21-11-2011

QR Code? What’s that?

Author: Shireen Shurmer

My husband’s trade magazine of choice dropped through the letterbox this week (It’s Automated Trader, in case you were interested. I know. And you thought your job was dull. ) The magazine sported a belly band promoting a financial information provider, with a QR code driving the recipient to a dedicated micro site. So far, so good. Great integration of print and online, I hear you cry.

Author: Shireen Shurmer

Image:   AttributionSome rights reserved by ell brown

My husband’s trade magazine of choice dropped through the letterbox this week (It’s Automated Trader, in case you were interested. I know. And you thought your job was dull. ) The magazine sported a belly band promoting a financial information provider, with a QR code driving the recipient to a dedicated micro site. So far, so good. Great integration of print and online, I hear you cry.

Except that my smartphone-using, ultra tech-savvy, arch IT-geek of a life partner had no idea what it was. When I enlightened him, he thought the idea was cool enough. But without some sort of explanation as to why the code was there, how he should act on it, and what it would do for him, it was no more than a pretty pattern. Like so many things that are widely talked about in particular professional communities, their simplicity and benefits may, without some sort of explanation, be utterly lost on the layperson.

Surely it’s the role of the marketing, publishing and print communities to explain these benefits to those whose consume our media and our messages. Without doing so, the impact on the advertiser’s return on marketing investment of QR codes – and the generations of similar tools that follow – will surely be limited.

If that happens, it won’t be the choice of the print medium that was at fault, but our assumption as marketers that everyone is as clued up on the latest marketing gizmos as we are.