Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Breaking news: QR codes are still around in late 2017, going into 2018

Christoph Trappe

November 26, 2017


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I tried using some QR codes in my marketing before. The year: 2010.

In one project we put a code on the back of somebody’s T-shirt and it said: scan me for a good deal.

That felt pretty clever but ultimately hardly anybody scanned the shirt -though it got attention.

QR codes were just not that user-friendly then.

I used them on a few more projects but -given the low – or at least perceived low user adoption I put them aside and thought they were a waste of time.

Seven years later …

I ran across a code while visiting Germany in November 2017. I took a picture. And I’ll admit I took the picture to Instagram about how this must be an old project or something like that.

But then something interesting happened and as I was taking the picture and even before I clicked the button to take the picture the camera quickly offered me the link to click to go to the website. Here’s how that looked on the screen:

One of the biggest problems I always found with the code was that you had to download an additional app to scan them. Of course, some phones don’t have enough storage as is so some people-including myself-wouldn’t prioritize an app like that.

Related: A 2017 overview from Mashable

And then of course to get a reinforcement walking through a northern borough in Düsseldorf I saw another QR code on the window of a store:

Again, super simple: swipe left on the iPhone to open the Camera, scan the code or not even scan it but hold the camera towards the code and it offers you the option to open the website.

That’s a huge improvement, but I still don’t know how common QR code consumer use would be. For example, will people who are windowshopping when the store is closed scan the code and buy from the website? I assume you can buy on the site?

It’s a use case and depending how hard it is to produce those codes and print them maybe it’s OK to try for a little while longer.

It has been a while for QR codes however.

So maybe they’re not dead. Usually, most marketing channels and tactics declared dead are not completely dead anyways.

What are you thinking? Have you seen any innovative projects using QR codes? Drop me a note here.

If our audience is heavily reliant on mobile phones-and which audiences aren’t?-it might be worth trying. It also might be worth trying when we want people and when it makes sense for them to move from off-line to online.

A final thought and idea reminder:

An innovative project for its time was when we used augmented reality with a print piece at United Way in the early 2010:

So certainly there will be more use cases for off-line to online integration beyond asking people to type in links in the future.

Disclaimers: The information provided in articles is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Enjoy and best of luck telling the best stories in your organization and life!

Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I’m Christoph Trappe.

I’ve written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs.

If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I’m always happy to chat!

Thanks for reading!

– Christoph

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