Moms Can't Wait for QR Codes

The word is starting to spread about QR codes. Mom blogs, magazine articles and broadcast media are all talking about the latest in convenience for busy moms. That's what it's all about when marketing to moms sometimes.

QR (Quick Response) codes have been around awhile in Japan and China, but have just recently begun to pick up steam in the U.S. and the West. If you are not familiar with them, they are the next generation of barcodes, can be printed on just about anything and deliver a wide variety of information to consumers.

The beauty of the QR codes is that they can help marketers transition smoothly into a robust mobile strategy. As over 60% of moms now have smartphones, developing a credible mobile strategy is a must for most consumer brands. Sixty percent is a big number and while most moms are just getting used to using their smartphones to check email, many more have mastered emailing photos and video and posting mobile updates to their Facebook pages. Moms, in fact, are leading the way in smartphone adoption!

As brands scramble to capitalize on this ability to be constantly connected to their target consumer -- no mean feat -- a wide variety of ways to do that seems to be popping up. I hear talk of building apps, advertising and creating mobile websites. All of these are great, but they take time to study and implement. QR codes, on the other hand, are a no-brainer. They fit into your already existing programs, cost very little and are extremely flexible at delivering information about your brand.

QR codes can be and probably should be printed on all of your current promotional materials, from billboards to POP. They can deliver something as simple as a link to your website. On a billboard, where space is at a premium, commuters can snap your QR code on their smartphone cameras (preferably not while driving) and save the link to your website to visit while on the go or save for later. What a great way to cut through the clutter and instantly have your consumer remember your message!

QR codes can deliver e-coupons right in the store when printed on your POP materials or drive consumers to the store when printed in magazines and other advertising materials. More creatively they can get consumers to "like" your Facebook page instantly, deliver digital prizes and enter sweepstakes. Their use is limited only by imagination and what you can put on a website.

While building apps is long and involved, but sexy, unless you have a really useful benefit to provide to your target consumer on a regular basis, your app is going to languish on your consumer's phone and eventually be deleted. QR codes, on the other hand, are quick to make and easy to understand -- by both consumers and management.

Tags: mobile, moms
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2 comments about "Moms Can't Wait for QR Codes ".
  1. Anne Marsden from Marsden & Associates , July 20, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.

    Maryanne,
    I am also a believer in QR codes - with a few caveats - and one of those plays to the double entendre of your post title: Mom's Can't Wait for QR codes. (In fact I started reading your post thinking you'd be talking about the down side rather than the positive!)

    Specifically, the technology (app's) that are available to read and process QR codes is still often frustratingly time consuming. By the time you've pulled out your phone, opened the app, centered on the code and gotten your smart phone to read it, your kids are screaming or your arm is tired or something more pressing is requiring your attention.

    And when you do actually connect, too often poorly designed campaigns too often make the payoff less than a brand-building experience.

    And mom's truly won't wait for QR codes that are too complicated or deliver little added value.

    For QR codes to evolve from a marketing novelty to a mainstream tool in creating meaningful connections between brands and buyers, both the technology and the marketers have to step up.

  2. Maryanne Conlin from RedRopes Digital/4GreenPs , July 20, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.

    Great points, Anne!

    I did mean that headline to be read on a few different levels ;-)

    QR code adoption and effective use have not strayed too far from the usual path for new technology! Consumers struggle with technology designed for those who aren’t trying to navigate a grocery store with 2 kids in tow, at least one who is in dire need of a nap. Marketers eagerly see a “new and exciting” technology and try to invent something “new and exciting” rather than look at it as a great new delivery system for something consumers already want: coupons, price comparisons, recipes in the middle of the supermarket for that “looks interesting, what should I make with it?” moment.

    QR codes strike me as something that can get “figured out” rather more quickly than usual by both consumers and marketers. What do you think?