In 2016 I wrote this blog article about Why I dislike QR Codes in Marketing. It’s still one of the most popular blogs on our website. It is now 2022 and QR codes are in more places now than they were in 2016 – partially thanks to COVID. But other things have changed besides wearing face masks so I thought this warranted a follow up:
- You no longer need a QR code scanner! Yay! This is one reason why QR codes have become more accepted. Smartphone cameras now will scan and direct people to the content in the QR code.
- I do not believe they are as confusing as they once were. I do not believe all audiences fully understand QR codes so I still think it is important to know your audience before deciding to use a QR code. However, due to the pandemic, many people have been forced to use QR codes to read menus, instructions, and other detailed information so the concept is not as foreign.
- They still are not effective as a branding tool. It isn’t a logo, URL, or brand name so just a QR code alone is not enough for branding. Make sure you are using QR codes in the right way. In the example above, if someone is already sitting in your restaurant using the QR code as a way to read your menu is a great option. However, using a QR code on a business card at a networking event may not be as memorable.
I see it all the time but I still don’t love the idea of using a QR code on a TV commercial. While most people do have their mobile phones near them when watching TV, it would require them to get it out, open the camera, maybe pause their TV (if they have that capability), and maybe even stand up to scan. See how much work you just put on them?!? It is your job to make it as EASY as possible for people to work with you and use your product.
So in 2022, my stance on QR codes has changed… a little. I see many useful reasons why to use them and I think technology has made it easier for them to be used. But, it is still important to use them in the right context, with the right audience and right marketing medium.