I don’t see QR Codes fading into the realm of techno-gimmick anytime soon. A recent article in Print Solutions Magazine provides some compelling data that clearly suggests the opposite. The number of Americans who are only using mobile devices is dramatically increasing. From Print Solutions Magazine: “After all, one in five U.S. mobile phone owners uses the mobile Internet every day (“2011 Mobile Internet Attitudes Report,” Antenna Software). Not only this but according to On Device Research, 25 percent of U.S. mobile phone users are mobile only. In other words, they do not (or very rarely use) a desktop, laptop or tablet to access the Internet.” (full article here on page 24) In other words; Americans are becoming very proficient at navigating our physical and electronic world with our mobile devices acting as our trusted sidekick.
In a few of my public speaking engagements on technology, I have used the example of scanning regular bar codes in retail stores with my cell phone to find out if I find and item for less money at another store. In fact, in a bizaar coincidence, eBay did an Internet commercial to this effect and the actor here (Casey Robertson) happens to be a personal friend:
As our mobile devices become more and more sophisticated, the possibilities are almost limitless with regard to our ability to access information. QR Codes are one of the first mobile innovations that begin to bridge the gap between a brand and our ability to access to more information about that brand. Additionally QR Codes fit very nicely into the concept of engagement marketing (as opposed to interruption marketing) in that we, as the consumer, choose what information to access.
I think QR Codes are like many other great innovations that are just starting to take root. There is skepticism, disbelief and confusion about how they work and how marketers might use them. But, remember what people said about Facebook and Twitter when they made their way into the mainstream. I heard comments like ‘It’s a fad’ or ‘it’s just another MySpace’ or ‘it’s for kids, not business.’ Don't be left behind with QR Codes because even if they do evolve into a different form down the road, understanding their potential now will put you ahead of your competition.