By Tony Vassiliev - Chief Executive Officer at Gauge Mobile Solutions Inc.
Most of you are familiar with the age-old riddle “Why did the chicken cross the road?” It is a rather simple joke with a very direct punch line. However, most who hear it for the first time fail to catch the simple nature of the joke and come up with the most outlandish responses. I find QR codes seem to have a similar effect on marketers: each tries to outdo the other in the execution of the code, often forgetting the simple intent of the code in the first place; to link the user to the other side.
As with the joke, where many clever punch lines have emerged, there have been some crafty QR code designs and implementations. However, I’ve seen too many marketers spend more time on the appearance and placement of the code than they do on the destination of the link. As a consumer I can assure you that no matter how engaging the appearance of the QR code may be, if the content on the other side does not provide me with immediate value, your brand will drop a notch in my books. The sooner marketers forego the novelty appeal of this technology and use it as part of a well thought out mobile strategy the sooner they will see consistent results.
I would wager that many only know a QR code as a link to a destination on the web, a sort of URL shortener for your smartphone. Perhaps this limited awareness is what leads to poorly executed codes; you don’t have a mobile site but everyone else is doing it so you find yourself in a predicament. Well I’m about to widen your horizons. A QR Code can execute nearly any function your smartphone is capable of and here are some examples:
- Ease communication with prepopulated emails
- Encourage participation with pre-populated text messages
- Reincarnate the speed-dial
- Secure an event in the calendar
- Add contact information to the address book
- Make it easy to find directions to your location
- Deliver a message
- Promote your location with easy Facebook and Foursquare check-ins
- Build your following and trend on Twitter through predefined tweets
- Extend your reach on Facebook by growing your user base
All of these can be used effectively without a need for a mobile website, just a well-designed QR code management platform (insert shameless Scanvee plug here). The engagement ability of a QR code spans far beyond the examples provided above, to include: contests, offers, coupons and surveys, all of which can be custom built to suit the objectives of your campaign. And the cost for these tools is very affordable.
Don’t get me wrong, I would strongly urge everyone to move the mobile site high on their priority list. “Google reports that 61 percent of users who experience frustration with a brand site that is not optimized for mobile are unlikely to return,” says an article on MobileCommerceDaily.com. “Additionally, 40 percent will visit a competitor’s site.” With an abundance of resources, some of which are free, there is no more excuses to delay your mobile optimization. This will lead to fewer disappointed consumers and fewer failed QR code implementations.