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QR Codes In 2021

Posted by Steven Sheck, President, Infinite Media

February 27, 2021

The Time Is Now For QR Codes

Few direct mail campaign tools can enhance engagement better than QR codes in 2021. They easily connect recipients with a wide range of emerging media types and rich interactions before, during, and after purchase.

QR code usage is thriving, as smartphone use expands (81% of U.S. adults have smartphones), and the variety of uses increases. Major smartphone manufacturers are making QR readers a built-in feature. Codes are durable, since they don’t expire, and are as permanent as the resource to which they connect. By some estimates, 60-65% of people use QR codes worldwide each day.

QR codes allow a simple postcard to deliver a world of information, interaction, and engagement. And they do it using very little space. Extending the dialog beyond the first touchpoint, marketers can prolong brand experiences and get more mileage from their contact data.

A direct mail marketing campaign is expensive. It may include postcards, flyers, brochures, direct response advertising, and letters. Expenses are incurred for writing, design, postage, space, and the best possible list data. Who would not want to maximize ROI by getting as much response as possible?

That raises another trait of QR codes: they can go viral. Reaching the right decision-maker can set a wave of sharing in motion as the linked content circulates among collaborators and teams. By encouraging subscriptions and registrations, the pool of contacts can grow.

 

Some QR History

QR codes have been in use since 1994. They were originally limited to industrial applications, such as tracking assembly line processes. Since then, “Quick Response” codes have found their way into almost every sort of marketing application, including many B2B use cases. Essentially, QR codes are simply barcodes that can be scanned. A QR code can store up to 4296 characters, which is far more than a standard barcode. They are used to launch a webform, a social media page, a shopping or corporate website, even interactive video.

For years, they were an interesting feature used by forward-thinking marketers. Using QR Codes is also a way to save money. Each year, the U.S. Postal Service runs a promotion that provides a 2% postage discount for implementing advanced technologies, including QR Codes. The meteoric rise of smartphones in the past ten years has caused QR codes to become a widely accepted way to give consumers and businesses a means to take a variety of immediate actions.

 

How Can You Use QR Codes?

Hard-won face-to-face (more likely zoom) B2B presentations can embed QR codes onscreen (yes, they can be read) or in printable decks, linking to personal portals that keep the conversations going with video, incentives, downloads and more.

Promotional B2C direct mail postcards that already may include personalized coupon codes can include QR codes that allow recipients to take advantage of offers immediately.

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised touchless transactions to a top priority by industries that are essentially social and personal – such as retail and hospitality – for pickup, delivery and payment.

In such cases like these, marketers have a chance to learn more about each customer and enrich their contact database.

 

More Examples Of QR Codes In Marketing:

  • Share contacts with vCard QR business cards
  • In-store proximity marketing offers
  • Personalized coupons
  • Customer Service
  • Product specifications
  • Contactless ordering and transaction
  • Launch an app download page
  • Add an event to the calendar
  • Open payment platforms
  • Send a pre-formatted text message or email
  • Call a phone number
  • Play a B2C or B2B video
  • Music and sound files
  • And so on…

 

Are QR Codes Easy To Create?

The ease with which QR codes can be created has lowered resistance from B2C and B2B marketers. It begins with a QR code generator. The resulting image file can be placed on packaging, wrapping stickers, vinyl magnets, in stores, on billboards, within a printed business proposal, or anywhere a smartphone camera can read it, even off a screen. For users that may need to create large numbers of codes, say for SKUs, there are QR code APIs available. Marketers can make use of QR codes in almost limitless ways in virtually every printed direct mail format. The barriers are lowered for businesses of any size to expand the reach and scope of their marketing messages.

Every direct marketer wants to hold their audience’s attention. Both business and consumer shoppers are impatient jealously protecting their time. They demand immediate information and customer service. QR codes are more than up to the task.

The benefits of increased interaction through chat, SMS, images, video, and sound, plus the sheer motivational effects of instantly redeemable offers are significant. This makes QR codes a robust tool for building business and strengthening customer relationships. What better way to make use of a targeted consumer or business database?

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