A QR code is a matrix barcode (like a price barcode found on common store merchandise) that can hold up to 7,000 digits of information (a regular barcode can only hold about 20). The QR stands for Quick Response because the codes were designed (by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave) to be decoded at high speed. This can be extremely helpful to a business that wants to place an ad in a newspaper but has limited room or as a source of information/logo on a business card.

How do QR Codes work?
QR codes work by consolidating data into a picture-like graphic consisting of small, black shapes arranged in a specific pattern on a white background. The data can consist of a web address, business information and even coupons. Although, a special decoder program is needed to correctly read the information, once this program is downloaded onto your phone, all you have to do is take a picture of the QR code. Once your phone has scanned the QR Code you are able to access txt, pictures, websites and videos based on the information in the code. QR codes can appear anywhere and can be made any size or shape. Businesses have used QR codes for movie promotions, as T-shirt designs, business cards, posters and even on food products (such as the wrapper on your McDonald’s burger). The possibilities are endless and the more creative you get, the bigger your payoff will be.

Are QR Codes a viable marketing option?
The answer is yes and no. QR codes have introduced a new and exciting method of giving and receiving information. Unfortunately, it may be a little too “new” for most consumers. The QR code decoder is only downloadable into smart phones like the Droid and the iPhone and while the market for these phones is steadily on the rise, the fact still remains that only a small percentage of people actually own a smart phone. This is definitely something to consider when thinking of using QR codes to market your product or business. That being said, most people would agree that these “smart codes” are going to be the next big thing in marketing. Already businesses, small and large, are starting to catch on and successfully implement these codes into their marketing plans. The fact that they are free and relatively easy to create is also a big plus.