New Code Unlocks the Hyper Drive in Your Advertising and Marketing

The printed word is a dying industry. Newspaper circulation and advertisement have been in decline for over a decade. The trend is clear. More businesses are converting over to digital means of communication. The advent of the web truly was an “information revolution.” It has changed the way we seek information, and more importantly how we expect to get information. Any small business that isn’t on the web is killing their chances of success.

Speak with any local printer in town and they will tell you printing has become a commodity. Lowest price wins. The quality is generally pretty close. Even if it truly isn’t, the “good enough” mindset of marketing managers with slashed budgets today has throttled the print industry.

There is new hope on the horizon though, and with some luck, their gutenberg-style process might be rejuvenated by this tiny matrix of squares…

The QR Code

This barcode-like image, developed by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, brings excitement and technological edginess back to the printed page. The QR code, which is an abbreviation for “Quick Response” (as the creator intended for them to be decoded at high-speed), can be applied to any print material and scanned by today’s smart phones. The code can direct the user who scans it to a web address, a text message, an email, or even transmit vCard contact information from a business card directly into your contact list. A savvy marketer can really get creative in print and use this code to link to a special video presentation, or even a discount offer specifically tied to the code. This is a non-invasive type of marketing, the best kind. It focuses on those truly interested in your product or service because they have to consciously take the action step of scanning the code before receiving the offer. A win-win situation for marketer and consumer alike.

Those who start using QR codes early will be seen as on the cutting edge of technology. Early adopters and innovators almost always gain market share as evidenced by Apple computer’s iconic status. According to ComScore, smart phone usage in the United States has reached 60.7 million users, or 1 in every 4 US cellular subscribers.

Whether the smart phone is a BlackBerry, Apple iPhone, or on the Google-developed Android platform, which is rapidly gaining market share according to MSNBC, the user has access to a library of thousands of “apps” available for download.

Your customers will need to download a FREE app in order to read your QR codes. Some phones may already be pre-loaded with this capability. As popularity grows I’m sure many more will join in. Either way it’s probably a good idea for you to add a line of text near the QR code on your marketing materials explaining to your customers how they can access the offer by downloading a reader. I recommend the BeeTag Reader App which has performed very well in my experience in easily reading QR codes. For other options, navigate to the “app” store on your device and search “qr reader.” QR Code scanner online

This new technology is very easy to use and implement. And here’s the best part… It’s FREE! There are several sites on the web that generate custom QR codes for you at no cost. My favorite is the Kaywa QR Code Generator. This is an invaluable service that allows you to download small, medium, large, or extra-large size codes directing your customers to the URL, text message, etc. of your choice.

As smart phones become more popular this type of marketing will become commonplace. They are rapidly increasing in prevalence as most cellular providers are offering a bare minimum selection on standard phones. This trend will continue to boost the numbers of smart phone and data plan usage. Meaning more opportunities to use this technology in marketing. Start early, before your competitors catch on.

Now that you’ve been briefed, begin crafting your new offer targeting your tech savvy clients. Give them a reason to scan your code. Discounts are good, something FREE is even better!


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