Perhaps you’ve seen QR codes in magazine articles or on bulletin boards. They are very similar to barcodes you see printed on your mail or on products in the store, but instead of a series of bars, they are square and use a series of smaller squares or other patterns to create attractive puzzle-like images.

QR codes are great for today’s marketing campaigns because people can respond to your campaign anywhere — anytime. To read QR codes, you snap them with your cell phone camera. A phone app interprets the code and automatically takes you to images, videos, a mobile site or other content that makes sense for your campaign. For example, a teenager sees the latest CD from his favorite band. He hasn’t bought the CD yet, so he picks it up and snaps a picture of the QR code on the back of the jewel case. He is immediately taken to a website where he can listen to audio clips, purchase music, and even Tweet about the new CD to his friends.

Imagine the opportunities for your marketing!

  • Realtors can add QR codes to “for sale” signs, taking prospective buyers to pricing, floor plans, and even 3D tours of the property.
  • Retailers can add QR codes to window clings, sending discounts to viewer’s cell phones that can be brought inside for immediate discounts.
  • Marketers can add QR codes to business cards and marketing collateral. When these codes are snapped, the marketer’s contact information is automatically added to the viewers’ address books.

The possibilities are endless. QR codes can even contain personalized URLs, sending recipients to their own unique Web pages, where they can fill out surveys, receive customized content, and marketers can talk to them one on- one. There is so much to love about QR codes. In their most basic form, they are free to add to your print or e-media marketing. They allow people to respond immediately to your offers, even if they are out of the office or home. They allow you to track and measure response to print materials like advertisements and posters that are otherwise difficult or impossible to track.

Market awareness of QR codes is growing rapidly. When they cost nothing but a little brain power to add, the question isn’t why you should use QR codes. It’s why not?