QR Codes: Using Smartphones to Boost Your Sales

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QR stands for Quick Response code. You’ve seen them. It looks like a pixilated bar code and it appears on just about everything from magazine ads to posters, to the front of business doors or on the sides of trucks. They are read from the bar code scanner from any smartphone.

We at Marketing Matters? We’re in favor of them. Why?

According to the nice people at Nielson who count things, 31 percent of the U.S. uses smartphones and that number is growing. Of that 31 percent, 69 percent use these applications.

QR codes are simple to use. By just scanning a QR code with your smartphone, your customers are immediately linked to a web page, short video or even your catalogues and sales materials — 24 hours a day. Your customers can also check inventory and place orders — 24 hours a day.

Through that tiny device, the smartphone, you can update prices, offers or information about your products. Even better, you can always be tuned in to collect customer data and measure the effectiveness of print communications and display ads — elusive measurements for marketers in the past.

Here at Marketing Matters, we use QR codes on our business cards and on most of our printed materials. This allows users to quickly navigate to our contact page — or whatever page or video we want them to see. From there, users can read more information about us, or just tap on our number to give us a call. We also use them on cards placed in event pressrooms, like at CEDIA Expo, so editors can quickly go to the client’s press page.

Not everyone will be interested enough in your brand or product to scan your codes. Sorry. That’s life. But for those who do, they’ll be rewarded with relevant content. They can take that step from being attracted to calling you and placing orders. Our challenge as marketers is to ensure the correct content is provided to our intended audiences whether B2B or B2C.

If you are ready to use QR codes, start small. Measure. Adjust your program and/or message based on results. Tell your customers what it is and what it is for (example: Scan this QR code with your smartphone to read/see/enter/purchase, etc…). Before you know it, you’ll have the data and insight to adjust your marketing mix to its optimum.

The smartphone is nothing less than magic.

Will you be using QR codes in 2011? At Marketing Matters, we can help. I would love to hear your plans or thoughts.

Coleen Sterns Leith is president and chief techno-geek at Marketing Matters, a communications and design firm specializing in technology, consumer and custom electronics, audio-video, and related industries. As a 20-plus year consumer electronics industry veteran, she is a recognized expert in public relations, business development, and marketing. Coleen and her firm are headquartered in Hollywood, Florida. She can be reached at coleen@marketingmatters.net.