Written on October 20, 2011 at 11:16 am
And Why Should I be Interested ?
I’m sure you’ve seen them but I doubt you’ve used them. Still, you are probably wondering what are these QR (Quick Response) Codes and what, if anything, can they do to make my life better? We’ve done our homework and would like to pass our knowledge along to you, our loyal followers.
We’ve all seen QR codes in ads, on signs and in stores. The technology was developed by Toyota in 1994 for tracking auto part inventories. By using your cellphone’s camera and a QR reader app, the codes can direct you to a website, send a text or even play a movie. The QR code in our headline directs you to our danburg.com website.
My initial opinion is that the general public still has no idea about QR Codes. At 2 recent networking meetings, I found that about 10% of commercial brokers and local business owners had used QR codes. In the real estate industry, I know that one local company has added QR Codes to their leasing signs. Also, CRE-Sources, a regional real estate publication, puts a QR Code on each listing in their directory. In the October 2011 edition of the Boca Observer, a magazine published by one of our tenants, four ads (out of hundreds) included a QR Code. That’s not too many, but it’s four more than they used to have. So we are seeing the technology slowly gaining acceptance
Can QR codes improve your life? Well, they can make you a better informed shopper and possibly save you a few bucks. In addition, some advertisers have made money using QR codes in their campaigns, so I would answer with a qualified yes.
Bottom line; I am adding QR codes to our next direct mail campaign. I’ll let you know about the results in a future post. QR codes are easy to create on line and cost us nothing. If nothing else, they project an image that we are tech savvy. Will they catch on with the mainstream public ? I’m still not sure.
What do we know about the demographics of QR code users ? How can you create you own QR Codes, what are the best apps for reading them, and how are they being used successfully ? We will attempt to answer those questions below.
The key to bringing QR technology into the mainstream will be for advertisers to find creative applications. Victoria’s secret seems to be on to something.
We’ve provided some links to help you to use QR Codes. On the Blackberry Bold 9700, I tried the AT&T code scanner and was quite disappointed. I’ve found that Scan Life is much better and is very easy to use. Navigate to getscanlife.com and the program will recognize your device and install the proper version for free. Scanlife is available for Android, Iphone and Windows Phone. Once its installed, all you need to do is start the app, take a picture of the QR Code, and the app will direct your browser to the page associated with the code. As a bonus Scanlife, scans product barcodes and allows you to compare prices.
Other popular scanner apps are I-Nigma, (Iphone, Android and Blackberry) QR Code Reader by Shopsavvy (Iphone and Android) and Quickmark (Iphone, Android and Windows Phone). These can all be downloaded from the Android Market the Apple App Store the Windows Marketplace or Blackberry App World.
Are you looking to create your own QR Codes? We’ve been using Bitly.com which not only provides you with shortened web addresses, but also creates free QR Codes which can be downloaded. Zxing is a highly rated generator that can crate QR codes for text messages, websites and geographic location. And not to be left out Google has its own URL shortener that creates QR Codes. Scanlife and some of the other app developers also have code generators.
At this point, you should be an expert in the world of QR codes. I am beginning to use the technology, although I will admit that other than finding out Erin’s secret, QR codes have not yet done a whole lot to improve my life. It is going to be up to us as marketers to find creative ways to use this technology. For now, it’s a new tool in our toolbox. I’m sure that there will be some who will find useful and profitable applications of this technology. We hope to be among that group!
- Ken Silberling, Danburg Management, Director of Business Development