The QR Code & What It Means to You

Here at Strategic America, we have a team of savvy researchers who persistently monitor current and growing trends in interactive marketing. Last week, we discovered a particularly insightful article about QR codes. In “Top 14 Things Marketers Need to Know About QR Codes,” posted on, interactive marketing specialist Angie Schottmuller covers the basics in a “crash course on tools, tactics, and best practices” every marketer should be aware of when it comes to QR codes and their capabilities. Using Schottmuller’s article and our own expertise, we will illuminate the basics of QR codes.

First, it’s important to clarify what a QR code actually is. Described by Schottmuller as “an encoded barcode image resembling a square-like maze,” a QR code is the next generation of the traditional UPC barcodes that we’ve utilized for decades. A UPC code is one-dimensional and can store up to 30 numbers while a QR code can hold an astonishing 7,089 numbers in its two-dimensional form – and that’s not all. A QR code can store far more than just numbers, extending data capabilities to text, telephone numbers, text and picture messages, contact and calendar entries, emails, and—perhaps most beneficial to marketers—hyperlinks. The value of a hyperlink is evident when you consider how a QR code is used.


We’re accustomed to seeing UPC codes on products on store shelves, but the QR code is much more versatile and virtually has no limits to where it can be placed. Schottmuller notes a few examples: TV ads, billboards, newspapers, product packaging, clothing labels, and even cake frosting. Consumers scan the QR code using a bar code reader app they can download on their smart phones, and your marketing message is instantly delivered. This creates an enormous opportunity for tailored consumer interaction with your product or brand.


As an example, a hyperlink embedded in a QR code for Target (found on the page of a magazine) could take the user to, provide a map with directions to the nearest store, or display a coupon for $2 off laundry detergent. The ways to reach a consumer in a meaningful way are boundless. Last weekend, Old Navy hosted an Easter egg hunt with QR codes throughout the store, offering customers the chance to win cash prizes or store discounts. This encouraged customers to spend time searching the store for the barcodes – and potentially picking up a few items while they were there.

Old Navy represents just one company that has embraced this new technology. In fact, Schottmuller shares some interesting statistics regarding implementation and adoption of QR codes in the last twelve months.

  • Almost 25% of Fortune 50 companies have adopted mobile barcodes as a marketing tool.
  • 2D barcode scans trumped UPC scans in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Mobile barcode scanning increased by 1,600 percent in 2010, and QR scans alone increased by 1,200 percent throughout June-December 2010.

For most marketing strategists, the proof is in the pudding—and clearly, QR codes are getting results.

So what does this mean for marketers? The QR code is an innovative avenue to reach consumers in a creative way. Adding a QR code campaign to your marketing efforts can drive traffic, convert shoppers into buyers, and provide greater interaction with the modern consumer. But you don’t have to do it alone—consult the experts at Strategic America to get started. We have honed our skills in interactive marketing, and our team will develop an exceptional marketing program that utilizes current technology, tracks your success along the way, and reaches your most coveted audience.

(To read Angie Schottmuller’s article, click here.)

“Top 14 Things Marketers Need to Know About QR Codes”
Angie Schottmuller,
April 26, 2011

Intrigued & have more questions?

Contact Jim Stafford, VP of Account Services, to get the answers.

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