There is an emerging cell phone technology that is bridging the gap between print and digital media. It’s called a QR (quick response and) code. It is appearing on printed materials such as business cards and postcards, in newspaper or magazine ads and on signs and billboards.
A QR code works like a UPC barcode except its square and looks a little like terrazzo tile. It can contain a considerable amount of information and most importantly the URL link to a webpage. An example, linking to the home page of www.tech-centre.com is shown at right.
To read a QR Code you need a mobile with a built-in camera and the necessary QR code reader software installed. To read the QR code, simply take a photo of it. This will launch the web browser on your phone and immediately direct you to a webpage assigned to the QR code. This linking from a physical real-world object is known as a “hard link”.
QR-code readers are available for a wide variety of smart phones and several websites allow you to generate your own QR codes free of charge. Although QR codes are not yet widely used, it is expected to increase rapidly as smart marketers find more ways to utilize the technology.
How can QR Code technology help your business?
Suppose you operate a bed-and-breakfast inn and are used to advertising your business with a brochure rack card available to the tourism information booth. A tourist and take a photo of the QR code which will link them directly to your website where they can see your accommodation and easily obtain directions on how to get there.
If you are a retailer, you may want to include a QR code in your newspaper ad for direct mail marketing piece which would drive readers back to your website where they could get additional information on the products on sale and special offers only available through your website.
Smart marketers are using QR codes to help them track response rates to help determine the most effective advertising channels. Print advertisements in different publications can carry separate QR codes with the link going to different web-pages or offers. Tracking the number of hits on the target pages is a good overall indicator of average response rates.
Implementing QR codes into your print materials is not difficult. The company producing your print materials simply needs to generate the necessary QR code and include it in the design. There are no special printing requirements.
Want to use this exciting technology in your printed materials? Call us at The Technology Centre and we can demonstrate that how it works.