Feb 3, 2011

2-D "QR" bar codes

There has been an acceleration of awareness and usage of QR (Quick Response) 2 dimensional bar codes over the past year. A current article in the trade publication CRM Magazine has a QR code overview. This technology is described as an innovative gamble that marketers are taking; it is a low budget allocation, and small but growing awareness by consumers, and readability by smartphone apps. There is even a running blog about 2-D bar codes with very active community postings, including about which mobile phone bar code readers are effective.

A good overview of QR codes and their history is in Wikipedia; they started in auto manufacturing for tracking parts and shipments. Now, an active growth area in QR code usage is in commercial sales and marketing applications.

For an array of pharmaceutical and healthcare advertisements using QR codes, see this link in AdPharm.

At The Bloc we have healthcare clients investigating QR codes for RM related purposes. The primary reason is consumer acquisition, driving from printed offline pieces to a registration website or a promotional offer. The QR codes may in principle be on:

* print ads

* packaging

* patient brochures

* outdoor advertising

All of these are typically a challenge to measure accurately, particularly in a direct response way. As consumer usage of QR codes grows, they may serve as a replacement for vanity URLs which are not always remembered.

Hard data on response rates for QR codes is not standardized yet, but that may be forthcoming within a year or two. In the meantime, this appears a worthwhile experimental healthcare CRM acquisition tactic.