QR Codes – your destination should not be a dead end

According to the most recent statistics, 3 bazillion QR codes are scanned every minute. (Okay, maybe I’m off by a half bazillion but you get the idea) And truth be told… most of the destinations suck.

Come on ad agencies, big brands and web gurus — stop creating QR code campaigns that drive the user into a dead end.

What do I mean by a dead end?  A destination where I get stuck.  I watch your video, look at your desktop site (come on people!) or view your print ad (seriously?) but have no where to go from there.

How do you avoid creating a dead end? Remember that marketing is a series of “next steps” so give me one to take.  Try one of these on for size:

  • Invite me to sign up for your e-newsletter
  • Give me a chance to win something worthwhile
  • Ask my opinion (let me vote, rate or comment)
  • Give me the chance to share your destination with my social networks
  • Let me request a sample
  • Offer me a coupon to download or email to myself
  • Make it possible for me to call your store/office
  • Let me do some product research
  • Entice me to buy something

If you can get me to actually scan your QR code, I must have some interest in what you have to say.  Don’t create a stunted, one-way conversation.  Give me a chance to continue the dialogue.

If we don’t start getting a whole lot smarter about the QR code campaigns we create — we’re going to train people that scanning one leads to a frustrating, unsatisfying experience.  Which means that pretty soon, they’re just going to be more noise.

Stop creating dead ends.  Instead, create a real conversation.


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4 comments on “QR Codes – your destination should not be a dead end

  1. Another very insightful post! Keep ’em coming. 🙂

  2. I agree with this but I thought few people were using QR codes. Do you think it’s actually worth my time to use them as a marketing tactic?

    1. Christoph —

      Hmm, my answer is a definite maybe. I’m not trying to be flippant. But the real question is — can you enhance the user experience with QR codes? Can you add value? Strengthen a connection or relationship? Create an emotional reaction? If so — then, yes. But if you’re just using it as a gimmick because it’s the hot new marketing bauble of the day, then no.

      People are using them. But they’re growing weary of bad execution. So if you don’t do it well, you might end up doing more damage than good. But if you delight them — you could start something wonderful that helps grow your business and your brand.


  3. Marketing is indeed a series of next steps and a dead end anywhere along the process (from website design, to sales flow) defeats the purpose.

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