Trying Something New: QR Codes

So in my never-ending quest to know everything, (What? It could happen…) I was checking out new technology in marketing and business in general and came across these little guys: QR Codes.

Our friends at Wikipedia tell me that QR (Quick Response) Codes were originally created by a Japanese corporation to track car parts. The technology caught on in Japan and has also spread to the UK where you can find the codes on everything from menus to magazines. It’s a two dimensional bar code that was designed to allow for quick decoding, but honestly, I know you don’t really care about the science behind it.

You just wanna know what’s the big deal and what the heck does it do, right? Well, that little box stores information such as addresses, contact information, or URL’s. So, if you have a QR Reader on your cell phone (and most of them do already or apps are easily available, if not), it will scan the code with your phone’s camera and automatically take you to, let’s say, a website on your cell phone’s browser. Pretty cool, huh?

I have no idea if this will catch on in the States or not, but here are a few examples of how they could work for businesses:

  • Business Cards: Contact info could simply be scanned into your phone.
  • Marketing: Put the QR code for your website (or, even better, a mobile friendly landing page), twitter or facebook profiles on brochures or fliers at conferences or any place where people will be out and about and may not want to type your URL into their browser .
  • Sales: Use a QR Code to give special discounts on your products.
  • Calendar of Events: Link to your event’s page especially if you are a speaker or instructor.
  • Nonprofits: Direct potential donors to your “Donate Now” page.
  • Scavenger Hunts: OK, OK this one isn’t really for businesses, but as I sit here listening to my kids fight over who gets to play the Wii next, I think it would be a fun way to get them out of the house. I could leave a QR code at each location leading them to the next one. It’s like an even nerdier version of geocaching…maybe.

Now keep in mind, pointing people to your website on their phone may not be the best option considering your site is probably not mobile phone friendly. (Yes, I know that’s exactly what I did, but you know: “Do as I say and not as I do.”) You can create simple pages that are better for cell phone browsers and use those.

FYI: The QR Reader on my BlackBerry Storm is located under the Blackberry Messenger Menu. Go to BlackBerry Groups then click the “Scan a Group Barcode” and it will take you to your reader. Hold it still like you are taking a picture and a box should pop up asking you if you would like to be redirected  to the url.

Like I said, I have no idea if this technology will really catch on, but the geek in me couldn’t resist telling you about it. What do you think?

You can find more articles about QR Codes written by people wiser than me and a QR code generator here.

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