QR Codes for Sales Enablement? Read (Don’t Scan) This Post.
Last week, I published a post about QR codes, and how you can easily create a Google maps QR code for your business. It’s a simple way to help consumers locate your business or office with a simple scan. It can be a very helpful sales enablement tool; I pointed you to a QR code generator we offer right on our website.
But QR codes themselves are a topic of debate these days. Some believe they have outlived their usefulness, and never achieved the lofty goals creators had hoped. Indeed, many in the tech world have pronounced them “dead” as a viable marketing resource. But others believe just the opposite. They see QR codes as getting new life, and perhaps only now realizing their potential as new technologies have made them easier and more helpful. Today, I’d like to examine the pros and cons of both arguments a bit.
Does QR Stand For “Quickly Retreating?”
Those who come out on the negative side of the argument can present some strong evidence. They include:
Few people have the ability, or patience, to use QR codes.
Many consumers have never scanned a QR code. The reasons? Many haven’t downloaded a scanning app to their smartphones, and are unwilling to take the time to do so just to scan a code that interests them. Many don’t even know what that ugly little block is all about. They will find other ways to get the information. The proof is in the numbers; they say. Tech and graphic folks hate them because they are “ugly”—but that argument wouldn’t fly if consumers actually used them.
QR codes have little marketing value.
This point relates to the importance of customer relationships and “two-way marketing communications” so important today. A QR code is a one-way transaction. The consumer gets access to marketing materials or whatever the advertiser wants him/her to see. But no information goes the other way. The company behind the code learns literally nothing about the prospect who has expressed interest. In today’s marketing circles, that borders on primitive.
There are many better, easier options.
Many ads and brochures these days carry URLs (especially shortened ones) that lead to the company website. And any electronic materials, be they PDFs, email messages, brochures or websites, contain links, where more information is only a click away. Why pull out your smart phone, open (or worse yet, download) an app, frame a QR code until it finally beeps, then see what comes up? It’s far easier to click on a link, do a search, or type in a shortened URL to access desired content in one easy step. Requires less vigilance for the company, too. Just ask Heinz, who once forgot to renew a web address linked to QR codes on its ketchup bottles, allowing a German porn site to snap it up.
Don’t Be Too Quick to Write Off Quick Response Codes
But those on the other side of the issue are well-armed with facts, too. Now that the above paragraphs had you convinced to abandon QR codes forever, check out these statistics that suggest they are a valuable and growing sales enablement tool.
- ExactTarget says that 34% of smartphone users (and 46% of tablet users) in the U.S. have scanned a QR code while shopping in a store.
- On a per capita basis, the average number of annual scans per person increased 7.5% between 2014 and 2015.
- The most common uses for QR codes include accessing coupons, product information and downloading mobile apps. Hence, they help accelerate the purchase cycle.
Consumers Will Use QR Codes if You Use Them Correctly
How do you resolve a debate where both sides seem to score points? How can both sides be right? Easy—read between the lines and understand what isn’t said. To ensure that QR codes function as effective sales enablement tools, you have to know how to use them properly. Some guidelines:
Place Them Where People Can Use Them. For example, don’t flash them for a few seconds in a TV commercial where a sleight-of-hand artist couldn’t scan them properly. Place them clearly on print and digital materials displayed in locations where wi-fi is readily available.
Keep Linked Content Updated and Ensure Links Work. A broken link, an outdated web destination or improperly maintained page ruins the whole idea. Not only does it fail the intended purpose, but it makes the company itself look inept and outdated.
Make Sure the Linked Page Is Optimized for Mobile. Maybe you’ve done everything else right, but one last thought. Remember the dramatically increased used of smartphones for internet access today (more than laptops or desktop computers). Therefore, it only makes sense to be sure the site you’ve linked to your QR code features responsive design, making it friendly for whatever screen is used to access it.
For Sales Enablement Tools Like QR Codes, Call Us PDQ
Superior Business Solutions places a great emphasis on tools for sales enablement. We’ve been around and successful since 1924, You can trust us to know the pluses and minuses of any technology, and help you use it to your business advantage. That’s not just us saying it, our customers did, by selecting us for the 2017 Best of Print and Digital Award. Our ISO 9001:2008 certification holds us to very demanding standards; but they only reinforce the standards to which we hold ourselves.