The Future of Promotion

The marriage of conventional advertising and the internet

QR CodeWho would have thought that 10 years ago you could take standard conventional media such as post cards, flyers, business cards, posters and transform them into a direct gateway to the internet, where users could interact with your business, receive special offers, RSVP and much more, all with the use of their smart phone.

This bridge from paper to the internet is made possible by the use of QR codes (Quick Response), Smart Phones and QR Code Scanner apps on said smart phones.

Since smart phones are steadily replacing standard cell phones and people browse the internet on smart phones we can see the obvious market developing.

While this market is slowly developing in the West it is in full force in the East. For example in Japan one can find QR codes nearly everywhere, on every possible piece of advertising.

What was once used solely for stock and shipment tracking has now become the cutting edge in advertising.

But what can you do with it?

The obvious utility of such a medium would be to offer discount coupons on your paper advertising, so when a person scans the code on the paper they will be sent to a custom URL (which you have thought out and had all the programming done before hand) This custom URL would have a very simple web page which would be friendly for all browsers. The page would have a simple form with an ‘email’ and ‘name’ field, and submit button. The user will then fill it out, press send, and then automatically receive at the inputted email address a coupon for whatever offer you are advertising.

As a bonus you can also put the user’s email in a database, and send them a coupon again in the future.

What else can you do with it?

If you’re thinking that ‘special offer’ coupons are boring and banal you are right, while this is the most commonly used method it is certainly not the most interesting and ‘attention-grabbing’.

What else can you do with them? That would be up to your imagination and creativity. Some companies have employed various techniques:

1)      RSVP for an event

2)      Receive some kind of valuable information by inputting email

3)      Connect instantly to a WIFI network

4)      Write a product review/feedback

5)      Link to Google Maps (so customer can have easy directions)

6)      Facebook / Twitter URL

How do you get one?

You’ll be pleased to know that there are free online QR code generators. Just plug in the URL that you want your visitor to go to and bam it will generate a QR code just for you. At which point you would download it to your hard drive and have your graphics person/company place it on your promo pieces.

What’s next?

Start brainstorming on how you can incorporate QR codes into your conventional advertising. Start off simple with using the coupon/special offer technique and take it from there. Once you have decided then contact your website manager so they can implement the programming required.

Further Reading

2-D Codes: The 10 Commandments for Marketers