Beyond the Fish Bowl – How to Integrate QR Codes into Your Trade Show Promotions Strategy

Mar 13, 2012

QR codes are an ideal marketing technology for trade shows and an easy way for attendees to access online resources while they are away from their computers. Even though you’re working with a relatively targeted and focused audience on the tradeshow floor, it’s still important to provide a compelling reason for prospects to scan QR codes, for example, by providing information or offering an incentive for discounted products or services. Below are some of our ideas for creative uses of QR codes at trade shows.convention-center-iStock-000010322742XSmall_thumb

1. Reduce collateral materials and build your opt-in email prospect list. Collateral materials can be expensive to print and yet, you want to provide tradeshow attendees with detailed information about your products and services. Therefore, have overview documentation on hand and use QR codes to provide detailed information to your prospects - emailing them specs on products and services of interest post-show. The QR scan should direct your prospect to a brief web form where they can provide their name, email address, and mailing address, and specify which products they’d like to learn more about. Tell your prospects you’ll only use their email to provide the requested information unless otherwise stated, but give them the option to opt-in to receiving future email communications from you on the form. If you explain your opt-out process, and clarify how frequently prospects can expect to receive emails from you in the future, you’ll be building a CAN-SPAM compliant opt-in email prospect list instead of waiting for prospects to contact you. Your prospects will be happy they don’t have carry around more bulky collateral materials at the show, and you can promote QR codes as a part of your company’s sustainability initiatives.

2. Use QR codes to announce and access trade show product demonstrations. Product demonstrations are an integral component of many trade show promotions strategies, but sometimes gaining commitments for demo attendance can be challenging. Consider coordinating a pre-show mailing with a URL/PURL/QR component that will allow prospects and current customers to register to attend a product demonstration before the show. You could also include product flyers as a part of a hotel room drop to broaden your reach. For prospects unfamiliar with your company, don’t forget to include a brief overview of the product being demonstrated, demonstration times, your booth number and the location of your booth on printed flyers. From the show floor, you can also set up QR codes so attendees who miss your live demonstration can access on-demand video demonstrations from their smartphones (recorded either before or during the show). We’ve discussed in previous blogs the importance of planning what you’ll do with your QR code after its original use has expired. After the show, any QR codes on trade show materials (prospect mailers and flyers) can be redirected to a recording of the demonstration.

3. Have attendees scan QR codes to be entered in a drawing for a give-away item. Interest in QR scans peaks when discounts and incentives are offered for scanning. Consider using QR codes to allow customers and prospects to enter a drawing for a give-away, such as complimentary drinks at happy hour, a formal dinner, or a show. On the registration form, allow attendees to opt-in to receiving future emails from you to build your prospect email list. To generate interest and awareness for new products and features, consider offering a give-away or incentive for participating in an in-booth scavenger hunt. Set up several demo stations, and have the customer or prospect scan each station’s QR code after viewing the demo. After scanning QR codes at every station, the customer or prospect can be entered in a drawing for the give-away.


QR codes are an exciting marketing technology to prompt interaction with and interest in your brand from the trade show floor and are most effective when information or incentives are offered for the scan. Above, we’ve provided some creative ideas for using QR codes to engage with trade show attendees through your pre-show awareness campaigns and on-site. We especially like the idea of a scavenger hunt tied to an incentive to encourage attendees to participate in product demonstration stations where they will become informed about your products and learn about new features they otherwise may not learn about.

In this day and age, the fish bowl is dead. You can use QR codes to more directly connect with your customers and prospects, build your opt-in email list and disseminate product knowledge through one streamlined point of contact – ultimately shortening sales cycle time as prospects move through the sales funnel.

* For more information on how to use QR codes effectively, sign-up for QR Code Tips and Tricks.

How are you using QR codes to streamline information gathering and optimize the sales cycle?

Vya Staff

Learn how Vya can help simplify local marketing through our marketing resource management systems, campaign execution services, and print expertise.

Tags: marketing ideas, QR Codes, QR Code Strategy

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