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Market Research Report on QR codes

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Market 2816922

  1. 1. MARKETER’S PRIMER SERIESQR Codes: What You Need to Know © Heidi Tolliver-Nigro Q4 2010
  2. 2. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes TERMS AND CONDITIONSSingle-user License: The single-user license is designed for the useprimarily of one individual. It is not to be distributed to multiple individualsinside or outside an organization.Single-site Distribution License: Designed for single-site printers,marketers, and other producers and users of these technologies who want touse the report as an internal educational tool. The single-site distributionlicense entitles purchasers to internal distribution via print or Intranet toemployees for the purpose of education. This license does not grant thepurchaser permission to resell the report.Multi-site Distribution License: Designed for multi-site printers,marketers, and other producers and users of these technologies who want touse the report as an educational tool. The multi-site distribution licenseentitles companies with multiple sites to internal distribution via print orIntranet to employees for the purpose of education. This license does notgrant the purchaser permission to resell the report.Vendor and Association License: Vendor and association license entitlesvendors of hardware, software, and other technologies to distribution of thereport to their employees via print or Intranet for the purposes of educationor to distribute the report on a single-user basis to customers or members forthe purpose of education. If those customers and members wish to re-distribute the report within their organizations, they will need to purchasetheir own single-site or multi-site license. 2
  3. 3. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes TABLE OF CONTENTSIntroduction 5Section 1: How QR Codes Work 7 What’s in a Code? 8 Creating QR Codes 9 Reading QR Codes 9 Non QR “QR” Codes 10 Proprietary Codes 10Section 2: How QR Codes Work 13 Marketing Benefits of QR Codes 13 Drawbacks to QR Codes 14 No Excuses 16 QR Codes in Action (Try It Out) 16Section 3: Top QR Code Applications 17 Marketing Collateral 17 Billboards 18 Book Publishing 19 Ticketing and Couponing 19 Packaging 19 Posters and Advertising 20 Magazines and Newspapers 20 Point of Sale 21 Email 21 Business Cards and Corporate Identity 22 Television 22 Everything Else 23 3
  4. 4. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesSection 4: QR Code Case Studies 24 Letterbox Deals Direct Mailer 24 CrawfordTech E-Newsletter 25 Microsoft Tag in Publishing 26 Digiturk 26 Hurriyet 28 Get Married 28 Millmar Paper’s “Ball It Up” Challenge 29 “Stone Age Meats” (Bosch) 30 Other Examples From Around the Industry 31 Retail 31 Airlines 32 Books 32 Direct Sales 32 Film 32 Music 33 Sweepstakes and Prizes 33 Entertainment Promotion 33 Social Networking 33 Newspapers 34Section 5: Best Practices for QR Codes 35Section 6: Conclusions 39 Differentiate Between Marketing and Testing 40 For Further Reference 41About Heidi Tolliver-Nigro 43 4
  5. 5. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesINTRODUCTION You are starting to see them everywhere. They look like jigsaw puzzles, sometimes in color but most often in black-and-white. You see them in magazine advertisements, on posters and billboards, on business cards, and just about everywhere else. They are quick response (or QR) codes, sometimes called QRCs. They act as mobile shortcuts to websites, discount coupons, videos, and other content. Whether you are a marketer doing a sales promotion or a college student sending people to your Facebook page, what makes these codes so compelling is that they are an immediate response mechanism. If viewers see something they like (an advertisement, the front of your t-shirt), they simply snap a picture of the QR code with their cellphones. The phone is automatically directed to a Pepsi’s Maximillion campaign. Image source: webpage, video, discount, interlinkONE or other content. Static content suddenly turns into a dynamic, interactive medium. QR codes are particularly appealing in the world of marketing because they use the cellphone as the response mechanism.1 This way, they capture viewers’ interest at the very moment it is piqued. You don’t lose eyeballs by asking people to manually input URLs or scribble them down onto a piece of paper that might get lost. 1 They can use other readers, as well, such as webcams, but the focus is on cellphones. 5
  6. 6. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesIt is no wonder so many of today’s top brands are using QR codes. Theseinclude GMC, Ford, Google, Pepsi, Ralph Lauren, The Weather Channel,Best Buy, Chevrolet, Starbucks, Facebook, and countless more. • Section 1 looks at what QR codes are and their different flavors and varieties. • Section 2 looks at how QR codes affect marketing, both their benefits and their drawbacks. • Section 3 looks at QR code applications. Think you know how QR codes are used? From direct sales to music downloads to ticketing, the variety may surprise you. • Section 4 looks at a number of detailed case studies using QR codes. • Section 5 looks at the best practices for QR codes. • Section 6 draws final conclusions and provides references for more information.Welcome to “QR Codes: What You Need to Know,” part of the Marketer’sPrimer Series. 6
  7. 7. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesSECTION 1: HOW QR CODES WORK What are QR codes? “QR” (or quick response) codes are two-dimensional codes very similar to those you see printed on your mail or on products in the store. Instead of looking like a series of bars like postal and UPC codes, however, they are square and use a series of smaller squares or other patterns to create attractive puzzle-like images. QR codes can be “read” by many different types of devices, but the focus is on cellphones. Consumers simply snap a picture of the code and access a discount code, view a video, or are directed to a website where they can interact with the brand by doing things like shopping, viewing images or watching videos, playing games, or entering a sweepstakes. Image source: interlink ONE QR codes can even be created to send people to their own personalized URLs (for more on personalized URLs, see the companion primer “Personalized URLs: Beyond the Hype”). In their most basic form, these codes have been around for years. But their use for marketing has been growing the fastest in Europe and Japan. Now their use is now exploding in the United States. Mainstream software vendors like Fuse, interlinkONE, XMPie, Printable, MindFire, AmazingPrint have all added QR codes to their 1:1 printing, personalized URL, Web-to-print, and integrated marketing campaign solutions. 7
  8. 8. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesWhat’s in a code? Most QR codes are black-and-white, but they can be in color, too. QR codes can be massive in size (large enough to be hung on a billboard) or as small as 1.25 inches square.2 One neat feature is that they work even when the pattern is broken. This means that if the substrate is damaged (ripped, faded, or even if a piece is missing), they can often still be read. This also Source: allows marketers to include versions of their logos inside the code. Nearly all the applications being discussed today involve going to websites. But QR codes can store a lot of information in the codes themselves, too. They can store: • 7,089 numbers • 4,296 letters and numbers • 2,953 bytes (binary characters) This means, theoretically, they could store short newspaper articles, marketing copy, and other content that can be viewed without taking the viewer to a website. But you need to be careful. The more information the code contains, the more complex the code and the more difficult it will be for the phone to read (see examples below). Source: interlinkONE 2 There are also “micro-codes,” which have a very small footprint and were designed to encode small amounts of data, such as a serial number, but they are not the focus of this report. 8
  9. 9. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesCreating QR codes Creating a QR code is simple. There are a variety of QR code generators on the market. Among QR codes are them: designed to be • Kaywa QR Code Generator readable, even when a certain • Zing QR Code Generator percentage of • Nokia data loss. Some • QR Stuff can still be • Zxing read with 7% data loss, 15% To create the most basic codes, you simply go to data loss, or the site, input the URL to which you would like the code to point, and hit “generate code.” You’ll even 30%, get back a .png or .jpg image you save and insert depending on into your print or online materials. how the code is Yes, it’s that easy. set up. Using more complex software, you can also create personalized QR codes (say for generating personalized URLs); codes with embedded logos; or provide extremely detailed tracking and multi-channel integration capabilities. Some are even “smart codes” that can customize the content the viewer sees based on information (date, location, model of photo) being read. These are generally available through 1:1 print providers, integrated media, or marketing companies. For a more complete list of more specialized generators, visit the 2D code site ( code readers QR code readers are the software used to decode the QR code and launch the application. Some phones come with readers installed. Others require viewers to download them. Among the most popular readers are: • I-nigma • Neo Reader 9
  10. 10. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes • Blackberry reader • IMatrix • Kaywa Reader • QuickMark For a more complete list of readers, visit the 2D code site (http://2d- “QR” codes “QR” is a generic industry standard that can be produced by just about anyone. There are other standards, however, such as Datamatrix, which uses triangles rather than squares to create the pattern (see code left). Hypothetically, QR codes can be read by any of a variety of generic readers. In reality (as we see in the world of Internet browsing), some readers work better than others for different codes and on different phones. There are some heavy users of mobile applications who may have five or six code readers on their phones just in case. There are also readers (called “multi-code readers” that are designed to read multiple codes.Proprietary codes There are proprietary formats, as well. These include Microsoft Tag, BeeTagg, and ScanLife (although ScanLife is reportedly moving in the direction of QR codes). These require proprietary software to create and read. Because they don’t have to be all things to all people, proprietary codes work more reliably and predictably than QR codes. 10
  11. 11. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes Microsoft Tag is a four-color code that uses triangles rather than squares. These codes are said to be readable in lower light than other codes. Instead of using squares, BeeTaggs use elements that look like honeycombs. The center space allows companies to add logos and images without interfering with the code.There are also infinite variations of custom-created QR codes that may useanything from hearts to small photographs (see example below) to create the codes. There are a number of multi-code readers designed to read both proprietary and QR codes (such as those offered by ScanLife and BeeTagg). As with generic QR code readers, they do not work as reliably and predictably as proprietary-only readers. Example of a custom QR code. Image source: 11
  12. 12. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesDifferent codes have taken hold in different industries and different markets.For example, in the U.S., we see QR codes in advertising and marketingcollateral, while Datamatrix is often used for identification and serialization.The Aztec code is used for airline ticketing, and so on.This report will focus primarily on marketing and publishing applications,but it’s important to keep in mind that they are but one of many uses forthese codes. 12
  13. 13. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesSECTION 2: QR CODES IN MARKETING From a marketing perspective, what’s the big deal about QR codes? Why is their use literally exploding all around the world? Let’s take a look at just a few of the reasons.Marketing benefits of QR codes1. QR codes are free. In their most basic form, QR codes are free to generate and cost nothing extra to print. Just add them to your materials like any other image. Your printer or marketing firm may charge you a small fee to add thee codes, which usually comes with basic testing of the code’s functionality, but the actual generation of the code is free.2. QR codes provide an immediate response mechanism. As soon as an advertisement or marketing pitch catches their eye, consumers snap and view. There is no delay between the interest and the response. This eliminates the drop in response rates that comes when people are required to type in URLs by hand or write down information on a piece of paper. Think of this as the marketing equivalent of an impulse buy at the retail store.3. They capitalize on today’s mobile culture. Today’s cellphone has been described as today’s laptop. People’s entire lives are stored on their phones, from contacts to family photos. The cellphone is the one device that is with people all the time. A jogger is running in Central Park and sees a QR code on a billboard of interest. She stops, snaps the code, which is stored on her phone for later, and continues running. While at a friend’s backyard BBQ, a teen sees a new CD by his favorite band. By snapping the QR code on the back of the jewel case, he is instantly directed to a mobile version of the album where he can listen to audio clips, purchase tracks from the album, or buy tickets to the tour. He can even access links that automatically Tweet the information or post it on his Facebook account.4. They are highly trackable. Not only are QR codes trackable themselves, but they provide tracking for other types of media such as billboards or magazine advertisements that are 13
  14. 14. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes not otherwise trackable. Because QR codes can be set up to record the type of phone used to read the code, they also give you passalong information. With the proper back-end tracking, if five different people access the code, the advertiser will know it.5. They turn static media into interactive media. Print of any kind is a (mostly) a static medium. Adding QR codes creates an immediate, interactive experience. By adding QR codes to articles, newspapers can direct readers to additional video or images for feature stories. Celebrity magazines can provide readers with exclusive interviews with movie stars or other key personalities. Readers picking up the latest Harry Potter book could scan a QR code on the cover to find out when the movie will be released. One applications developer is working with restaurants to add QR codes to their children’s menus, allowing children to continue the game experience online. (Don’t worry, the restaurant is still giving out paper and crayons!)6. They get viewers actively involved with the brand. The ability to immediately respond to what they see gets people actively involved with a brand. QR codes can send people to blogs or other communities where they can take surveys or post feedback to articles, events, or images. Many codes offer the ability to immediately Tweet or post to Facebook pages, enabling the campaign to go viral.7. They make the content portable. Once the information is on the cellphone, it goes wherever the user goes. This has tremendous benefits for shopping, event tickets, coupons, and more.Drawbacks to QR codes There are drawbacks to QR codes, too, but many will diminish with time.1. Low level of market awareness Relatively few consumers, except for those already in marketing, publishing, or tech-savvy industries, are familiar with these codes. Gradually, awareness is growing, but the addition of QR codes to marketing and advertising materials is growing in advance of (and is a pre-requisite to) consumer awareness. 14
  15. 15. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes The good news is that it doesn’t cost anything to add basic QR codes. The more marketers begin adding QR codes, the more people will begin asking questions about them and begin to use them.2. QR code reader installation Not all cellphones come preinstalled with QR code readers. The first time a person snaps a code, he might have to take the extra step of downloading the QR code reader. Whether he does depends on the value of the information to him. A case study out of Australia suggests that, if the deal is sweet enough, people will do just that. LetterBox Deals, a catalog company, enticed recipients of a direct mail piece to enter a sweepstakes for a new computer using a QR code. Sixty-percent of people responding to the offer downloaded the reader in order to participate in the offer. Whether people will download a reader in order to view an ad is another question.3. Lack of standardization in mobile phones It’s been said that understanding your QR code audience means understanding their phones. That’s because it’s not just who is operating the phone, but what the phone can and cannot do. Different phones have different screen sizes, screen formats, and different browsing and viewing capabilities. Your mobile content will not always be viewed the same way through every phone. Furthermore, not all readers work well with all codes and all phones. There is a lack of standardization that leads to some inconsistency in readability. Hence the value of proprietary formats, although this does require people to have multiple readers on their phones.4. Need for mobile websites Although today’s larger screen sizes and better browsing capabilities make it easier for people to surf even non-mobile sites, a best practice is to develop mobile-specific content for mobile marketing campaigns. Even with the best phones, mobile sites make it faster and easier to navigate them. So while it may be free to add a QR code to your promotional piece, you may want to point these codes to mobile-specific landing pages to maximize readability. If you aren’t already optimizing for mobile content, this adds another layer to the campaign. 15
  16. 16. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes4. Low level data plan usage In order for users to access the pages to which the codes point, they must have a data plan on their phones. While the percentage of cellphone users with data plans is growing, it’s not yet mainstream.No excuses None of these drawbacks are to suggest that QR codes should not be used or are not ready to be used as part of a well-planned marketing campaign. They are simply factors that should be taken into consideration in your planning. Especially if you want to reach a broad audience, for example, you don’t want a QR code to be the only way to respond. But certainly incorporate it into your overall marketing strategy where it makes sense. Try QR Codes — In Action! For a terrific example of QR codes in action, see this example by author Nick Bilton. If you were to scan the QR code in Nick Bilton’s new book, I Live in the Future and Here’s How It Works, this is what the mobile landing page will look like and what it will say (this example uses Beetag format): As you watch it, imagine how and why this is appropriate to a mobile audience. • They don’t have to read anything. • They can see examples of the book’s main points in action. • They get Nick’s key selling points succinctly, in a format they can absorb quickly and easily in a cab, in a colleague’s office, or the bookstore. This example demonstrates the best of what QR codes are about. 16
  17. 17. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesSECTION 3: TOP QR CODE APPLICATIONS How can QR codes be used? What are the most common and successful applications? Since QR codes are, for the most part, shortcuts to websites, asking this question is a bit like asking how the Internet itself is being used. They are so versatile that it’s difficult to categorize them. Still, let’s try. We’ll list them here, then go into more detail with case studies in the next section.Marketing collateral QR codes provide an immediate response and tracking mechanism for all types of printed media, from marketing collateral to billboards. Marketers are sending recipients to specific offers, sweepstakes, or coupons. Real estate agents are adding QR codes to direct mailers and “for sale” signs, sending prospects to pages with mobile-optimized videos and 360-degree views of key properties. Image source interlink ONE 17
  18. 18. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesBillboards We are seeing more and more QR codes on billboards these days. In the example below, someone interested in renting space in the building can click the QR code to go to the realtor’s or builder’s site to view specifications, pricing, and other information. In retail applications (below), a viewer might be taken to a site displaying the full product line, including sizes, styles, and colors. Even discounts. Because these codes can be tracked, the marketer can determine which billboards in which locations are the most successful by which QR codes are used to access them. Image source: interlinkONE 18
  19. 19. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes Book publishing Publishers are adding QR codes to book jackets, sending readers to interviews, videos, reader communities, and other content that supports the book. HarperCollins, for example, has added QR codes to its teen releases L.A. Candy and The Amanda Project. In the case of L.A. Candy, the code allows users to watch a video, read a portion of the book, share it with a friend, or buy the book. The idea of QR codes is also To view a video on Editoras’ Living creating experimentation with new Book made 100% from QR codes, just product lines. One marketer, snap the code! Don’t have a QR code Editoras, for example, created an reader or mobile Internet access? Use entire book out of QR codes, with this link: content that updates on a daily basis based on content drawn from Twitter. Every time the reader scans the codes on the book’s pages, different content is displayed.Ticketing and couponing No more lost tickets or coupons. Just show the discount code or coupon on your phone.Packaging A teenager trying to decide whether or not to purchase the latest video game might snap the QR code on the packaging to see a video of the game in action. A mother buying a new brand of rice might snap the code for an intriguing new recipe. Or a product requiring installation might include a QR code taking buyers to a “how to” video. Imagine how that would reduce calls to tech support! Image source: interlink ONE 19
  20. 20. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesPosters and advertising In the movie industry, for example, QR codes are being added to posters, magazine ads, and other promotional materials to send viewers to video clips or other interactive media that promote the film. Not only can people see an ad for the latest film, but if they snap the QR code, they can view the trailer, too. In 2008, in advance of the U.S. Open, Ralph Lauren used QR codes to send people to websites promote its tennis merchandise at the peak of their interest. For real estate, codes can be used to provide more information on the home, office, or land. Even launch 3D tours.Magazine and newspaperpublishing QR codes provide an immediate response mechanism for magazine advertising. They also provide an excellent tracking mechanism for proving, not just that people are viewing the ads, but that they are Image source: interlink ONE responding to them. 20
  21. 21. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes QR codes can also provide an interactive experience not possible with print. Entertainment Weekly, for example, recently added Microsoft Tags to its Summer Movie Edition to allow readers to view trailers for 16 featured films. Codes directed readers to YouTube videos of movies like Sex and the City 2 and Ironman 2. QR codes are also giving media companies another source of revenue. The codes send readers to additional content online, but before the content plays, the viewer is exposed to an advertising trailer. This gives magazines yet another revenue stream. (See Digiturk case study.) Publishers can link readers to additional editorial coverage, such as images, articles, or videos, creating additional value to the print publication.Point of sale QR codes added to the point of sale can take viewers to immediate product information. Prices, styles, additional colors or options can be accessed instantly. In one example, provided by Tappinn the QR Code Galaxy, shows a QR code in use by Spazio 24 at a jewelry show. The code to your left takes you to a YouTube video where the reporter shows the QR code used in a POP display in the jeweler’s case. The reporter snaps the code, which takes him to the jeweler’s website with the full product line and pricing. Watching the video shows just how powerful these applications can be. Non-QR-code enabled readers can use this link: QR codes are not just for print. Case studies regularly show that, even when people are sitting in front of their computers, they will snap a QR code with their cellphones. This allows marketers to use QR codes as a direct response mechanism for e-newsletters, direct e-mail marketing, and more. 21
  22. 22. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes Business cards and corporate identity QR codes can be used to hold contact information and make great additions to business cards and corporate identity materials. Image source (above and below): interlink ONE The viewer snaps thecode and the marketer’s contact information (name, address, phonenumbers, URLs, Twitter ID, and more) is automatically added to thephone’s contact database. Similar concepts can be applied to name tags forindustry conferences and events. Television Yes, television. The code at left was designed to run in a television ad promoting season three of True Blood. The ad was a 30-second spot that aired during ABC’s last episode of Lost. The code only showed briefly because the campaign was intended to make use of DVR devices like TIVO, which allow viewers to freeze the commercial so they could scan the code. 22
  23. 23. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesEverything else Really, the applications are endless. Scan QR codes on train or plane tickets to check flights and departures. Add them to travel brochures so travelers can see the inside of hotel rooms, accommodations, get walking maps, or see attractions. There is even a Japanese company creating tombstones with QR cavities that open to reveal a QR code that, when snapped, takes you to photos of the deceased during happier times to help family and friends remember.For “101 Uses of QR Codes,” check out the blog post through the QR code atleft. If that doesn’t get your creative juices moving, not much will!(If you cannot snap this code, log into 23
  24. 24. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesSECTION 4: QR CODE CASE STUDIES If you do an online search for “QR code case studies,” you’ll find a lot of examples of how marketers, including large brand marketers, are using QR codes. But these aren’t really case studies in the sense that they don’t provide the kind of detail (or metrics) that allow someone to really understand how these campaigns work or how successful they are. In this section, we’ll look at a few true case studies using QR codes, along with conclusions that can be drawn from them. Then we’ll provide a list of some of many additional examples available that illustrate how these codes are being used well.Letterbox Deals Direct Mailer Image source: Insqribe This case study comes from the blog of Insqribe, a real-time analytics platform. One of its clients, Letterbox Deals, a premium quality coupon catalog, used QR codes to launch its first print catalog in the Sydney, Australia, market. The campaign objective was to build awareness of the Letterbox Deals brand by giving away Dell notebook computers. Recipients had the opportunity to enter a competition either by website or QR code. The results? 24
  25. 25. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes • 21.3 million households received Letterbox Deals catalog • Thousands of competition entries were received (the actual number was not disclosed) • 25% of entries were submitted via the QR code • 60% of consumers downloaded the QR code reader (via the Insqribe service) in order to enter • High percentage of the QR code scans occurred within people’s homes Because 60% of entrants downloaded a QR reader in order to enter the campaign, Insqribe suggests that not having a reader pre-installed on the device is necessarily a big barrier to QR code use. It must be remembered, however, that this campaign had a strong incentive — the chance to win a computer. QR codes used on most marketing collateral will not offer such an incentive. It is interesting that one-quarter of competition entries came from people from scanning their QR codes at home, where they could easily have used a home computer. This tells us that, even when a computer is available, people will still snap QR codes on their phones. Why? Is it immediacy? Convenience? They just like using their phones? Whatever it is, this trend has been confirmed by other campaigns.Crawford Technologies E-Newsletter CrawfordTech works with large companies to reduce process costs associated with delivering bills, statements, and other mission-critical transactional communications. Part of CrawfordTech’s brand positioning is its understanding of the technology and business implications of information management. For this reason, it wanted to educate its customers on the use of QR codes and to encourage them to incorporate QR codes into their print production. It also wanted to test the readiness of the U.S. market for QR codes. To do this, it discussed QR codes in the March 2010 issue of its digital newsletter, Crawford Courier. It discussed QR codes in the content of newsletter and incorporated a QR code on the first page. The code took respondents to an online form pre-populated with their contact information that they could update, if necessary. They could also click through a link to find out more about QR codes. 25
  26. 26. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes A total of 14.2% of recipients scanned the QR code and 9% responded to the company’s request to provide information. The QR code application also allowed Crawford Technologies to update the records of thousands of clients and partners at a minimal cost. One of the lessons the company took from the campaign was that, not only is the U.S. market ready for QR codes, but because this was a B2B application, it was most likely being read in recipients’ offices. In other words, once again, people were willing to scan these codes even when they were sitting right in front of their computers! On a related note, this leads to the observation about the success of QR codes for email. In case study after case study, we see people willing to scan QR codes, even when in front of a computer screen.Microsoft Tag inPublishing Following are four short case studies provided by Microsoft Tag. What is interesting is how they each show off a different benefit to publishers.Digiturk Digiturk provides television, radio, and interactive digital music programming to millions of customers around the world. Its monthly media and entertainment guide, Digiturk, reaches 2.5 million subscribers and regularly exceeds 300,000 copies in sales. Digiturk contains information about the company’s media and entertainment offerings. These include foreign programs, movies, documentaries, and family entertainment. To connect its magazine with these products, Digiturk adopted Microsoft Tag. 26
  27. 27. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes Starting in 2009, Digiturk began using Tag to deliver trailers of its programming to the magazine’s readers. This accomplishes two things: 1) It provides an interactive experience for Digiturk’s readers. 2) Before the trailers play, Digiturk shows its advertisers’ commercials. This makes the publication more attractive to advertisers and helps the publisher generate additional revenue. Future plans include using Tag to deliver privileged and exclusive services to VIP customers.Hurriyet Hurriyet, a Turkish newspaper, began including Tag in its pages to lure younger readers. It added Tag to its editorial during the final half of 2009, giving readers the ability to access additional editorial content such as online photo albums and videos related to news stories. It also allows them to interact with the publication by taking part instantly in digital surveys and commenting on news articles. 27
  28. 28. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesPAGINE Si! In October 2009, PAGINE Si! became the first company to use Microsoft Tag systematically in a yellow pages directory and to integrate Tag into an advertising package. Initially, PAGINE Si! targeted the companies that were already represented in its phone directories. It began offering premium ad packages that feature Tag. Whether or not advertisers already have a Web Site, PAGINE Si! provides those who purchase Tag-based listings with a mobile Internet landing page that links directory users to additional information, offers, discounts, and coupons.Get Married As part of a new approach to wedding planning, U.S.-based Get Married Media is integrating its expertise and proficiency in TV and Internet production with a new print publication, Get Married magazine. With Tag, Get Married enables brides to connect instantly to videos, websites, photos, and information by using their mobile phones. Throughout Get Married magazine, select editorial content and advertisements are accompanied by Tag. Brides can scan any Tag and their phones are immediately linked to interactive content. To increase the likelihood that readers will see and interact with Tags, for its first issue (which launched in October 2009), the magazine offered free Tag placements to advertisers on full- and half-page ads. 28
  29. 29. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesMillmar Paper’s “Ball It Up” Challenge Millmar Paper introduced a new cover sheet, Xtreme Coated Cover, designed for printing on digital presses. Because toner (especially heavy coverage of toner) can crack when the paper is folded, Millmar considered this stock a game-changer because it doesnt crack under pressure. Millmar knew that the best way to get the message across is for people to experience this for themselves. But how? Millmar came up with the “Ball It Up Challenge.” It added a QR code to an insert for The Canvas magazine (a publication for print sales reps), an event poster, and to its e-newsletter. The headline read, “Challenge your clients to a game of 1-on-1!” It encouraged people to snap the QR code, which took them to a landing page discussing the product and gave them an opportunity to request free sheets of Xtreme Coated to “ball it up.” Those entering the “challenge” were sent five 6x9 cards printed on 8-pt. extreme coated cover. The cover design looked 29
  30. 30. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes like a basketball printed with, “Ball It UP!” Recipients were then invited to ball up the sheet and play hoops. When finished, the print-outs asked the player to unball the paper and see that it had not cracked on the fold. Those without QR code readers were provided with a link to download one. This not only made it easy for not-yet-QR-enabled readers to play the game, but also for the company to track how many people were willing to download the reader in order to participate. In addition to the fun of taking the challenge itself, respondents were entered into a drawing for a $100 American Express Gift Card. Separate QR codes allow the company to track where the hits are coming from and to track each medium separately. On the The Canvas campaign alone, Millmar Paper got a 9% response rate (percentage of people scanning the code who requested samples), and the data again showed preference for mobile over desktop computers. Only 31% of respondents typed in the URL to the campaign manually on a desktop computer. Between 65% - 69% of respondents used their mobile phones to scan the QR code in order to enter.Bosch’s “Stone Age Meats” This campaign by DDB Berlin is designed to promote Bosch’s new VitaFresh refrigeration, which keeps vegetables, fish and meat fresh for “extremely long periods.” Image source: 2d code 30
  31. 31. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes As part of the campaign, Bosch created “food dummies” with tasty dinosaur legs, mammoth steaks, and even Sabre Tooth Tiger filets (complete with tusks). The food dummies were placed in the freezer departments of six grocery stores throughout Germany for six days and were promoted in store flyers and even over the store PA systems. On the new refrigeration packaging were adhered stickers with outlines of the “Stone Age” animals from which the “cuts” were taken and a QR code for more information. Surprised and curious shoppers examined the packaging and many snapped the QR codes, which resolved to the Bosch corporate site and provided more information on the packaging. According to DDB, the campaign resulted in 75,000 contacts in six days. Analysts at the 2d Codes site criticized the campaign for violating all the rules of QR codes — it resolved to a non-mobile site, the site was dull, and there was nothing interactive or intriguing about the content. But here’s the funny thing. The results of the campaign were announced in late June 2010. By the first week of July (the week this report was first released), the YouTube video had nearly 20,000 hits and discussion of the campaign was tearing up the blogosphere. Perhaps DDB knew what it was doing after all. (View the campaign — above.)Other examples around the industry Let’s do a quick scan of other applications from a variety of vertical markets. Retail: Dick’s Sporting Goods promoted its new mobile site (“Dicks Has Gone Mobile!”) with a QR code displayed on the jumbotron in the new Cowboys Stadium. Ralph Lauren used QR codes to invite visitors to the U.S. Open tennis tournament to shop for U.S.-Open-inspired tennis apparel during the U.S. Open. 31
  32. 32. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesAirlines: Continental Airlines allows travelers to check in with a QR codedboarding pass — just scan the code. No lines or paper necessary.Books: Editoras created a “living book” of QR codes from Twitter usersrelating to the terms “love” and “hate.” Each week, the static QR codespoint to a different quote (a basic programming adjustment for Editoras),creating endless content in the same book.Direct Sales: Starbucks lets customers pay with their Starbucks card using aQR code displayed on their iPhone. The code doesn’t hold credit cardinformation; it just stores their Starbucks card number.Restaurant: In Japan, McDonalds is adding QR codes that link up withnutritional information. Want to know the calorie count on that burger?Guilt is just a snap away. Many restaurants are also adding QR codes towindow decals that allow passersby to view their menus. Image source: interlinkONEFilm: When the Tri Star pictures “District 9” and Tim Burton’s “9” werereleased, consumers were able to scan QR codes on movie posters andmagazine advertisements to see exclusive clips from the movies,commentary from the directors, and link to the films’ websites. 32
  33. 33. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesMusic: When Green Day released its new album, “21st CenturyBreakdown,” the band used QR codes in magazine ads, posters, stickers, andother locations to direct users to a mobile site where they could downloadexclusive image and videos.Sweepstakes and Prizes: Pepsi used QR codes to market its Pepsi Maxusing online games and sweepstakes.Entertainment Promotion: Atlantis, Paradise Island resort in the Bahamasused QR codes on its advertising posters. The QR code takes viewers to theAtlantis website and a user agent detection device directs mobile devices toa video on YouTube for mobile. (See p. 35 for image.)Social Networking: YouTube is now using QR codes to enable viralsharing. If you access the mobile YouTube site through an iPhone orAndroid, you can generate a QR code that embeds a link to the video so thatyou can share it, bookmark it, or embed the code on your blog or Twitteraccount. Mozille has reportedly begun to offer an add-on for its Firefoxbrowser to generate QR codes, as well.Image source: interlink ONE 33
  34. 34. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesNewspapers: TIAA-CRAF used a QR code in a New York Times ad withthe headline, “Is your financial relationship suffering from a lack ofcommunication?” It was marketing its ability to tailor how it deliversinformation the way its customers want to view it — including QR code. This advertisement appeared in the October 8, 2009 edition of the New York Times. Image source: interlinkONE 34
  35. 35. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesSection 5: Best Practices for QR Codes Like any marketing technology or application, QR codes work best when certain best practices are followed. Let’s look at a few of them.1. Optimize for mobile sites Because people will be snapping these codes with mobile cameras, you may want to make sure the content to which you are driving them is optimized for mobile viewing. Mobile phones will vary in characteristics such as screen size, screen format, ability to support client side scripting, and the ability to support various image formats. It’s true that many of today’s newer phones make viewing traditional websites easier than ever, but not everyone has one of these phones. Not everyone has a data-heavy Internet plan, either.2. Make the codes easy to read Although QR codes can still function with some data loss, you want to increase your chances of readability. Here are some tips. 1. Keep the URLs simple. BeeTagg recommends keeping them 60 characters or less. One way to do this is to use URL shortening like TinyURL. Image source: 2d code 35
  36. 36. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes 2. Stick with black-and-white. If you are going to use color, use a high-contrast color like dark red or dark purple. Low-contrast colors will reduce readability. If the URL is less than 25 characters, it can be too simple and, again, reduce readability. Some experts recommend using all caps. This makes the code easier to read. If you’re going to be placing QR codes in permanent locations, think about things like reflections or shadows that might impact the camera’s ability to read the code. For the same reason, glossy stock for direct mail and other print should be avoided. 3. Keep a white border around the code. This reduces interference with other elements around it. It is not necessary with BeeTaggs, as long as you keep the black border.3. Test, test, test Treat QR codes like Web pages. Test them before deploying them, and test them on a variety of readers and with a variety of quality phones. Newer, more highly featured phones can handle a lot more than less expensive phones sold by discount retailers. So use both newer and older, less fully featured phones when testing readability.4. Make the QR code worth decoding Why are people going to the code? Make it worth decoding. Provide deep content. Sweepstakes. Coupons. Music. If you are selling something, send people to review sites. Fan pages. Make it worth their time. One large marketer used a QR code on its newspaper advertisement, only to send people to a dry, technical site that few — if any — people really want to read. “These [pages] are about as exciting as watching paint dry,” the commentator wrote. “Where is the engagement? Where is the climate change and energy supply game/quiz with prizes, for example? If someone has gone to the trouble of decoding your QR code, the last thing they want to see is bland content. Instead, give them something valuable.”3 Ford was similarly criticized for its attempt in The India Times and other publications to promote its new Figo hatchback with an ad sporting a QR 3 36
  37. 37. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes code. The process of launching the reader and reading the code was cumbersome (as attested by the YouTube videos, which were admittedly painful to watch.) Even for those persistent enough to get the code to work, the pay-off was meager. The code sent them to a video clip they could have seen on television. Especially if the user had to pay data charges to view it, bloggers argued that experience was more likely to spark anger than engagement. It’s true, Ford could have sent people to online reviews, its Figo Facebook fan page, or even its Twitter account and probably been more interacting and compelling. This drives home the point that valuable doesn’t need to be interactive or even monetary. It just has to be relevant to the target audience. A wine store might add QR codes on shelf talkers next to key wines, for example. You might see a QR code beside your favorite Merlot, scan it, and it will take you to several recipes that complement the wine. It might even take you to a page that has a $1.00 off coupon for the meat in the recipe. (Of course, you need to make sure any third-party participants have image scanners.)5. Use the code well As in the example above, not only should the code be worth decoding, but it should serve a specific purpose. It should be well matched to the goals of the campaign and meet the needs of its intended audience. In other words, the addition of QR codes to business cards and corporate identity materials can be fairly straightforward, but when QR codes are used for marketing, it needs to become much more strategic. • What is the code intended to accomplish? Curiosity? Convenience? Interactivity? To make products relevant to a younger audience? • What is the intent on the back end? To gather information? Conduct a survey? Get the person to interact with the brand through a game or sweepstakes? Get them to buy? Provide additional value? • Who is the audience for the code? A specific demographic? If so, what content are they most likely to respond to? How do they want to interact with the code? Is a discount sufficient? Does there need to be some kind of interactivity? • Is the campaign intended to go viral? If so, what components are necessary to accomplish that? 37
  38. 38. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes The more you understand your target audience and what motivates them, the better you’ll do with QR codes. (Witness the terrific use of QR codes by Nick Bilton in the example on p. 16 of this report.)6. Include multiple paths to response When you are getting into QR codes, it’s tempting to focus on the code not just as the primary response mechanism, but the only response mechanism. It’s important to remember that there may be people who would respond to the campaign . . . just not with the code. Sure, you want people to use the codes. That’s the point. But if you can bring in another 5%, 10% response (or more) by adding another response mechanism, why not do so? This may not be appropriate for all campaigns, but where it makes sense, add additional response mechanisms. A GenX might respond by QR code, but a retiree may not. By including multiple paths to response, you will likely draw more responses. This includes adding a short URL to the same landing page (or non-mobile version of the landing page) or enabling people to send a text message to retrieve desired information, such as coupon codes. After all, it’s not about getting people to respond to a QR campaign. It’s about getting them to respond to the campaign period.7. Include instructions for using the code. This isn’t going to be appropriate for all campaigns, of course, but when appropriate, you may want to include short instructions for using the code and downloading a reader if necessary. Part of success with QR codes is user education. You can’t just expect the not-yet-QR-code initiated to figure all this out on their own. 38
  39. 39. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D CodesSECTION 6: CONCLUSIONS Where do QR codes fit into a marketer’s toolbox? How are they best to be used? This starts with understanding your audience, what motivates them, and your campaign goal. In today’s world, it’s all about spontaneity, instantaneous gratification, mobility, and interactivity. It’s easy to envision a world in which all marketing and corporate identity materials and packaging include QR codes by default just as they include URLs, email addresses, and Twitter IDs. Imagine a world in which consumers routinely snap the information on the way out the door to work. Grab a breakfast bar and snap a code for the road. Today, however, especially when it comes to marketing campaigns, QR codes are still finding their place. Other than anyone with an Internet-enabled phone, it’s impossible to define “the target audience” for QR codes. The audience currently is limited due to marketplace awareness, but the more QR codes are used, the greater awareness will grow and the wider the audience will become. QR codes are already everywhere. Expect critical user mass to arrive quickly. The younger the audience and the more non-essential the product, the more we see QR codes resolving to sites with games and interactivity. They become a conduit to mobile entertainment—brand building by Image source: interlinkONE exposure and association. 39
  40. 40. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes For older, more professional audiences, we see more practicality, convenience, and interactivity that often serves a more utilitarian purpose. This might be viewing additional photos in a magazine article, accessing coupons while standing in the aisle at the grocery store, or taking an immediate visual tour of a piece of real estate.Differentiate between marketing and testing In these early years as QR codes get established for marketing, QR codes can also be their own draw. Marketers are adding QR codes and inviting consumers to snap them simply to find out how open consumers are to Image source: interlinkONE the concept. People will often snap them just to see what they will do. Just like the marketers, they are learning. But that curiosity-driven experimentation won’t last forever. There is a lot of QR code testing going on right now, so it’s important to differentiate between true QR code campaigns — marketing campaigns designed to capitalize on the lasting benefits of these codes — and campaigns designed to test the waters and capitalize on their newness. What are examples of campaigns capitalizing on newness? Bulletin boards with nothing but QR codes. Editoras’ all-QR-code book. QR codes in emails that are interchangeable with hyperlinks. Also Bosch’s Stone Age Meats. Although the Bosch campaign was unique and entertaining in its own right, the fact that the QR code resolved to nothing of particular value to the viewer suggests that the QR code itself 40
  41. 41. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes was the draw. But the QR code created a hook for bloggers and industry watchers that certainly is giving the campaign viral traction it would not have otherwise had. Examples of campaigns utilizing the full benefits of QR codes? Music CD cases with QR codes that take consumers to websites where they can listen to audio clips and purchase music. Travel brochures and real estate billboards that take viewers to visual tours. These campaigns capture users at the spontaneous moment of their interest and allow them to immediately engage with the product in a meaningful way — something that might not have occurred if the viewer had to wait until later. There are also times for games, sweepstakes, and interactivity. It’s about the campaign, the demographic, and the marketing goal. QR codes simply give marketers one more tool in the arsenal.For further reference For more examples of all of the applications covered by the Marketer’s Primer Series (digital, 1:1, personalized URL, Web-to-print, green printing) in action, check out the following resources and information portals. 20 Interesting Things: QR codes. Great gallery of QR code campaigns. 101 Uses for QR Codes. Terrific blog entry that will spur your creative juices! 2D Codes for Global Media. LinkedIn group dedicated to technology and marketing of QR and other 2D codes. 2D Codes website. All codes, all the time. Great blogs, YouTube videos, and commentary. DMX Direct: Letterbox Deals Case Study. Print’s New Role Using QR Codes. Downloadable PDF white paper from Warbasse Design. Using_QR_Codes_APALA.pdf QR Codes: Introduction and Case Studies from Global Thinking. Scanbuy. Collection of press releases gives a wide array of examples of cutting-edge QR uses. 41
  42. 42. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes Smart QR Codes White Paper. From Enfosmith. Tappinn the QR Code Galaxy Facebook page. Understanding QR Codes — blog post by e-business consultant Mark Sprague. More technical detail than most discussions. Using QR Codes to Reach the Busy, Mobile Consumer from interlinkONE. White papers and case studies for Microsoft Tag. this report for employee and customer training! Did you know that you can license the content of this and other Marketer’s Primer reports for distribution in employee training? By purchasing a distribution license, you can distribute the content of this report internally (both print and electronically) for your sales and marketing teams, your CSRs, and other training and education efforts. For more information, visit the Digital Printing Reports website at this report? Check out the following related reports: “Marketing Primer Series: Digital Printing”: Digital printing is more than outputting short-run documents on a digital press. It has profound implications for the document management and marketing models of businesses of all sizes. A look at the technology, applications, and business model changes supported or impacted by this technology. Marketing Primer Series: “1:1 (Personalized) Printing: Boosting Profits Through Relevance”: Today’s digital printing technologies enable print to be personalized to every recipient, much the same way Internet “cookies” enable Web pages to be personalized to every shopper. This report looks at the best practices of this marketing approach, a plethora of examples of the various types of personalized printing, and factors critical to success. 42
  43. 43. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codes “Personalized URLs: Beyond the Hype”: There is a lot of hype surrounding Personalized URLs these days, but once we move beyond the hype, what makes these applications tick? What are the best practices that marketers should embrace? This report analyze the dynamics of this marketplace, with conclusions drawn from real-life case studies from the earliest days to the present, and provides a no-nonsense look at the real deal behind these popular applications. “Marketing Primer Series: Web-to-Print”: Like digital printing, Web-to- print does more than take print ordering online. It facilitates fundamental changes in document management and marketing that can radically change business and marketing models. In addition to production efficiencies, Web- to-print facilitates closer relationships with customers and the ability to customize and personalize documents faster than previously thought possible. “Greening Print Marketing: A Practical Guide”: Web-to-print does more than take print ordering online. It facilitates fundamental changes in document management and marketing that can radically change business and marketing models. In addition to production efficiencies, Web-to-print facilitates closer relationships with customers and the ability to customize and personalize documents faster than previously thought possible. Heidi Tolliver-Nigro Heidi Tolliver-Nigro has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. Her industry commentary can regularly be found on What They Thinks Digital Nirvana and in top industry publications. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. Her Marketers Primer series is well respected for its comprehensive, authoritative, and forward-looking approach to critical industry topics. Heidi was also one the faces of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) before its closure in 2007. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she wrote countless reports on digital 43
  44. 44. Marketer’s Primer Series: QR Codes & Other 2D Codesprinting, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and otherhot industry applications.Heidi Tolliver-Nigro is currently a paid blogger for The Inspired Economist andWausau Papers DigitalSpace on “green” topics related to print marketing. She isa long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which shewrites two monthly columns: “Personal Effects,” which features monthly analysisof 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies, and “Creative Connection,” as well asa regular contributor to The Seybold Report and Graphic Arts Magazine on topicsrelated to digital and 1:1 printing and leading-edge technologies like QR codes.She is also the editorial director and copywriter for Great Reach Communications1:1 Market Builder program, which offers newsletters, e-grams, 1:1 postcards,and other marketing tools for printers.Heidi Tolliver-Nigro is the author of three titles for theNational Association of Printing Leadership:Designers Printing Companion, Ink & Color: APrinters Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-AddedServices.As a small, niche publisher (Strong TowerPublishing), she is also active in utilizing thesetechnologies in her own business. 44