In the past year, I've been reading more and more about how companies are testing and using barcodes in offline marketing campaigns. You can add these QR codes or barcodes to anything where you can place an image, so you have an endless amount of ways to add them to your marketing material. I created this image to the right by using qrstuff.com. After scanning, it will take you directly to our Facebook page (give it a try!). This last week I've noticed mentions in two local publications that allow the reader to scan a barcode, or QR code, with their smartphone to receive some "bonus" information.
The first was an article in BizTimes Milwaukee, in which they discussed how Marketing and PR firms are currently using this technology for themselves and clients. The article referenced the Stickybits reader (stickybits.com) which I've also recently seen featured in Sprouter's weekly email newsletter for a new startup company on the rise. BizTimes placed a barcode in their article (both magazine and also online) for the reader to scan. Upon scanning, the stickybits app opens up a Biztimes created video discussing the technology further to demonstrate how it could be utilized.
I also saw on the first page of my University of Wisconsin Oshokosh "ENGAGE" alumni newsletter a QR code. The article points the reader to beetagg.com to scan their QR barcode to receive "exclusive bonus content". I tried to scan it with Stickybits (just as a test) and it asked me to attach a comment or photo. This was sort of confusing so I instead quit the app and used a different app that I had on my phone called iCandy. This worked great! I was taken to a exclusive web page on the University web site that gave me some extra content from the printed version.
QR codes are popular in Asia and Europe but slower to take off in the U.S. I see that the trend is slowly changing this year and will continue to change more in the coming years as more marketers look to find new ways to track their marketing campaigns.
As smartphones and apps become the norm in the U.S., so will ways people can capture information on their phones in the offline world. By using a barcode reader on printed or digital advertising, marketers can then have a way to drive people to online web sites for more information, videos, and coupons that would not be possible to fit with a traditional ad campaign.
If you have any thoughts or experience how you've integrated barcodes into your marketing campaigns, we would love to hear your comments below.
Additional Articles and Resources on Barcodes and QR Codes
http://boothtag.com/ (BoothTag is a mobile game for tradeshows by Finn Digital and Exhibit Systems of Milwaukee)