Today makes me wonder more than ever, do companies really know how to roll out QR codes or is this fad worse than I thought? I guess it’s the cool thing to say “take a picture of our QR code” on your marketing pieces, however, at the DMA show where everyone is a Direct Marketer, I would expect them to work. When I say “work” I use the term loosely, because I define “work” as a QR code that gives me a mobile experience, i.e. I want to take the picture of the QR code and get a mobile website, not your traditional website or an “invalid error”. So, to experience what I’ve been preaching, I took a walk around 1 (yes, ONE) aisle of the DMA show. All around, there were big tradeshow booths with huge 3 foot QR codes prominently displayed on all of the booths. There were chances to instantly win, watch videos, like them on Facebook and get a coupon. I tested 5 QR codes in less than 10 minutes, and the results even shocked me. I told my colleague that I bet 3 out of 5 were going to not work and would go to a traditional website but, to my dismay, all 5 went to traditional websites. I went up and talked to each person (not knowing I was a mobile person) and asked them why there QR code went to a traditional website and it wasn’t a good mobile experience or how QR codes were meant to work. I got a few of the following; “What do you mean, it came up on your phone, right?”, “Isn’t a mobile website just a site that comes up on your phone?” and even a few folks that told me not to tweet about it, sorry.
QR codes are meant for consumers to snap a picture and instantly get a mobile experience on their phone; they are not meant to just take someone to your traditional website. Before you roll out QR codes for any company, brand, or customer, be sure the end user experience follows QR Best Practices 101 and takes them to a mobile website, mobile video, mobile sweepstakes or lead form, not a traditional site or worse, an “invalid error.”