This month, the United States Post Office embarks on an ambitious campaign to raise the profile of QR codes. Although QR codes (short for Quick Response) have been around since 1994 and are well established outside North America, this effort represents a tipping point, which could help push QR codes further into the mainstream.
Retailers such as Macy’s and Best Buy are currently using them to give in-store shoppers more product information. The Gap, Target, Miller Lite, Ford, and Starbucks in combination with Lady Gaga are each using them in promotions this summer. And real estate giant ReMax uses them on For Sale signs to provide details not only about the house, but also the local neighborhood and school district. Since 2009, monthly QR scans have grown from 80,000 per month to over 2 million, an increase of 2500%.
What’s driving this growth? According to comScore, at the start of 2011 over 65 million people in the U.S. owned a smartphone and that figure continues to grow each month with some analysts believing 50% of all domestic mobile devices will be smartphones by the end of the year.
QR codes enable mobile users to quickly connect to a web page, play a video, or reach another online destination without the frustration of typing or having to navigate on their mobile device. Once a QR reader is installed, it’s simply point and shoot. For more information on QR codes or to download a QR code reader based on your smartphone platform visit here.
Only One Chance to Make a First Impression
QR codes present a significant opportunity for stations to engage with their listeners in yet another relevant way, but there’s a catch. Your listeners will instantly be comparing how your station implements and executes this mobile technology against not just other broadcasters, but more significantly against the biggest brands in the world. You know the importance of engagement and relevancy on the air, the same is true for your mobile content.
Imagine your best listeners receiving a mail piece from your station or being given a pass along card by a member of your street team. Along with creating an engagement opportunity that increases brand awareness and Mindshare for your station, there’s also a QR code with a simple link to entertaining content unmatched by other mail pieces. Many QR codes that you’ll see, especially in catalogs, are designed to provide product specs and customer reviews. Radio has a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
Do you have fresh online video from your morning show? Working with a record label and have a new release listeners can download? Want to invite people to register for a current promotion and give them a special clue or incentive? Looking at ways to compete with Pandora and other streams on the Infinite Dial by making it easier than ever before to listen to your station online? These are all strategic ways to use QR codes in your marketing and promotion efforts.
Best of all, QR codes are easily tracked, so it’s easy to gain insights into what content your listeners find most valuable and engaging.
For more information on QR codes and how they can be utilized within our 360° Listener Engagement Strategy, call or email us.