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QR Codes: A Successful Marketing Tactic?

CNN.com mobile tech writer Amy Gahran suggests that QR codes are an underwhelming marketing tactic in large part due to people not knowing what the heck they are and what to do with them. Industry research conducted by ArchRival and many others has indicated that just a minority of consumers are even aware of QR codes, and those that have used them want something more simple, quick and convenient for engaging with brands.

Some of the other downsides Amy notes in making her case against QR codes: the gamble on whether or not consumers will land on content that they find appealing and that is actually optimized for their mobile devices, as well as the security risks that QR codes can bring.

Despite these, Hamilton Chan offers some solid tips for making sure that QR codes are more than just a fad and preventing the mistakes that Amy calls out. “If brands deploy QR codes merely to claim they are using the latest social media marketing tool, then QR codes are doomed to … never realize their true potential,” he said. “The task for marketers is to use this interactive tool to deliver useful and meaningful experiences to their users.”

For those that are a bit more optimistic about QR codes’ viability as a marketing tactic, for example, as a resource during the holiday shopping period, also check out advice from Fast Company, MarketingVox and Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog.

What do you think? Are QR codes not catching on, or do marketers just need to be more strategic with them in order to be successful?

This post was first published by Beth Brenner on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense, and may be viewed here.

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