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QR Codes and Marketing

Typing a URL into a mobile browser isn’t anyone’s favorite thing to do, but a QR Code scan can take someone right to your website without any typing necessary. Just make certain that the site you choose as the destination of the QR Code is formatted especially for mobile.

Many airlines now offer an option of sending a passenger's boarding pass to their mobile device. The passenger opens the code on their screen before boarding and holds it under the scanner at the gate. 

QR codes are being used more and more in today's marketing, both in traditional (newsprint, magazines, TV ads) and interactive campaigns (Customer scans a QR code and opens a coupon for a free cup of coffee or 1/2 off of a pizza, for example).

QR Codes can also be found on billboard ads, in-store displays (giving more information on a product or a discount if shown to the checkout clerk), event ticketing and tracking, trade-show management, business cards, print ads, contests, direct mail campaigns, websites, email marketing, and couponing just to name a few.

More and more people will eagerly scan these codes so they can get a coupon while you gain a new customer. Don't forget, if you're putting a QR code on an item, give your customers a little help with understanding the use by saying something like; "Read with Your Cell Phone" or "Scan with your cell phone camera". After all, this is still a new technology.

How about this idea?


Biz Card with QR Code

Business cards!

Without question, one of the best use of QR codes is on business cards, which is why we recommend QR Business cards over regular cards. How many business cards do you have piled up in the back of your desk drawer? Do you ever even look at them again?

In most cases, people see a business card only once - when they receive it. Then it ends up in a drawer somewhere. With business cards that have QR codes on them, they can simply scan them into their phone, where the information will be readily available FOREVER.

They can certainly be considered more "green" for the environment, just like credit and debit cards are more green than using cash. The cost savings in scanning business cards over and over is economical as well. Besides, it's so cool to be able to scan a complete contact record from a business card into your phone and then be able to hand the card right back.

Click HERE to see various QR codes "in the wild".

Or These Ideas?

  • When I step out of a subway or off a bus, I should be able to scan a QR code posted at the stop and get the map around me with a transit map overlay and a real time schedule.

  • When I walk past a movie theater the poster should have a QR that plays the trailer with the showtimes at that theater.

  • When I see leaflets covering a telephone poll I should expect some to play samples of the band or a slideshow of the art opening.

  • If I see a house for sale I’m interested in scanning the QR on the For Sale sign should initiate a video tour with the listing agent’s contact info.

  • When I get on a bike trail the entry points should have QR symbols that load the trail map complete with mileage markers, bathrooms, points of interest, etc.

  • When I rent a car the paperwork should have a QR that launches a map that gets me back to the car rental office.

  • When I ever play golf (not bloody likely) each hole should have a QR that not only puts a course map in my hand but an animated 3D version with hints and tips.

  • The next postcard I get has a QR that launches a video of the landmark on the card. Or my next birthday card sports a QR that links to a custom web page.

 Target Employs QR Codes

Target has launched a nationwide mobile couponing initiative that lets consumers redeem discount offers by scanning a QR Code at the point of sale.

Consumers can scan the QR Codes using a free app and their cell phone cameras. They simply take a picture of the QR Code and show it at the checkout. The cashier scans the code from the phone and the customer saves money.

According to Target, this is the first program of its kind that is available nationwide. Target believes that mobile couponing will be a competitive advantage for its brand.

“At Target, we know that our guests are relying more and more on mobile devices, so we’re providing convenient, on-the-go mobile solutions for our guests,” said Leah Guimond, spokeswoman for Target, Minneapolis, MN. “Target is the first national retailer to offer a scannable mobile coupon program that allows guests to receive exclusive offers directly on their mobile phones.

“Coupons are redeemed by scanning a barcode on the phone at checkout,” she said. “Mobile coupons are available to our guests right now.

Consumers can opt-in to the program on their PC at, on their phone at or by texting the keyword COUPONS to the short code 827438 (TARGET)

After opt-in, guests receive a text message with a link to a mobile Web page that contains multiple offers, all accessible through a single bar code.

Offers are single-use and expire on the date listed. New offers are sent each month as the previous offers expire.

This is not a regional pilot—Target is rolling out mobile couponing nationwide.

“Target is the first to have the ability to scan a bar code directly from a mobile device at any store nationwide,” Ms. Guimond said.

JC Penney Joins in with QR Codes

JCPenney customers at 16 Houston stores can download and carry coupons on their mobile phones that can be scanned directly from the phone’s display screen at the point of sale.

“Mobile coupons let retails reach their customer segments that are inclined to use permission-based, interactive channels, like mobile, versus traditional vehicles like newspapers and direct mail,” said Dan Kihanya, vice president of consumer marketing at Cellfire, San Jose, CA.

“Mobile provides convenience to shoppers who can have their coupons with them when they need them—without having to remember to bring paper,” he said. “Since mobile is interactive and digital, it can be targeted and more relevant.

“Finally, the location context of mobile means retailers can present offers that are most relevant when a customer is going to be or is nearby.”