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How to create an effective QR code campaign

Nowadays, marketers are placing QR codes on everything ? billboards, print ads and bus shelters. However, many companies are crippling their campaigns with simple mistakes instead of focusing on a clear objective and providing added value.

One of the most important steps in creating an effective mobile bar code campaign is deciding how it is going to add value to consumers. While QR codes are currently a hot commodity, marketers must make sure they are using them correctly in order to drive engagement. 

?A lot of the big players are doing QR codes well,? said Laura Marriott, CEO of NeoMedia, Boulder, CO. ?One that I saw as a mobile juror at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, which was an innovative means to communicate the QR code and create a significant viral buzz, was Sunny Sale in South Korea which used the sun to highlight a QR code that people could scan to get the deals over the lunch period ? and increase foot traffic.

?Keep in mind that, while this is an innovative use of how to generate the QR code for scanning, some of the most simple implementations are often the most effective,? she said. ?Many of the other effective deployments we have seen are those that place QR codes on pack or at retail to provide further insight into products and services, price comparisons or incentives. 

?CPG and retailers have performed well on this front.?

First steps
Marketers looking to implement mobile bar codes into their overall strategies should first define their goals and objectives.

Setting a clear objective will help guide the campaign development and effective use of QR codes. 

It is also important for companies to be creative.

For example, simply taking users to a static mobile page is no longer enough.

Marketers should provide exclusive content and offer consumers additional deals and savings. Doing this helps encourage consumer participation.

?QR codes are a great tool and success rates from QR campaigns are high,? Ms. Marriott said. ?Marketers should take advantage of this key mobile media element.?

A big mistake companies constantly make with QR code campaigns is leading consumers directly to a non-optimized mobile page.

?Ensure that the after the scan experience is optimized for mobile and delivers a high-value experience to the consumer,? Ms. Marriott said.

?Get creative in your implementations,? she said. ?QR codes can be used anywhere and everywhere. 

?Don?t feel restricted to simply placing in advertisements, you can place QR codes on packaging, on shelf and even on your employees.?

Continued engagement
Although QR codes have been around for a while now, there are still consumers who are unsure of what they are or what they do.

Therefore, education is key.

?Tell people what the code does and make it valuable,? said Mike Wehrs, CEO and president of ScanLife, New York.

?Then focus on the experience after the scan as the most important element to success,? he said. ?It should be mobile formatted, and focused on a goal that you want to achieve. 

?If a user scans a code that delivers a bad experience, they may not scan one of your codes ever again.?

Marketers should also not publish a code unless they have some tracking capabilities. 

The analytics that marketers will see, including location, time, operating system and demographics, will give them a huge amount of intelligence, specifically around how consumers are engaging with their brand.

?Brands will start to think about how QR Codes can be used in more intelligent ways,? Mr. Wehrs said.

?Marketers will think about how to make the entire experience extremely relevant and targeted using some of the metadata available,? he said.

According to Jane McPherson, chief marketing officer of SpyderLynk, Denver, it is important for marketers to consider why they are using a mobile bar code.

Implementing best practices in mobile bar code campaigns gives marketers an opportunity to effectively influence consumers with targeted messages at all different stages of the consumers? decision journey.

A mobile engagement has an opportunity to serve up highly integrated marketing experiences.

Marketers should consider bundling coupon, social, promotional and commerce together where ever they think they can drive consumer conversion. 

"Ensure the call-to-action is compelling," Ms. McPherson said. "In mass marketing, consumers are most likely to respond to broadly appealing opportunities to win prizes, get discounts or access to exclusive content ? a compelling incentive can drive 10 times more participation compared to non-incentivized programs.

"While awareness of the mobile bar code as a marker for interactivity is growing exponentially, assuming consumers understand how to activate a mobile bar code without instructions can be a mistake," she said. "Programs offering clear instructions on using mobile bar codes can drive participation up by 500 to 800 percent.

"Mobile commerce will bring with it the convergence of promotions, coupons, CRM, ecommerce, and social, having an impact far beyond mobile payments and setting the standard for integrated marketing engagements. Mobile bar codes will be imperative as a tool for activating these integrated marketing engagements allowing consumers to collect points, digital currency and coupons when retailers are ready to redeem them all at check out."

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York