QR Codes – A waste of time, or get on board

Written by Guy Besley, The Digital Media Strategist,


QR codes have been around a few years now, most of you will have seen them and wondered “what are these stupid looking things” or just thought “what a load of rubbish”. Well QR codes are here top stay whether we like it or not.

QR codes are an amazing way to take the offline customer, or more importantly, the potential customer online. What do I mean by this; well the point of a QR code is to enable a quick and effortless way for the user of a mobile device to access information, generally at the point of sale. It may be as simple as a website URL, a contact email or phone number or even a note! The opportunity is endless.

Why would we want to do this? Well we are all impulse buyers, the statistics tell us that, so a QR code can be a great way to engage with a customer at the point of sale, even so much as offering a discount etc. Akin to a foursquare type campaign (that’s a story for another blog).

The shrewd marketer could utilise this QR code code to direct the potential customer to a location that has the ability to become viral, then of course it gets shared. After all, isn’t that the point.

My post wasn’t really motivated by this simple use of a QR Code, I was motivated to write this post after seeing QR codes utilised with digital media; it was a television program that was tourism based. They very cleverly put up on the TV screen not only the holiday deals details but a QR code. I instantly thought “fantastic” finally marketing people are taking notice of these little gems. I mean, what a great idea, a QR code that directs the offline potential customer to a mobile friendly webpage with an unbeatable deal. Well done guys!

Well I was wrong, they didn’t. I could not believe this. A television programs marketing guys had the foresight to use a QR code, that I will say well done, but unfortunately that’s where it ended. The QR code took you straight to the home page (or at least it appeared to be, but who could tell on a mobile device) of the TV station. What a missed opportunity. Not to mention so easy, use the code, brilliant, but HELLO, if someone is using a QR code then arn’t they on a mobile device? Well of course, so then wouldn’t you at least give them a mobile friendly site to go with it? Seems pretty obvious to me.

Anyway, I think I have made my point on that one, but let me say that at least they have gone a step further than I see other “old school” marketers going and have embraced the QR code, I’m sure they will go the next step soon. After all, its baby steps in this big ugly and ever changing world of Digital Media.

And remember, if its wrong, who cares, you tried it!

PS. If you want a free QR code generated just send me an email with the subject “free QR” and in the content let me know your url (or email, phone number that you want it directed to.