use your organization’s products and services.
The hot new tech tool your sales and marketing folks are probably seeing a lot of is the Quick Response (QR) code. Increasingly popular in mobile ad campaigns, these simple square boxes with lots of black and white squiggles in them are essentially a short cut to something or someplace online. Invented by a Toyota subsidiary to use for tracking cars during manufacture, QR codes are popular and increasingly used in place of bar codes.
Why? They can be scanned really fast.
Unlike the old-school UPC bar code, QR codes access data with lightening speed. For that reason, advertisers and marketers love them. Consumers, it seems, are becoming a pretty impatient group and fast is generally best.
Another big reason they’re becoming so popular is that the boom in smartphone use essentially puts a QR code reader in most consumers’ pocket. The customer scans the QR code and is taken immediately to the business’ website.
The technology is transferable to almost any industry. Got a hot new product? Get the QR code to potential customers and they’ll be directed immediately to the product’s website to make a purchase.
These codes are generally best placed on printed material — in a magazine or newspaper ad, in a direct mail piece.
Some businesses are using them for customers to access already purchased products or services. For example, the movie ticket website Fandango sends customers a link to a QR code for admission to a movie they’ve bought tickets for. No more printing out tickets and carrying them to the theater.
That doesn’t mean you should put a QR code online. Hyperlinks tend to be a much better tool for getting customers or clients to where they need to be.
QR codes are a link from the physical world to the Web. If a customer is already there, the QR code isn’t needed.