QR Codes Search for a Role
Critics of QR codes say the technology is a cool toy that marketers fall in love with for reasons that often have little to do with delivering value to the consumer.
A Winnipeg Free Press piece says that QR codes “without a purpose … are nothing but pretty gimmicks.”
In June, digital strategist Dave Wieneke wrote on AdAge.com that QR codes are intended to create “an instant connection” with those receiving the message, but have not done so to date. In the sharply critical piece, Mr. Wieneke wrote, “If someone had figured out a way to do that with a QR code, we would know it by now.”
Still, there are plenty of proponents of QR codes who believe they have a role in the marketing of products and services.
Writing on ClickZ last month, Melinda Krueger of ExactTarget acknowledged that QR codes have not always been put to best use, but offered this insight. “[If] we take advantage of the unique characteristics of QR codes, perhaps we can save them and us from becoming extinct. To my way of thinking, these characteristics are discovery, depth, simplicity, surprise, and exclusivity.”
Erica Glasier, a digital media blogger, told the Winnipeg Free Press that QR codes are often a “tactic in search of a strategy,” but suggested valid uses exist. She pointed to a poster for a musical group with a link to a digital download of a song, or QR codes being used in stores to bring up reviews of products on shelves, as effective means to use the technology.
Many critics of QR codes suggest the technology is short-lived in any regard since near field communications (NFC) offer all of the features of QR codes plus the ability to conduct digital transactions with a simple swipe of a mobile phone.
QR code proponents suggest the advantages of NFC are not so clear cut. Chips for NFC cost up to 25 cents each while QR codes cost almost nothing. QR codes also work from longer distances than NFC.
- Cracking the (bar) codes – Winnipeg Free Press
- Why Marketers Shouldn’t Waste Their Time With QR Codes – AdAge.com
- QR Codes: Dead End or On-Ramp? – ClickZ
Discussion Questions: What do you see as the proper role for QR codes? Will QR codes outlive the adoption of NFC technology?