The QR Code Conundrum

The final panel of the day focuses on QR codes, which marketers seem to love but not consumers. Mike Wehrs, CEO of ScanBuy, admits the vast majority of QR codes drive to a Web site and don’t deliver a good user experience. Sean Sullivan of House Beautiful says best QR code executions have to provide a tandible payoff or some kind of value.

Why do brands so often screw up codes? Sean Sullivan of House Beautiful says codes fall victim to the “got to have it now” syndrome where brands don’t think through a strategy in the rush to adopt the shiny, new marketing toy. Wehrs added that rushing to develop a QR code can lead to mistakes in the coding process itself which ultimately leads to technical issues that undermine the end user experience.

John Fauller of Conde Nast offers that he does see code executions improving with links to mobile optimized pages and better calls to action. Wehrs notes that brands can use metadata gathered from interaction to personalize codes to be able to tailor them to different users, but that’s not really happening now.

How much does a QR campaign cost? Typical campaign with link to video or site is about 2,500, but if add in things like augmented reality, the cost goes up to 5-digits, according to Nellymoser EVP Roger Matus. He advises starting simple rather than diving into a more complex execution.

What kind of response rate should a brand expect with a basic QR campaign? Wehrs gives a ballpark figure of attracting 1000s of scans in the first month without doing any promotion. But w/ more promotion, can get to 10,000+. Matus says scan rates don't matter as much as achieving specific goals from a QR program, whether driving social shares, building a new customer list or pushing e-commerce traffic.

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