We May Just Be Too Cool for Our Own Consumers August 1, 2011Posted by christinapappas in Mobile Marketing.
This past week, Jay Baer wrote a post about QR codes by conducting an analysis of a Crowne Plaza ad that features one. It was an interesting case study that not only talked about the overall design and purpose of including the QR code but questioned whether or not one was really needed. In fact, he makes an excellent point asking the hotel chain why they didn’t just use a SMS campaign; More Americans have the capability to text vs. those that can scan a QR code.
I am a marketer through and through so I like QR codes and yes, I think they are cool, and yes, I have created them and posted them on marketing materials and included them in email campaigns but it was only recently that I discovered how few consumers actually know what they are and what to do with them. Are we too ‘cool’ for our own good when it comes to using technology? Have we lost sight of our consumer and forgotten to consider what they may actually do with a QR code or how they will react to it?
Your audience may have no clue what you are doing. Seriously.
In Home Depot yesterday, I was looking at this really cool indoor plant. Having a gigantic black thumb that I do, I looked at the card that contains the care instructions to see if I may be up for the challenge. Guess what?
It was the name of the plant and a huge QR code. No instructions anywhere to be seen.
Now I had to get out my phone and scan the thing and read the instructions on my mobile device. In fact, as I questioned whether or not to make the purchase, I realized I would need to do this everytime I wanted to remind myself of how to care for this gorgeous plant. BUT, I am a marketer, remember, so I know what this thing is that’s printed on the card. Consider for a moment, I am my mother, for example. She would have absolutely no clue what a QR code is. Let alone that it had anything to do with the phone sitting right in her handbag. And you know what? She may not purchase the plant at all because of it.
Who’s teaching the consumer?
A few people in the comment’s section of Jay’s blog agree; consumer adoption and understanding of the QR code is not even close to the pace at which marketer’s are using them. So, who is teaching our audience, the consumer, what the heck these codes are and showing them what to do with them?
Unlike SMS campaigns where the language clearly states ‘text 5675 with your answer’, a QR code is just some funny looking barcode to a consumer. There is no instruction regarding what it is, how to use it or any hint as to what’s behind it.
As a marketer who is quite familiar with the codes, how to create one and how to use them, I am also confused sometimes. Do I take a picture of it with my camera? Does this one work with the app I downloaded? Is this one of those Microsoft ones that I need a different software for? Will this work with my iPhone or is it for Droid only?
Tell me what to do!
I have yet to see one being used that has instructions that say ‘scan me with your smartphone’. Why are we putting these on everything hoping our audience will use them and engage with our content yet we are not even telling them how to do it?
Someone needs to take the first step if QR codes are going to be anything but a passing fad within a consumer base of knowing professionals. Anyone else think we may have gotten a little overly excited on this one and forget about how people would interact with our brands using these codes?
Go ask someone if they know what a QR code is and let me know what they say in the comments section. Or, better yet, show them one and ask them what to do with it.