Entry By Angela Stringfellow
There are skeptics around every corner in every industry and segment of life. Mobile marketing is no exception and the biggest victim: Quick Response (QR) Codes. Naysayers are quick to say they are a passing fad or will never amount to a resourceful marketing tool, but if they are done consistently and correctly, they have a shot at becoming one of the most widely used, interactive components in a mobile marketing strategy.
With the increasing domination of smartphones, mobile marketing is here to stay. Smartphones already own 44 percent of the mobile phone market share, according to a Nielsen report. And, the actual usage of these little black boxes increased by more than 4,000 percent since 2010, but account for only a little more than 6 percent adoption within the smartphone marketplace.
According to ScanLife, the largest demographic that has adopted the use of QR Codes are 25- to 34-year-olds, with 35- to 44-year-olds close behind. In addition 35 percent make between $50,000 and $100,000 per year.
But a very precise and important demographic is missing. Young adults, in particular college students, are not using the QR codes. The use of smartphones among students is an astonishing 80 percent. However, only 21 percent have admitted to scanning a QR code and 75 percent of those report they were not likely to scan a code again.
Since college students usually adopt new technology more quickly than others, marketers are left to wonder why this technology is not catching on. Perhaps because the information provided with QR codes simply isn't appealing to that demographic.
So why have the QR codes been slow to adapt in some markets? The answer isn’t clear, but there are some industries, both big and small, that could easily take advantage of such an easy and ever-increasing technology. The problem is that the consumers need to know what they are, why they are there and how to use them and statistics show, this isn't happening. As the QR codes gain in public use and acceptance this will more than likely happen naturally.
But if QR codes do gain in popularity, there are a few industries that can take advantage of this mobile strategy by easily incorporating them into their existing campaigns and making them more relevant.
Real Estate: By placing QR codes on “For Sale” or "For Rent" signs or mailbox fliers, potential buyers scouting out neighborhoods can quickly and easily get a glimpse behind the door of a home that piques their interest. New home buyers or college grads moving out on their own for the first time can quickly and easily weed out apartments and houses that don't fit their needs with virtual tours.
Car Dealers: The same method can be used with new and used cars. Many shoppers take advantage of the dealerships’ Sunday hours to peruse vehicles without fear of being badgered by salesmen. With a quick scan of a QR code placed on a window sticker, the buyer can see performance information, details on amenities. The QR code could also link to a payment calculator.
Event Industry: For large and small venues, local and national performers or even for community events, QR Codes can be used to provide details about a coming event. A brief preview of a performance or behind-the-scenes peek at the show, ticket availability and show times or links to ticket sales and arena seating charts, can easily provide to consumers the information that can lead to direct sales and sold-out shows.
Home Improvement/Housewares: Have you ever wandered into a home improvement store and been confused about the difference between a reciprocating saw and a miter saw? Product packaging or display QR codes can provide tips and tricks on how the tools are used or instructional videos on how to unclog drains or install a light fixture. This would be a wonderful tool for first-time homeowners or for young adults living on their own for the first time.
The opportunities are endless. A little “out of the box” thinking and the QR code can be used for virtually every industry. As the codes become more recognized and more readily used, they will be an inexpensive way to elaborate on what used to be a stagnant form of advertising. They can take a black and white newspaper ad and make it a living, breathing experience or virtually open the doors to the home of your dreams.
Have you considered incorporating QR codes into your marketing mix? How are you working to incorporate the younger demographics into your strategy? What has your experience been?