Omega Mobile: Mobile Experience Design Blog
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A recent article on Mobile Commerce Daily took on the question of QR Tags and their future viability. The article argued that when QR tags and apps fail, the culprit is most often a lack of smart mobile strategy. I’ve found that QR tag success is determined by having a thoughtful mobile strategy and executing that mobile strategy with effective mobile design. When those elements are in place, QR codes can raise brand awareness and drive sales.

Mobile Design Stategy QR Campaigns

We’ve had the opportunity to work with different mobile recognition companies from image recognition experts to barcode providers. Throughout these collaborations, I’ve heard some disturbing trends. For example, when using QR codes many companies ignore mobile strategy and simply have their QR tag lead to a non-mobile version of their site, often just the regular home page rather than even a specific landing page dedicated to the promotion. Consumers are not able to navigate those sites well because they aren’t optimized for viewing on mobile. Design plays a large role in QR code success. QR codes also get a bad wrap because they often lead to a broken link.

In both these cases, and many others, companies are misusing mobile technology and not realizing the true potential of QR tags. Basically, they haven’t created an overall mobile strategy that uses good mobile design to incorporate QR tags into a larger mobile marketing campaign. Mobile is not a magic bullet. Like all other marketing campaigns, mobile design needs to be thought through. Mobile itself is not a strategy.

Before thinking about QR codes or any mobile campaign, then, you need to develop some high-level business goals. Are you trying to build awareness? Are you trying to drive sales or capture names? Mobile is one channel for achieving these goals. (Print, direct mail, etc. are other channels.) QR codes are one component within your mobile strategy. They should be used in conjunction with a mobile designed website and other branding efforts.

QR codes can be highly effective for building awareness, driving sales and capturing names. People often think of them as solely a means for encoding a url. However, if you work with a QR registry, you can implement intelligent QR codes that adapt to your needs by delivering content based on the user’s profile, location, date and a number of other factors.

Imaging designing your mobile possibilities with the ability to present different content and offers based upon:

  • Scan location (different for cities, states, countries)
  • Date/Time Ranges (different for evenings, lunches, holidays, etc)
  • Maximizing user profiles for previous purchases and phone types
  • Geo-fencing within a specific distance of your retail location

In sum, I think the real advantage of QR codes lies in the way they bridge the physical and the digital. They’re a great way to drive end users to take easy and immediate action. As QR codes evolve and marketers begin to implement them within a larger mobile strategy, they will provide solid results. But success will require that a strategy be put in place along with a solid call-to-action, an enticing offer and a well-designed mobile destination.

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