QR codes: Print & digital marketing

Prisma Graphic QR Code LogoOur social media icons look a little different, don't they? If you were presented a card with these images would you know what to do with them?

If you answered no, don't worry - many people are unsure about these funny looking graphics. This article will get you up to speed. And, if you already know about them, we'll discuss how these codes close the loop between online marketing and traditional marketing and printing.

QR Codes: What are they?

The images in question are called QR Codes. QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) have been in use since the mid-nineties. Originally, manufacturers used QR Codes to scan and track parts throughout the manufacturing process. The code is a simple image that stores data. The image is scanned by a QR reader (usually a simple app for your phone - here's a link to download a QR scanner for almost any phone) and interpreted on the spot. Today, most QR Codes are pointed to a specific website to enhance web conversion rates. (Any guess where the above codes direct you? Download the app and test it out on the image below.)

Blending Print, Integrated & Mobile Marketing

Now, that you've learned what a QR Code is - I'm sure you can remember seeing them used somewhere in print. Big brands such as Volkswagon, Ford, Starbucks and Calvin Klein have all adopted successful QR strategies within their print campaigns. Prisma Graphic used a QR Code when highlighted in Process Magazine (pgs. 29-31.) When the code is scanned, readers are directed to a video testimonial for DokShop from W Hotel.

Common Uses of QR Codes

• Download and distribute contact information
• Data collection about consumers
• Special incentives and discounts
• Distribute more product or company information

Why Use QR Codes

When QR Codes are used effectively conversion rates can soar. Not only do they have the potential to soar but every interaction can be measured by a trackable url. Measurement and quantifying results is the biggest area of interest to most marketers.

Studies have shown that consumers want to consume information and content in the best way suited for them. Some people love tangible printed pieces and others prefer digital content. Using QR Codes is a simple way to bridge the gap and get your message to your audience in their preferred way of communication and also to introduce a mobile platform into your campaign.

(More and more marketing content is being consumed on mobile devices. A savvy marketer knows how to prepare their content for the mobile consumer. With the price points of smartphones lowering every day, mobile content consumption will eventually eclipse desktop content consumption.)

Like anything else, QR Codes are not a "magic bullet". Just since your message is available in three mediums doesn't mean it's going to be read. The best way to have your marketing message read by your audience is still by great design, messaging of value and concise calls to action. (The basic principles of marketing.) QR Codes are valuable because they can provide additional relevant information to the interested consumer in the form of custom campaign specific landing pages or media rich content like a video.

We want to hear your comments about QR Codes. Do you think they will become a part of mainstream marketing and advertising? Have you had any experience designing collateral for campaign with QR Codes? Tell us about it...

[Prisma Graphic is a full-service, marketing solutions provider with an emphasis in commercial printing that specializes in online marketing supply chain management. Utilizing cutting-edge technology and a commitment to customer service, we partner with clients to develop cost-effective programs that execute integrated brand campaigns and highly-targeted business communications. Our ongoing evolution is to deliver sales opportunities at the lowest possible cost.]

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