QR Codes: time to get in or out?

If you’ve been seeing those funny bar code type images popping up everywhere and wondering if this is something you should consider adding to your marketing mix, then this article should help you decide.

About a year ago, QR Codes became the latest, greatest social media flavor of the month… right now, we’re seeing them pop up all over the place.  On Facebook avatars, on store windows and in ads.

But… do they really achieve anything at all?  And are they an increasingly used tool, or an idea that’s so faddish it’s already on its way out?

When I first came across QR Codes, I thought they were pretty cool.  But, in my opinion, they had one huge disadvantage – which precluded them from my marketing mix.

The key to successful marketing is simplicity for the end target.  QR Codes fail dismally in that department.  While they look cool and have some nifty applications, such as transferring the viewer to a video or web site on their mobile device, they presented too much of a barrier to entry.

First, you need to have a smart phone to access them.

Secondly, you have to download (after you’ve bought) an app to decipher them.

Third, you have to haul out the smart phone, activate the app, and scan the QR code before anything happens… if it happens.  My experiments proved that the QR codes and the scanner apps can be temperamental.

From the implementer’s point of view, QR codes require the software to generate them – and although this is relatively simple, in my experience, most small to medium size businesses are not going to want to spend the time to learn how.

In my opinion, QR codes were way too much work with way too little payoff.

It seems that Google, who initially embraced this technology, did some extensive testing.  They mailed literally thousands of QR code stickers to businesses featured in Google Places.  The stickers were for use in the business window or in ads, websites and the like.

However, at the end of March, Google announced it will no longer support QR codes in Google Places.

It seems ‘cool’ isn’t enough of a reason to overlook the technological challenges.

According to an article in The Next Web http://thenextweb.com/, Google is now considering NFC (Near Field Communication) which is an old technology with a new application similar to, but better than bluetooth.

Near Field Communication is based on electromagnetic induction principles investigated by Michael Faraday in 1831.  It looks as if apps making use of this technology will appear for iPhone 5 in the near future.

So, as far as whether QR Codes are concerned, my opinion has been, and remains that it’s really much ado about nothing and we’ll see this latest fad quietly fizzle over the next 12 months or so.

Vancouver lead generation
Vancouver social media consultant
Abbotsford lead generation
Abbotsford social media consultant