Digital Lab, an initiative created and offered by BBDO Worldwide and Proximity Worldwide, recently presented a paper titled QR Codes - A Point of View and, as informative and insightful as the paper is, there is one item mentioned in the paper, which I believe merits greater attention and discussion.
The paper states that there are a number of companies currently experimenting with QR Codes, but I ask, are they really? Are companies really "experimenting" with QR Codes, or 2D technology in general, when all they do is place a code in a print advertisement as a mere after thought, or for only one occurrence at a time, or in only one advertising channel at a time, or when the code resolve does not function properly, or when the code resolve does not change from one advertisement to another, etc? Yes, the number of QR/2D-based advertising campaigns are increasing from one month to the next, which is terrific for the industry, but are these campaigns being experimented with to the same level of vigor and sophistication as other marketing mediums (e.g., web home pages, landing pages, banner ads, emails, direct mail packages, telemarketing scripts, etc.)? From my vantage point the answer is no, and I wonder if this might lead to a slower adoption of the technology by advertisers.
Without proper and thorough experimentation of QR/2D codes, I believe it becomes too easy for a marketing or creative executive/team to blame the code itself, or the technology as a whole, for low scan rates or for a campaign's overall poor performance when, in reality, it could be any other creative or tactical element found in the campaign (e.g., headline, body copy, offer, call to action, image, layout, placement, etc.). And, if that's the case, advertisers might be too quick to nix the thought of using QR/2D codes in the future (actually, after speaking with a number of marketing and creative executives I know this is the case).
Even though the paper's author recommends to companies "a limited 'test and learn' approach" towards QR/2D codes, which I am in total agreement with, I believe companies need to go one step further and take action as mentioned above (i.e., experiment with just as much sophistication and level of detail that other advertising mediums and tactical/creative elements receive). So, where can a company start? How about experimenting with different calls to action; different code size, color, location; different scan resolves; multiple channels; or different instructional copy, and to do so in such a way that market research best practice is adhered to and taken into consideration.