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QR Codes and Magazines

I guess I’ll add my two cents about QR Codes.

First of all, although I sometimes compare them to the ridiculous business fantasy that was :CueCat,

I will admit that QR codes:

  • Have value.
  • Are probably part of the longer term IT picture

Quick Response CodeWhen I mention :CueCat, it’s not because I’m not comparing the technology of QR codes to :CueCat – I’m comparing the usage.

And that’s because a lot of the usage I see of QR codes are intended for the benefit of the providers of the QR code, and provide little to no benefit to the desired user of the QR code.

QR Codes may prove to be invaluable to fixed location items.

The biggest advantage to public users that a QR code provides is, hopefully, easy access to information or an application to a mobile device. In theory, little to no keyboard entry required.

Now, of course, the public users still have to view the content on what may be a tiny screen, may still need to use their keyboard once they access the site, may need to do a bit of work to get the QR code to be read on their mobile device. This can actually reduce the value of the QR code provision considerably depending on how it works.

So there’s a key to retaining value for the QR code: it has to be valuable to the mobile user.

I know that seems obvious, but…

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a QR code in a magazine already. Now, special offers can make the QR code of value, but the question is whether the magazine is actually going to be in a place where a mobile user will want to take advantage of the special offer via a mobile device. Many times I’ve just seen a QR code added for what seems to be the sake of having a QR code added. The value is not obvious in the magazine, which I suggest greatly limits the actual usage of the QR code in the first place.

But the funny thing is – magazines are themselves MOBILE! They really are! Magazines can actually be moved to a PC or a laptop if you have a special offer. URLs can be transcribed from the printed magazine page to a computer – and if there’s content there of interest, it can be printed… or forwarded!

I just don’t get much of the magazine QR codes I’m seeing. I see great value in FIXED OBJECT QR Codes. Signs – I’ve seen them on For Sale signs on homes and I think it’s a great idea. Menus – what better way to allow customers to order a coupon for future purpose than right there at the restaurant? And customer service? I’d love to see a QR code on every major part and component of items I purchase. It’ll make it SO much easier to identify and order parts, troubleshoot, etc.

But magazines sent to the home or office? Not seeing much value in that strategy.

Kessler Freedman, Inc.