Effective marketing promotions don’t just generate awareness: They also move customers to action, and the QR code is a perfect vehicle to facilitate interaction and engagement with your brand. Unfortunately, it seems that QR codes are often being used haphazardly rather than as part of an overall marketing strategy. To address this situation, we are launching a four part blog series discussing QR codes as they relate to the 4 P’s of marketing. In this blog, we provide important insights to help you integrate QR codes seamlessly into your promotions strategy. Future blog posts will address QR codes in the context of product, price, and place.
Review your promotional plans.
Because QR codes function as an intermediary to help your customers quickly and easily access online content through smartphones, the first place to start integrating QR codes into your strategy is with the low-hanging fruit in your marketing plan. Any marketing and advertising campaigns that already point customers to online content for downloading a whitepaper, viewing a product demo, downloading a coupon, or signing up for a contest, for example, are a natural fit for QR codes.
Know your audience.
Beyond the “quick hits” you identify from your initial marketing strategy review, the most important step to incorporating QR codes into your promotional plans is to define your target audience. By understanding how your target market aligns with the profile mobile users who scan QR codes, you can design highly effective promotional campaigns. Here are some stats to consider as you analyze your target profile:
- In August 2011, eMarketer reported that at the end of 2011, there will be just over 90 million smartphone users in the US.
- A June 2011 ComScore study found that 6.2% of all U.S. mobile customers (14 million people) scanned a QR code in June 2011 – within that segment, a mobile user scanning a QR code was more likely to be male (60.5%), between ages 18-34 (52.4%), and have a household income of $100K+ (36.1%)
Select appropriate marketing channels.
The next step is to select the marketing channels you’ll use in conjunction with QR codes. QR codes are particularly effective when incorporated into channels people encounter away from the computer, such as magazines, posters, newspapers and point of sale (POS) displays. A good example of QR code use in POS displays is Best Buy’s adoption of QR codes on their fact tags to help guide consumer purchase decisions by connecting customers with product reviews and the ability to compare product features with similar products online.
Current trends in consumer QR code scanning behavior are also insightful. A 2011 ComScore study on QR code use found that consumers are most likely to scan codes found in print (newspapers and magazines) and on product packaging and to scan codes while away from home or in a store. But don’t let that deter you from experimenting with fun and progressive promotional campaigns and contests. These campaigns could be particularly effective when combined in a multi-channel approach with a compelling call to action, such as the recent Mall of America Black Friday Snap+Win promotion, which incorporated 100 unique QR codes into a special promotion logo where each code was linked to prizes ranging from $25 up to a $1000 shopping spree for 300 lucky winners.
Educate your customers about QR codes.
Because QR codes are still an emerging technology, education is an important element in planning promotions. When Macy’s introduced its Backstage Pass campaign in 2011, it armed sales representatives with 100,000 lanyards with instructions on how to use the QR codes, in addition to producing an instructional TV ad and YouTube videos. Mall of America also included an instructional video on their blog post for their Black Friday promotion.
Optimize your website for smartphone viewing.
When users scan your QR codes, they will obviously be viewing the content you provide on their smartphone. It seems like a ‘no-brainer’ to optimize your website for smartphone viewing, but with 79% of large online advertisers lacking a mobile site, you’ll be ahead of the game if you follow these savvy suggestions from Mashable Tech.
Before you launch….
- We can’t say it enough: Test QR codes and review our recommended QR code specifications before launching any campaign.
- Have a plan in place for how you’re going to retire and redirect content after the life of your QR code promotion.
We’ve shared some of our favorite QR campaigns and uses (think Mall of America Snap+Win and Best Buy’s QR-enamored fact tags). What are some of the best uses of QR codes within a promotions strategy that you’ve seen?
* For more information on how to use QR codes effectively, sign-up for QR Code Tips and Tricks.
Read the other articles in QR Code Marketing Strategy series:
Part 2 – Price
Part 3 – Product
Part 4 – Place