QR codes play an increasingly important role in the B2C marketing world. According to one 2012 study, marketing use of QR code and barcode scans grew to 68% of the firms surveyed – up 15% from last year. That makes it the top mobile marketing tactic.
(SMS and text messaging is in second place, and its popularity dropped significantly from 2011.)
Another study found that 24% of U.S. consumers use QR codes. The article reporting this study makes that sound like some kind of disappointment. That’s the wrong way to look at it: QR codes are extremely popular among younger users who embrace mobile technology, and a 1-in-4 usage rate this early in the game isn’t disappointing at all.
Do QR codes have a role to play in B2B marketing, too? They absolutely do, and there are three reasons why:
- They’re a mobile-native marketing tool. QR codes aren’t just mobile-friendly. The actually don’t make a lot of sense unless you view them in a mobile context. Since we keep harping (with good reason) on the do-or-die nature of B2B mobile content marketing, that makes QR codes inherently interesting to B2B marketers.
- They create a powerful content marketing interface. QR codes do what very few other technologies can do: They create a flexible, easy to use interface between print/physical and online content. Whether you’re talking about print ads, business cards, trade show content or direct mail, QR codes make it easy to move your customers from print to online – and thus into your marketing automation environment.
- They’re flexible. URLs are also an interface between print and digital – they just stink at doing the job. They’re harder to use and inherently breakable, while QR codes are neither of those things.
I won’t go into detail here about how to use QR codes in your B2B content marketing strategy – that’s a different, and bigger, topic. Given that QR codes are relevant and useful, however, I will point out one problem that I see cropping up: QR landing pages that deliver disconnected, dead-end content.
Remember: A QR code landing page isn’t a destination. It’s a front door. Make sure your customers can open it and go somewhere interesting.