In the last couple of years you may have noticed QR codes (Quick Response codes) move their way into the mainstream of marketing, however it may surprise some to learn QR Codes were actually invented in Japan way back in the 1990s initially for use within automotive manufacturing. Following the arrival of mobile devices with inbuilt cameras and internet access, QR codes have been given a new occupation beyond their original perceived usefulness, gaining traction within B2C marketing in particular, as essentially scanable quick links for website pages.
So, should your organisation now be using QR codes to link to your online surveys and in your general marketing materials?
Well, right now at time of writing, the best answer would probably be perhaps, so long as you’re targeting a suitable audience and your expectations of their use are realistic. There is certainly a school of thought, that QR codes seem to be a box ticking exercise for many companies. Perhaps they see them on a competitors marketing materials and feel compelled to use one, indeed inventing a use for them, often a use which makes little or no sense.
A problem with QR codes is that to-date their readers have not been adopted as out-the-box technology in most mobile devices including the current crop of iPhones (at time of writing running iOS7). As such for many scanning a QR code isn’t as simple as just pointing your mobile device’s camera at the code and having the browser open up to the correct URL, its in fact a case of scrolling through your apps to find a QR code reader, selecting that, waiting for it to run and then finally pointing your device at the QR code and then waiting for the scanning process, and finally your browser to open and the intended web page to load…all that of course assuming the user has in advance downloaded a 3rd party QR code reader application.
While these convenience obstacles are in place I can only surmise that QR codes will be used in the main by those technology intrigued audiences, dedicated to using every one of their chosen mobile device’s features, and as such, listing a memorable domain name will surely for the immediate future remain the best way to help people arrive at your online survey.