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Offline Marketing Becomes Online Marketing with QR Codes

- October 11, 2010 - 5 Comments

Originally designed for tracking automotive parts for vehicle manufacturing, QR codes may very well be the next wave in B2B marketing. Funny how technology can sometimes transcend its original purpose…

Although, we, here in the US, may be a bit slower to adopt QR codes,than the rest of the world, it seems QR codes are poised to make it to the mainstream in the near future. Then, it’s only a matter a time before they become a staple in every B2B marketers arsenal.  Here’s a few points to back that up:

  • According to the International Telecommunications Union, there are 2.5 times more mobile phone users than people connected to the Internet. 
  • Smartphone manufacturers are pre-installing QR code readers on their phones. This already includes Android, Nokia and some Blackberry phones.
  •  QR codes are already making creative appearances in music videos – see Kylie Minogue’s “All the Lover’s” video, NHL marketing – see the Detroit Red Wings’ interactive game program, and most notably the giant QR codes in Times Square earlier this year promoting Internet Week 2010.

So, how do we capture the power of the QR code for B2B? Here are a few thoughts on how QR codes can bridge the gap between your offline and online marketing:

  • Instant Access Direct Mail– Include a QR code on your direct mail piece and the recipient can instantly scan it. No more waiting to get online or to make a phone call, providing a more immediate way for a recipient to engage with your marketing message.
  • Direct Mail Personalization– QR codes can be personalized for each individual recipient, providing them with a unique experience, more relevant information, and, incidentally, providing you, the marketer, with increased trackability of results.
  • Tradeshow Signage– Add QR codes to your tradeshow signage that when scanned provide a customized offer, your company information, access to your Facebook page, a custom landing page etc. Whatever makes sense for your business or campaign effort.

I think you get the idea… QR codes are a way for us to “hyperlink” our offline and online marketing efforts in the B2B universe.  

What do you think? Will you be utlizing QR codes in your marketing efforts in the next 6 to 12 months?


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  1. Hi, interesting article, I am making a research about QR Code usage for advertising, why it is successful and why it is not. how do you measure the effectiveness of QR-Code usage in marketing? A.N.Rizal Engineering and Management Information System Royal Institute of Technology Sweden

  2. Hi Ruth, I wrote about this topic recently and two of the biggest areas where I see application of QR codes for B2B marketing are: 1.) As a mechanism to generate measurable results (i.e. leads) from print ads. A lot of B2B folks seem to have given up on print. This might help bring it back a bit. 2.) To bring interaction and additional utility to static product brochures or technical catalogs via links to product demos, video case studies, requests for sample/proposals, etc. If you are interested, here's a link to the full blog I wrote on this topic: Have you tried any additional uses since you first wrote this? Jude

    • HI Jude - Thanks for the comment! Nice post on your blog as well. I actually use a QR code to promote my blog when I attend various events and we are actively assessing where we can use them throughout our marketing efforts. Best, Ruth

  3. Dear Ruth nice article.. I have noticed some newspaper here in Indonesia adopting QR codes, it also open up the web pages for any particular news and or articles.. left me wondering, how it would be more effective if I adopt the same method ? since my web only bunch of products to sell and nothing to be hide out, copy-cat preventive action already been done through some plug-ins within the web.. I shall tell this article to my fellow marketing at the office and share some thoughts.. thank you for the info.. Regards, Deny Rusdiansyah

  4. Ruth: I write a blog about 2D barcode use and strategy and if it can help you and your readers with anything, by all means please take a look. If you have any questions please let me know. Thank you. -- Roger Marquis Founder, -------------------------------------------------- 646.596.3056