Why QR Codes Could Help Save Print Advertising - InformationWeek

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Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
3/7/2009
08:43 PM
Allen Stern
Allen Stern
Commentary
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Why QR Codes Could Help Save Print Advertising

I am a marketer who loves what Quick Response codes can do for marketers and consumers. What are QR codes? Can these new bar codes help print marketing regain some ground lost to online marketing?

I am a marketer who loves what Quick Response codes can do for marketers and consumers. What are QR codes? Can these new bar codes help print marketing regain some ground lost to online marketing?Years ago during Web 1.0, Digital Convergence Corp. produced a device named CueCat. The privacy police were all over this device from the beginning. I thought the idea was brilliant but the execution was poor. The CueCat would scan bar codes in magazines and then send you to a Web site for more information.

Today we have a new bar-code technology, called QR code (or 2-D bar code), coming to newspapers, magazines, and outdoor advertisements. Usage already is high in Japan. The big difference between the CueCat in 2000 and today's QR code is mobile. The power of the QR codes comes because it works with your mobile device not some mouse-shaped scanner. It's also amazingly easy to use.

Once you have the bar-code reader installed on your mobile device, you just scan the codes and the code activates "something". Many times it will activate the Web browser and navigate to a predefined Web site.

QR codes work from a marketing perspective because they allow people to pull ads that they're interested in rather than the push advertising we're familiar with today. See an ad for Coke that interests you? Scan the code and it downloads the Coke ringtone. Scan the code on a billboard for Target and get an instant coupon delivered to your mobile device. Scan the code on a bus stand and get instant details on how far away the next bus is.

I am very much looking forward to seeing the codes invade the United States. As a marketer, I see endless possibilities for connecting brands with consumers. On the business side, there are clear ways that the codes could become time savers. Mobile technology is changing the way we interact, QR codes will take consumer-to-company interactions to another level.

This week Lost Highway Records posted a video of how they're looking to utilize QR Codes in their print marketing. Their QR Code sends you to a site with their music to download, the ability to purchase full songs and information on concerts.

During my years in corporate America, I fought the brand marketers to make sure that we had Web site links on every print ad and coupon insert. Today I would fight to make sure that every ad is printed with a Web site link and a QR code. The incremental cost is nearly zero and the benefit to the interested consumer is invaluable.

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