Interactive Print - QR
If you had a chance to read my last QR code rant, brace yourself—QR codes are not the culprit here. On further investigation, the problem turns out to be us (or our clients). An experience at a new Indian restaurant caused me to scan the QR code on their cups, which only led to their Website. BORING.
I am frequently asked by customers, “How can I use QR Codes in my marketing campaigns?” The real question is, “How can you more effectively use QR Codes in your marketing campaigns?” It is not enough to simply slap a 2D barcode onto something; you need to thoughtfully incorporate QR Codes into each touch point. Use one to link to online content, use it as a vehicle to interact with customers, or create experience around your brand.
An invisible QR code has been created by researchers in an attempt to increase security on printed documents and reduce the possibility of counterfeiting. The QR code is made of tiny nanoparticles that have been combined with blue and green fluorescence ink, which is invisible until illuminated with laser light.
Nicholas Cole, head of mobile and digital marketing at The Catholic Company, an online and catalog retailer of Catholic books and gifts, was planning to present a case study of a successful QR code campaign he ran using the retailer’s print catalogs at the 2012 Internet Retailer Mobile Marketing & Commerce Forum. But he decided on a different presentation when the QR campaign’s performance didn’t turn out so great.
He’s come to realize that the company’s core demographic—women between 35 and 55—behave quite differently from the group that has taken to QR code scanning with greatest enthusiasm—men aged 18 to 34.
Coca-Cola does it. KFC does it, too. There’s no reason why you and your clients shouldn’t benefit from the use of QR codes on cups, hats or other promotional items as well. Readability is a simple enough problem to solve.
Dubbed Touchcode, the new technology works by embedding a thin layer of capacitive material in printed items like business cards, tickets, magazine pages, or product packaging. When you hold the paper to a capacitive touchscreen, it acts like a set of invisible fingers tapping out a complex code that’s interpreted by a Touchcode-enabled app or website.
To read the codes on a device, users will need to launch an app or site that’s capable of reading Touchcode. Rather than creating a universal Touchcode app, Printechnologics has an SDK that companies can use to build the functionality into their own apps.
More often than not, QR codes will simply add clutter and are not useful to the campaign. There are, as always, some cases where using QR codes on a lawn sign does make sense. For instance, there’s promise for their use in districts where voters will engage yard signs not from the inside of their vehicles but instead as pedestrians.
Experts cite three reasons for why QR codes haven’t caught on. First, people are confused about how to scan them. Second, there’s little uniformity among the apps required to read them. Last, some who have tried the technology were dissuaded by codes that offer little useful information or simply redirect the user to the company’s website.