I had the pleasure of spending Christmas and the New Year in Aspen, Colorado, skiing. It was a great place, although Mother Nature could have lent a hand with some more snow. While I was there, I picked up some of the local free papers and glossy magazines, with the intention of testing my theory that advertisers and marketers are starting to understand the value of QR Codes and the importance of mobile friendly landing pages and websites. Aspen is a pricey place. Consumers are wealthy and many have ample free time to spend a small fortune. Extracting some of this fortune is the top priority of businesses. Advertising should be top-notch, right?
As you've probably guessed already from the title of this post, my theory that QR Codes have "come of age" was squashed. In the Aspen Daily News and the pull-out TimeOut supplement for December 23rd, there were only five advertisers that I spotted using QR Codes. In 56 pages. That says to me that QR Codes are by no means saturated yet. They are still unusual and readers of printed publications will still notice them.
Worse still, of the five QR Codes I noticed, only one scanned with my old iPhone 3G. A phone with autofocus might do better, so I'm not going to beat people up over my outdated technology. Target consumers in Aspen have the latest and greatest, so I'm just not representative. Still, two of them were completely unscannable even after digitally enhancing with photoshop. That's just a waste of ink. And my question is whether the people designing the ad even bothered to scan the QR Code on the proof before going to print.
Most distressing of all though - 100% fail - not one had a smartphone-friendly website sitting behind the QR Code. Beautiful websites they may have been when I got home and looked on my PC, but unusable on my phone. Why bother with a QR Code if you are going to send a visitor to a site that just annoys and frustrates them. Have them call you or email you instead to find out what they need.
A new years resolution for all print advertisers should be to investigate QR Codes. They stand out. And when done right, your company will stand out too.
A post from the Improving It blog
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