QR codes are the marketing technology that executives of all levels seemed to embrace almost the moment it came out. It was the bright shiny object that people fell in love with and I’m not sure why. Senior executives who couldn’t be convinced of the value of blogging, Facebook or Twitter were insisting that all marketing materials include QR codes, which brings us to reason number 1.
- The implementation of QR codes by most businesses was “just because we can do this cool thing.” There was no strategy, no understanding of how it serves the customer or the business or how it works in real life. It’s the ultimate shiny object searching for a purpose.
- As consumers, we use QR codes on the go. I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal today while I was on the train and for the first time, I saw a potential value in it for me. I was intrigued to see more about a story in video form. There was a URL but I thought I’d try scanning the code. Oops. You have to hold everything perfectly still to scan the code and I was on a train. By the time I decided to skip it and use the URL, my train went into the tunnel.
- So a lot of brands, realizing we use QR codes on the go decided to put them on ads in places like . . . the subway. There is no cell reception in the subway. Since QR codes depend on having access to the internet, they only function some of the time and unfortunately, it’s some of the most useful time.
- Why oh why would I scan your code? This goes back to the lack of strategy but it’s a very rare occasion when a brand gives me a reason why I would go to the trouble. Like your Facebook page? No thank you. See an ad about your company? I don’t think so.
- It’s clunky technology. First, you have to have the app on your phone. If I don’t use QR codes on a regular basis and find real value it it, I’m not going to bother downloading the app. Then, I’ve got to find the app amongst my many others in order to use it when the moment arises. Then I’ve got to take a few seconds to position it correctly over the code and take another second to scan it. That’s a lot of steps and too much digital attention.
Just give me a good reason to go to a site and a short URL.