Nearly every year since 1994 has been hyped as the year that QR codes pierce the mainstream, but in 2011 the hubbub is finally reaching a fever pitch.
This is thanks to a confluence of factors: Critical mass in smartphone penetration, a large installed base of many barcode-scanning apps, and an approaching social tipping point of awareness. QR codes are finally becoming an effective tool for driving offline-to-online interactions at scale.
Combine this with the fact that enhancing real world promotions in music, film and brand marketing is among the best applications of this technology, and next month’s SXSW has the potential to be the breakout event for QR codes in America.
Unfortunately, many well-intentioned early adopters will waste the opportunity by not delivering enough value or making some very simple mistakes.
I’ve spent nine months isolating the best practices and highest converting use cases specific to these applications. Taking over where Jamie Turner left off with his post on the 10 commandments for marketers using 2D codes, below is a “brass tacks” breakdown of the minimum value each marketer needs to offer to be successful.
What Should My QR Code Do?
It should direct users to a mobile-optimized webpage with functionality tailored to your audience and application. Below are recommendations based on the calls-to-action that we’ve seen achieve the highest engagement. You’ll notice the following themes recur: Exclusivity, rich media, downloads, social media, incentives like prizes and contests, and contextual relevance.