What’s in Store for QR Codes?

It’s been nearly a year since we last discussed QR codes. Do you think these quick response codes are living up to their high expectations?

Benefits
Back in 2011, analysts believed that QR codes were the next big thing because of their easy integration into social media campaigns. The objective was to engage in user experience and reward users as they were able to “unlock” something by scanning the code. For businesses, it is also user friendly as the URL associated with the code can be updated as often as you need.

Improved Technology
Mashable took a more pessimistic view on the staying power of QR codes. And they have good reason… scanning QR codes could also potentially put your personal information at risk, as it could allow full access to everything on your smart phone. Another example, did you know an “infected” QR code could download an app onto your phone that charges a monthly texting fee? But, as technology gets better and becomes more secure, users will be able to use QR codes without these worries.

Trending Upwards?
Despite the skepticism, the number of QR code scans has exploded during quarter two of this year. The top industries benefiting from these scans include toy, health/beauty, wireless and fast food restaurants. Online movie tickets, digital gift cards, even passports are all part of an expanding possibility with QR codes. Overall, the reviews on QR codes are mixed. The businesses that can efficiently benefit from them are niche which shows that this might be a marketing tool that’s not for everyone. Remember, just because it’s out there doesn’t mean that you have to use it! It’s best to pick, test and choose what’s right for your business instead of just relying on general industry trends.

Looking Back at Marketing Trends in 2011

There’s no other time of the year like the Christmas holiday season. My favorite thing about this time of the year (regarding marketing) are annual wrap up posts where we get to reminisce about all the interesting things that took place during 2011. Let’s take at 3 marketing trends that captivated customers this year:

1) Investing more time and resources into social media – Big businesses and small business alike invested more money into social media marketing this year. Not only that, but SMBs found that social media was helpful and an influential part of the decision making process. The introduction of Google +, Facebook’s Timeline and Twitter’s makeover for businesses are all a part of this social media revolution for customers and businesses.

2) Emphasis on local marketing – Geotargeting and local search marketing has become more important for SEO and PPC. Studies showed that mobile searches had more of a local emphasis, which spurred the growth of local sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and Yelp. This trend made it more inviting for businesses owner to reach out to locals and establish themselves as a part of the community.

3) Integration across different marketing mediums and platforms – 2011 showed us that an effective marketing campaign must be a coordinated effort. Old Spice’s manly man and Google Chrome’s Dear Sophie campaigns come to mind. These are all things you can learn in a typical business class but the horizon has expanded. Social and traditional. Written content and video. Desktop and mobile. What about tablets and video? All these things need to work together more than ever!

Do any other trends this year stand out in your mind?


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Are QR Codes Necessary for Your Business?

Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to fall victim to the herd mentality of social media marketing trends. Instead of looking at it in a “I want this” and “I want that” kind of way, it’s more effective to take a step back and look at WHY your business should be partaking in WHAT.

In our previous post about marketing tactics for small businesses, we saw that QR codes were proven to be the least effective out of 6 different techniques and yet 29% of small businesses were using them just because their competitors were.

Here’s an example of what I mean – I recently saw an ad for a medical procedure targeted towards senior citizens. And what was predominately displayed on the front? A QR code. Granted my grandparents do know how to use Skype, I doubt that they or a majority of their peers will make good use of utilizing QR codes.

Before you want the next “big” thing for your business, take the time to think about who will be using it and what benefits they’ll get from doing so. This isn’t to say that QR codes are ineffective but it depends on how you use them. Mashable shows some creative uses for these codes. If you’re a hip new restaurant or creative agency, these uses of QR codes really make sense to me. It’s also more effective because it ties into your business and it isn’t just crudely posted somewhere for the sake of being there.

What are your thoughts on using QR codes to market your business?