Technology or marketing, “To be or not to be” can you answer this question as it relates to QR codes™? Let’s take a look at these data matrix bar codes and try to answer this question.

QR code™ stands for Quick Response and is also referred to as a Data Matrix barcode or 2 dimensional code that is readable by camera phones (if equipped with the proper software) and bar code readers. The QR code™ can be encoded with text information, URL or other data and was created by Denso-Wave in 1994 a subsidiary of Toyota for the sole purpose of decoding data at a high speed, typically parts tracking. Denso-Wave owns the patent to the technology and the trademark to QR Code™ but at this time has chosen not to exercise their rights to both.

Here is an example of a 2D code versus a bar code:


Let’s start with some of the technology behind these codes. Now I don’t think getting into the application layer and established de facto standards will add any value to this blog so we will skip to the code capacity and restrictions that pertain to your potential uses.

QR code data capacity
Numeric code only Max. 7,089 characters
Alphanumeric Max. 4,296 characters
Binary (8 bits) Max. 2,953 bytes
Kanji/Kana Max. 1,817 characters

The current applications for QR codes™ is limitless and include coins, grave markers to give more information for the mourners, libraries, printing where entire poetry books are a collection of codes, natural and historic points and believe it or not tattoos! Yes people are actually getting tattoos of their own personal QR code™ and linking it to their social media site such as Facebook.

To each their own but can you imagine if Denso-Wave exercises their patent rights WOW!

OK Terry can we get to automotive related information now! I hear you I just can’t seem to get the tattoo out of my head LOL. The main request we see for today’s car dealer is the desire to put a QR code™ on a vehicle window sticker. While technically this is fairly simple to do my question to those of you reading this blog is, “Where do you want the QR code™ to link or what information do you want it to display?” Do you only want it on your window sticker or on all forms of advertising?

Other industries that have been using these codes can give us answers. The real estate industry has been widely known for using and bringing the QR code™ to the forefront here in the U.S. as it relates to consumer marketing, and if we look at the success or failures they have had, we may learn what we will face in the automotive marketing segment.

I am the first to admit that as a vendor I have at times only looked at things from the vendor or dealer side and ignored the consumer side. With QR codes™ I have not and the reason is because I am in the process of searching for a new house and I see these codes daily. So as a consumer what do I think of QR code™ for real estate? I can tell you at first I thought it was great, we were not with our agent and happened by a house what a great way to get quick information to see if we wanted to add it to our list RIGHT? WRONG, after spending 10 minutes to find the application I wanted to download so my phone that would process the code, I scanned my first one and what most consumers don’t realize and I guess I did not think about it is once you scan that QR code™ you just gave them your cell phone number and here comes the calls and they are relentless! So while the idea of getting more information quickly is great as a consumer I will not be scanning any QR code™ in the future as my cell number is about the only form of communication I don’t get spammed on and I want to keep it that way. I would imagine other consumers will feel the same way.

There are numerous free QR Code™ builders a simple Google search will bring up sites like:
To each their own but can you imagine if Denso-Wave exercises their patent rights WOW!

OK Terry can we get to automotive related information now! I hear you I just can’t seem to get the tattoo out of my head LOL. The main request we see for today’s car dealer is the desire to put a QR code™ on a vehicle window sticker. While technically this is fairly simple to do my question to those of you reading this blog is, “Where do you want the QR code™ to link or what information do you want it to display?” Do you only want it on your window sticker or on all forms of advertising?

Other industries that have been using these codes can give us answers. The real estate industry has been widely known for using and bringing the QR code™ to the forefront here in the U.S. as it relates to consumer marketing, and if we look at the success or failures they have had, we may learn what we will face in the automotive marketing segment.

I am the first to admit that as a vendor I have at times only looked at things from the vendor or dealer side and ignored the consumer side. With QR codes™ I have not and the reason is because I am in the process of searching for a new house and I see these codes daily. So as a consumer what do I think of QR code™ for real estate? I can tell you at first I thought it was great, we were not with our agent and happened by a house what a great way to get quick information to see if we wanted to add it to our list RIGHT? WRONG, after spending 10 minutes to find the application I wanted to download so my phone that would process the code, I scanned my first one and what most consumers don’t realize and I guess I did not think about it is once you scan that QR code™ you just gave them your cell phone number and here comes the calls and they are relentless! So while the idea of getting more information quickly is great as a consumer I will not be scanning any QR code™ in the future as my cell number is about the only form of communication I don’t get spammed on and I want to keep it that way. I would imagine other consumers will feel the same way.

There are numerous free QR Code™ builders a simple Google search will bring up sites like:
www.qrcode.kaywa.com
www.dakno.com/qr
www.dakno.com/qr
www.pressero.com

I used Kaywa to build the code below in about 5 seconds! Does it work? Try it below!

If you have a Google account you can get analytics on your QR Codes™ which will be vital to your programs success.

I have seen numerous tweets and blogs regarding QR Codes™ and advising them as a must have part of your marketing plan but I have not read a blog on how to use these codes to increase sales, conversion or leads. While I am sure they are out there and I can think of a few ways myself I would be curious to hear how you are currently utilizing these codes and what kind of increases you are seeing?

So is it a Fad or Technology? Well it is both, the technology is there and for manufacturing and shipping applications it is great. While marketing has taken this technology and is pushing these codes at all angles it will be up to consumer reaction here in the U.S. to dictate its future in B2C marketing. The fact that vendors, consultants or dealers may think it is beneficial or a must have or not the final decision will be up to the consumer.

Your thoughts and input are truly requested and please share any success or experience you have had with QR codes™.

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