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June 8, 2011 / jasonpinto

Are QR Codes Appropriate Everywhere?

QR Codes and Wi-Fi Hotspots

Are QR Codes appropriate everywhere?

Well, before I answer that question, I think it’s only fair that I disclose this: there is a rumor on the internet that I have a QR Code tattoo 🙂

But whether that rumor is true or not, finding the answer to the initial question is truly important for anyone that is interested in using QR Codes. Here are three things that should be considered before you put a QR Code on your printed material:

Your Audience

One reason why marketers may use QR Codes is to try to increase their response rates. However, putting the QR Code on the printed piece is only one part of the equation. What’s the other? Well, your audience certainly needs to have the capability to scan the QR Code!

Sure, smartphone penetration is growing at quite a fast pace. It will continue to do so. However, it’s only reasonable to assume that smartphone adoption will vary significantly when you look at specific demographics.

Thus, be sure to truly understand the overall makeup of your audience. What are the chances that they are carrying smartphones? The answer to that question may help you decide whether or not a QR Code is a viable response mechanism for that campaign.

Physical Surroundings

Yes, it’s true. We are connected more than ever before. People connect to the internet with many different portable devices and in many cases they never leave home without them.

However, simply carrying one of those devices does not mean that they’ll be able to access the internet.

Many conferences and trade shows over the past couple of years have been plagued with problems related to a poor internet connection. Whether this is due to poor preparation or just an absolutely overwhelming demand for bandwidth, a slow (or non-existent) internet connection could doom your QR Code success.

My advice: If you are going to use QR Codes on your printed materials at your next trade show or conference, be sure to have an alternative response mechanism as well!

Why Are You Asking Them To Scan?

This is absolutely important. When people first get excited about QR Codes, they may quickly take steps to create a QR Code that points to their corporate website (yep, I am a guilty of this!). While this may be exciting for the QR Code creator, it most likely will lead to disappointment and a poor mobile experience for the person that scans it.

QR Codes should point to mobile-optimized websites that reward the person that scans them! Whether it’s with compelling content, a special offer, and/or a rich & dyanmic mobile web experience, make sure that your QR Code truly serves a purpose.

Photo Credit


Leave a Comment
  1. Aaron / Jun 8 2011 12:48 pm

    Thanks for clear up internet connection. I’ve had a lot of people comment on my blog they can’t access the internet in subways and other place. Very True. You need to have an alternative response.

    • jasonpinto / Jun 8 2011 12:54 pm

      Thank you very much for checking out the post and commenting! I do think that conferences (especially in the print and marketing worlds) are making strong efforts to ensure that their internet connection is solid, but it’s still a bit scary when you are putting QR Codes on a lot of your printed materials…especially if you are hoping to demonstrate how they work at the booth!

  2. Donna Kaplan @ Curley Direct / Jun 8 2011 4:06 pm

    Great article, Jason! I agree that it should serve a purpose and it should also have a compelling call to action.

    • jasonpinto / Jun 8 2011 4:07 pm

      Thank you Donna! I greatly appreciate it….

      P.S. I hope you’re enjoying the heat here in MA today 🙂

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