Cell phones, or more importantly their capabilities, are not only giving us a new connection to people, places, and things around us, but they’re opening the doors for technology transitions. With the growing popularity of smart phones, mobile marketing and barcodes have developed a close relationship. Moving beyond simply being a part of a transaction, barcodes are now a tool for increasing communication between companies and consumers.
“It is true that marketing, advertising and publishing are the most popular use for 2D barcodes,” says Ofer Lev, VP of Products and Marketing for 3GVision. As a leader in the mobile Internet technology industry, 3GVision is an Israel-based company that has been a driving force in the global mobile marketing movement. “Advertisers and marketers use [barcodes] to scan a printed ad from a magazine and offer potential customers a discount coupon or more information regarding a product while publishers use barcodes to link printed media to online media and in this way keep printed materials up to date. “
Industry experts say that mobile marketing has been a prominent strategy in other countries, such as Japan, for several years now, but the U.S. is only now gradually joining the global push for promotional barcodes. According to Lev, the use of 2D barcodes is increasing in the U.S. now that “brand advertisers and marketers realize that [they are] an effective way to add interactivity to offline media, create endless opportunities to engage with customers and reach target audiences.” With the launch of Google’s Place Pages last September, a feature that identifies key information when searching for places of interest, Lev believes this “could be a big step towards further increasing the popularity of 2D barcodes in the US.”
Lev believes the potential growth and adoption of barcodes for mobile marketing in the U.S. is only a matter of time. “Although advertisers and marketers are introducing consumers to 2D barcodes via use of QR codes in various campaigns, it is still necessary to increase market awareness to accelerate adaptation and make them a normal part of daily mobile consumers’ behavior,” Lev states. “Once this is achieved, there is no doubt, that the majority of people in the US will know what a barcode is and how to use it.”
The blessed union of barcodes and mobile marketing is creating buzz in the business world by bringing technology tools and promotional strategies together. Typically, advertising campaigns are aimed towards a younger demographic because they are the most easily influenced consumers as well as an influential factor in a family’s spending decisions. It also works in advertisers’ favors that this demographic is also the most technologically savvy. Lev notes how young adults, teenagers and professionals with next generation cell phones, such as iPhones, smart phones, and Android-platform phones are among the main market segments that are adopting this technology the fastest. However, in Japan, age is not as much of a factor and the knowledge of barcodes and their roles in mobile applications is much more abundant.
Lev comments that “not only has Japan been exposed to Denso Waves QR code since 2002 but QR codes come as a standard application on most phones sold today and hence it is not surprising that they are ahead as far as use and applications.” In contrast, the U.S. most phones require the user to download in order to scan barcodes. Although this process is simple, it is a barrier to broad adoption,” says Lev. “Despite this, many marketers in the US, have run campaigns in the last few months and found that users do not have a problem downloading the QR application, especially when it is simple to install, like our i-nigma reader.”
3GVision has been embedding their 1D/2D barcode readers in over 150 million mobile phones globally since 2002, and Lev reports that their focus is now turned to the U.S. in the hopes of sharing the love for barcodes and mobile marketing solutions. He states in closing: “3GVision plans to play a major role in the US barcode eco-system offering the i-nigma end-to-end solution incorporating the fastest, most accurate barcode reader in the world and a barcode campaign manager incorporating a highly intuitive and simple code-creation, campaign management and advanced metrics reporting platform.”
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