Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "How QR Codes Move the Marketing Needle," examines how far QR Code usage has come and its far-reaching marketing implications beyond its early days. Now, besides directing folks to online manuals and nutrition labels, you can receive discounts, loyalty points, and other time-saving benefits. Keep in mind that in the early days, when internet speed was dial-up, or as Meryl Streep's character Miranda Priestly quipped in The Devil Wears Prada, "By all means, move at a glacial pace, you know how that thrills me," pretty much sums up the speed of the digital infrastructure. As a result, QR code adoption was a drag for most folks, being too slow to be practical, and thus engagement levels for QR adoption and usage were also moving at a glacial pace. Fast forward to today, and thanks in part to the advent of high-speed broadband, QR codes can now offer close to instantaneous connections. In short, QR codes act as an intermediary guide to a specific destination in a digital construct, which includes the entire planet, embedded in areas connected via broadband access. As a result, marketers are now using QR codes and have erased the notion that QR code usage is an improbable marketing tool. QR codes are now ubiquitous, appearing in print, and as of lately, via broadcast. That said, marketers are placing QR codes on digital collateral, directing folks to a page on a website. That practice is also gaining steam in Snapchat, Pinterest, WeChat, Instagram, and LinkedIn who have added code scanning features via QR codes. Our Quote of the Day: "QR Codes are amazing. With their smartphone your potential perfect client "scans" this code and they're directed to more info." — Doug Johnson.
QR Code Usage Balloons
Statistica produced a recent survey stating an estimated 11 million U.S. households performed a QR code scan in 2020. This broke the previous high of 9.76M users in 2018. Further, Statistica predicts that by 2022, 5.3 billion coupons and offers will be redeemed via QR codes.
Many savvy marketers now understand that the best tactic to move offline audiences to online destinations is through the proven use of QR codes. QR codes provide a unique opportunity to enhance and attract consumer engagement well beyond the direct mail aspect of direct marketing. Consider the following case in point. A direct mail piece is a great marketing tactic. However, a direct mail piece with a QR code rises to a higher level of engagement. In addition, brands can use QR codes to add additional layers of marketing, such as analytics to track advertising, direct mail, catalogs, and many other print-related marketing campaigns. QR Codes are an excellent enhancement for any print piece and should always be a consideration. The following demonstrates a few creative ideas where QR codes were in use.
Creative marketing involves thinking beyond the obvious marketing road to success and shifting the focus to engaging customers with enhanced multiple experiences. These experiences could contain preorder pages, recipes, instant coupons, or even a short-form video.
An example of a creative approach to product packaging was Coke's usage of a dynamic QR code printed on each can. Each scan directed folks to a unique video and encouraged them to scan several times.
Further, product packaging QR code usage could impart an advantage to mobile prospects, which may be looking for print solutions, thus providing a mechanism for print recipients to be connected to online destinations instantly.
Posters and Banners
The next step in the "Learn More" moniker is to use the QR code. Considerations include offering consumers a preview of your product, a virtual tour of a store, real estate home or building, restaurant, school, or even a manufacturing facility. Again, videos are an essential marketing tool that has amassed high rankings for consumer engagement. For example, Marvel Studios promoted their movie, "Avengers Endgame," by placing a QR code on movie posters that sent folks to a short film trailer.
We are all aware of how social media has been used to quell customer service issues, a service that will most likely continue. With all the hacking and hate speech entering the social media fray, brands may pull back from social media usage to avoid slander, misinformation, and fake news. QR Codes allow you to sidestep that danger by giving buyers and customers a direct method to reach you. Brands can add customer call centers or customer service departments' phone numbers in the QR code, so parties can obtain instant access to resolve issues much quicker. Marketers can print these QR codes on brochures, flyers, direct mail, packaging, and even shipping boxes or containers.
Coupons can be included in direct mail and print advertising and redeemed via QR codes. Many brands have engaged in QR codes via print marketing collateral in a variety of ways. For example, Starbucks recently conducted a print campaign where the QR code linked to a digital coupon. The idea of including coupons in a promotion piece also provides the ability to track digital opportunities, thus enabling marketers to understand how consumers are responding.
Pushing the Creative Boundaries
Imagine going to a museum and, instead of reading the text script under or beside each museum piece, having a narrator tell the story while you listen via video on a cell phone. That's precisely what the Sukiennice Museum in Poland recently executed. They recorded re-enactors telling the story, entitled "The Secrets Behind the Paintings." When visitors scan each painting's QR code, a video will tell all about the artwork and the painters. Now that's cool!
QR Codes are a great marketing tool used in print collateral or even in a digital domain. The whole objective is to increase engagement and response rates in a short amount of time. QR codes can now be dynamic, and brands can be incredibly influential with infinite creativity, colors, and styles. And, it essential to remember, purchasing decisions are timely.
There's a thing called an assist in basketball, which amounts to one player passing the ball to another who scores the basket. The player who passes the ball gets the credit for the assist. In the marketing world, QR code usage is the assist. It is similar to having a player on the field who passes the information onto the visitor who can score more information and ultimately purchase something from the brand. The purchase is the score! We hope you enjoyed reading "How QR Codes Move the Marketing Needle!"
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