QR codes and two-dimensional barcodes haven’t been heralded for their beauty. However, as the utility and possibility of an integrated interactive experience grows, marketers are getting savvy to a more aesthetically pleasing type of QR code, often labeled designer QR codes.
Now, anyone can go online and design his or her own “designer bar code.” At the most basic level, the standard black bar code can be changed to any color with enough contrast to allow a device to read the code. Often, a logo is added to the center of the bar code. However, many companies are getting creative and composing bar codes that seamlessly match the design and feel of print ads. Some marketers are bringing out the art in the bar code itself.
But it’s not just that QR codes are getting a makeover. They are becoming a more strategic part of the marketing plan as a whole. Often dubbed “intelligent” or “dynamic,” a web address is not hard coded into these black and white pixels. A dynamic bar code gives marketers the flexibility to adjust the content behind the code.
As bar codes become more dynamic and the information they give is more precise and targeted, so is the information marketers receive from them. The ability to perform analytics from bar code scans has made the use of bar codes much more enticing. For example, marketers can measure when potential consumers interact with a product or ad, the number of interactions, the amount of time spent on a website or with a product, and from where.
If used effectively, as Barcode Connections found for their clients, this data is immensely helpful when planning ad dollars. If you can target ads to be more effective, the ROI on that spending just increased.
Barcode Connections, a platform for businesses and organizations to design, manage, and track dynamic QR codes, helped Designs by Rosa, Inc., a Chicago florist, build their social media presence and see revenue generated from special offers and sales.
Barcode Connections generated a small number of QR codes, one of which was published in a local calendar and sent to subscribers. Designs by Rosa was able to keep the content behind the code fresh and timely. For example, in February the QR code opened a landing page with a Valentine’s Day coupon and pictures of roses. In April, the same QR code opened an Easter page and related coupon. Furthermore, Designs by Rosa was able to track which neighborhoods scanned the QR codes most each month, and target them with a direct mail campaign.
Coca-Cola recently announced a partnership with ScanLife, and the introduction of QR codes on all Coca-Cola Classic and Coca-Cola Zero products in Spain. According to Paco Rodriguez, Digital Manager at Coca-Cola, ScanLife’s dynamic QR codes enable Coca-Cola to “constantly surprise consumers with new content, strengthen [their] position in the mobile space, and understand what interests consumers.”
As QR codes become more intelligent, they go beyond the simple function of bringing a consumer to a website. Now, companies like Barcode Connections and ScanLife manage codes that do anything a phone can do: send a text, send an email, open a map, send a calendar invite, and more.
With QR codes, a small amount of space opens a whole world of digital media content and provides endless opportunities for interaction. And with trackable codes, the ROI on these marketing activities is more easily quantified.
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