I read with interest the Between the Lines article in the December 15 issue of U.S. 1 regarding your use of a QR code on the cover of your publication and the description of how it might be used by others.

QR codes are one of the tools we are utilizing in our own marketing. We are also discussing their integration into the marketing programs of some of our clients. Like a lot of new concepts, ideas, or technologies, proponents sometimes oversell their value and proclaim that they will ultimately replace and make obsolete other, older methods.

The fact is that QR codes are just one more technique available to marketers (others include personalization, integrated marketing, database mining, etc) and supplement but don’t necessarily replace other methods or techniques of providing marketing information.

There are some very useful, effective, and interesting applications of QR codes. In addition to providing a shortcut link to a website, they can be used as follows:

Personalized QR codes. Similar to Personalized URLs or “PURLs,” they can drive respondents to personalized landing pages where a few simple questions can provide the marketer company with useful data on likes, dislikes, etc to better qualify potential clients or customers. They can be used to provide items such as coupons and rebates to respondents.

They can be used to link to video such as YouTube, where product demos, instructional videos, etc can be seen.

Used by realtors on For Sale signs to provide complete property tours of the property listed

Used at concerts and entertainment events to order CDs, DVDs, shirts and hats, etc. from event posters and signage.

Current limitations include:

The rapidly growing but relatively small number of smart phone users in the U.S.

The relatively poor quality of built-in scanners on smart phones, requiring fairly large images to be properly read.

The need, if connecting to a website, to have sites that are optimized for mobile applications & the small viewing screens on phones.

The most important issue with the use of QR codes as well as any other marketing strategy is to properly plan out an entire strategy, from concept to creative to implementation to results reporting to follow-up. Too many attempt to incorporate a new technique based on its “buzzword” value without thinking through the entire planning process.

— Kaplan operates Sir Speedy Printing, 3100 Quakerbridge Road, Mercerville. 609-586-8222, www.sirspeedy.com/mercerville

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