QR Codes: Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? What are they? or Who really cares?

You’ve seen them popping up everywhere. Those squiggly black and white boxes (and some a little more graphic and colorful).





QR Codes. Short for Quick Response Code and first designed for the automotive industry, QR Codes are two-dimensional bar codes that marketers are using more and more to capture the attention of their consumers. Download the QR code app on your smart phone and start shooting.

According to researcher comScore, only 6% of mobile phone consumers (or about 20.1 million people) actually use them. Worth it or not? Depends on how you use them.

There’s an increasingly popular website that highlights serious QR code FAILS. Check it out. Pretty funny. And who on earth approved these things?

On the other hand, used creatively and appropriately, it can be a highly beneficial marketing technique:

Here are five steps to making them work for you

And 10 creative (and pretty cool!) ways to use them

Some of our favorites:

  • A virtual store in a subway. Scan your desired items as you wait and have them delivered to your home. No schlepping.
  • An art gallery providing audio tours and more info on the exhibit.
  • Scan the code on the wine label to learn more about the wine and remember it for later.

So what if you see someone who’s wearing a QR code on their shirt? A stranger. Do you point your phone at them and scan it? Are they asking for it by wearing the shirt? What info do you think you’ll get when you do? Scanner beware!

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