To QR or Not To QR: 3 Reason People Will Quit Responding to Quick Response Codes
OK marketers, let's talk. You've got to adopt the latest trends and technologies, I understand that. And you've got bosses too, and they want results, and that's fine. I get it. But this QR code thing has gotten way out of hand. Take this for example:
Why should I scan your banana? I don't want to scan your banana. Don't make me scan your banana.
Tech enthusiasts, direct marketers, printers, promotional product manufacturers and everyone else in the entire world is love with QR codes except me. My early adopter friends think I'm crazy, but I maintain that the barcodes are a flash in the pan, and there are three reasons why.
The first is just that: "why?" Why should I scan your code? When Esquire put a QR code on their December 2009 cover it was novel and everyone checked it out, but in 2012 the novelty is gone. No one is scanning unqualified codes. They're littered all over signs, ads, mailers and now my banana, but almost all of them are uninvited, and that oversaturation diminishes any weight they could carry.
Perhaps the biggest crime with QR codes is that most do not include any kind of call to action. They're just there, with no further information or incentive. It's marketing 101: define your value proposition to your customer. QR codes do the opposite, asking for your attention before providing you any reason to give it. They don't answer they question "why," the inspire it.
A second complaint, and one more relevant to promotional products, is aesthetic. Not only are QR codes ugly, but when it comes to imprinted products, they pose real problems. Because it is recommended that you print QR codes in black, you limit decoration options, and because the area needs to be relatively flat, you limit imprint areas. Further, because they have a size requirement (minimum recommendation is 1x1"), you reduce the available size of your client's logo. Mix it all together and you've got a headache on your hands.
Kyle A. Richardson is the editorial director of Promo Marketing. He joined the company in 2006 brings more than a decade of publishing, marketing and media experience to the magazine. If you see him, buy him a drink.