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September 12, 2011


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Billy Martin

Great post,

QR Codes are starting to pop up everywhere, I have been noticing them in magazines, sales papers, on signs,
I Believe they are the future way to advertise,

they are easy to make and last forever

now if I could only get them all on my site for a one-stop
QR Code shop, where they can make them and list them for free http://www.prime-qr-codes.com LOL 8=)

very informative, Thank You for sharing

Kevin Hudson

Fantastic post! I'm a social media marketer and, where relevant, i'm encouraging my clients to embrace QR codes within their overall marketing efforts. I think the UK are slowly starting to catch on, and all those that I have spoken to seem to have found QR codes advantageous. I'd love for public services to start using them in the UK to give more information. However, the UK Government have only just started monitoring social media as a result of the london riots...so I won't hold my breath. Great post! Thanks.

Kevin Cesarz

Another good free QR code generators is http://qrcode.littleidiot.be/. Preferred by our designers because it produces vector graphics.

Seth Godin

Here's my question:
Do American consumers actually use them? I get that they're on ads everywhere, but is that a great pitch by the QR guys or do they pay for the space they use?

I've done anecdotal research and have never found a single person who has used a code (which means of course that they've never used one and then made a purchase).

I'm genuinely curious as to whether there's data...

David Meerman Scott

Seth, I would love to know if there is any data too. I have not seen any (but have not looked either).

I remember when I first started seeing Twitter IDs pop up on ads and business cards. That's when I decided to check it out and get an account (early 2008). I'm glad I didn't wait.

At recent speaking gigs in Amsterdam and Tokyo, QR Codes were used a lot - by speakers to deliver links (which I now use too) and by exhibitors to deliver more information (saving a huge amount on printed materials).

What really pushed me over the edge to write this post was seeing rock bands hand out postcards with QR Codes to get free music downloads. That's when I realized that for at least a subset of people, QR codes are pushing into mainstream. Heck, even Mickey Hart gave me a postcard with a QR Code!


Thanks for openning my eyes. It is better to be an early adapter than to miss the train. Will definitely look more into it and for ways to use it in my business.

Barbara Grace

Hi David, I downloaded the TapMedia QR reader as I trust your recommendations and love the way you keep great ideas rolling.
But when I tried to do the same thing for Kaywa QR Code generator they had one of those extremely annoying blinking vibrating disgusting totally off-putting ads on their page that was so distracting I thought in the end that if that's what they choose to put front and centre on their page then I'm gettin' outa-here cause it reeked of cheap nasty marketing that's going to rip you off. Shame cause as the recommendation came from you - I would have downloaded it, tweeted it, and shared the love.


Hi David,

Very interesting piece as usual.

I work in scientific communications and another place I see QR codes taking off is for company booths, posters and presentations at shows and conferences. QR codes for demo videos would allow potential customers to visit a booth, discuss a product, watch a video on their phone and take that info away with them.

In the same way, people scribble copious amounts of notes while walking around poster presentations (such as those providing data to back up claims about a company's new product) ... it would be much more efficient to just download a high quality version of the poster pdf to your phone by snapping a QR code. This could be combined with url tracking to provide analytics (number of QR-related downloads for example) or for lead generation via 'sign-up to download' microsites.

At present the main road block our clients put up is to question who are using smart phones and QR codes (is it really the decision makers / influencers?). Fortunately, scientists often tend to be technologically aware and many post-docs, group leaders and senior lab managers are already using smart phones.

Therefore, perhaps the main remaining stumbling block is the continued consumer education required to emphasise how quick, easy and valuable QR codes are for accessing high quality, relevant information? What do you think?

Account Deleted

I have to agree with you that Japan's at the forefront of mobile marketing. Although the QR code adaptation is quite slow, I think it will carry on as more businesses will learn to appreciate its value for their marketing campaign. But, with augmented reality just around the corner, we'll just have to see if QR codes will be trending or not. Thanks anyway for the links you've shared!

David Meerman Scott

Dragan - thanks for the link to Heidi's data.

Barbara - What can I say? It's free and it worked for me without distraction.

Paul - Interesting about use in the scientific community. Thanks for the info!

Chase Sherman


If you haven't heard of the company Tesco from South Korea, you really need to see what they've done with QR codes... I recently came across this YouTube video from Social Media Examiner and was blown away by the application.

Look forward to your thoughts...




Hey David, this is great. I just returned from CMWorld (where you were excellent, of course) and there were QR codes everywhere ... it got me thinking about how we might use them at our own conference coming up in the spring. This is a great start.

I have to admit though, I was hoping you'd link to your Marketing Strategy Planning Template ... unless it's on this site somewhere I haven't found yet ... maybe I'll start digging around.


David Meerman Scott

Chase - thanks. I'll check it out.

Eleanorpie - Well, um, like, why don't you just try the QR code in the post to get the Marketing Strategy Planning Template!!

Anne Sorensen

Thanks David. Many of our art galleries here are integrating QR Codes in the exhibits to access more information about particular works, probably like the Space Centre in Houston you mentioned. Here's one: http://qag.qld.gov.au/exhibitions

It's great - we don't need to purchase the headphones for the tour any more! Love it! (and our 21st century technology)

Take care.


Hey David! I love the example you provided. You've clearly illustrated the best use for QR codes, which is to provide quick and easy access to unique content, as opposed to merely connecting to the homepage of your website - or worse, connecting to a not-optimized-for-mobile version of your website. (Credit to Scott Stratten of @unmarketing for that example; it's such a good one.)

Where I work, we've not yet utilized QR codes, but we'll certainly be considering them as we continue to develop our content strategy.


Ha! Thanks for not adding " ... dummy!" to the end of your reply, David. I appreciate it.



Awesome to meet you in Stockholm today. I like QR codes and I'm sure we will see a intresting development here. As you mention in the post in your examples it is a lot off possibilities. What I have discovered sometimes when I'm scanning is that the landing page for a particular QR code is not up to date. I think it takes a lot of awareness to keep offline world updated with the online world. Don't use marketing materials that have expired.

Remco Janssen

Hi David,

Thanks for your post on QR Codes!

I have two sets of business cards with QR Codes, one from a Dutch company called SocialCards (which links the QR code to a page on their websites with links to my vcard, LinkedIn and other social networks). This one got me 151 views in the last couple of months, unfortunately their are no statistics telling me how many hits came from the QR Code.

Also about.me offers business cards (through Moo.com) with your profile page featured on your card, with a QR Code too. Again, the statistics only offer the amount of views generated on your profile page and when, not per se via the QR Code. (I use http://about.me/remcojanssen as the url on Twitter, had 130 views in total.)

Don't think a lot of people do use the code. But still, people think it is hip and happening if you have a QR Code on your business card. So for now, it will work.

In the long run, the codes are just a fad I think. I do know of a company who offers a reader with a tool that can make (print) adds and photos work like a QR Code with watermarks. That's just brilliant! The app, designed by a Spanish company AquaMobile, is called Clic2C and can also be used to scan normal codes. Quite frankly, no one has heard of it yet.

Please share with us some research if you find any on the success of QR Codes!

Yours, Remco



I'd be interested to know what is your success rate in having your QR code reader successfully scan the code for pass through to a site.

As a direct marketer we have clients that still use mailpieces and recently have taken to putting QR codes on the piece. In fact this summer the USPS offered a 3% discount to mailers who employed a QR code on the mailpiece. The result was mailers used the QR codes but most often only to acheive the discount. The QR code either took them to the home page (not a campaign landing page) or worse - nowhere at all!

I find that QR code scanners work inconsistently and can be frustrating when they do not work. Asking a prospect or customer to be 'active' in order to learn more or see an offer is not customer-friendly.

A newer technology called Near field communications (NFC) shows real promise and is not far away from general release. QR codes are an old technology and heading toward an inevitable sunset.

But the various viewpoints remain very interesting and thanks for spurring the conversation.


David Meerman Scott

MattGron - great to meet you too!

Remco - But you are hip anyway and don;t need the business card to show us! But seriously, it is interesting to see your stats and the companies that offer this stuff.

Markkolier - all I can say on my experience is that when I pop up my code at a speaking gig, about 10% to 30% of the people in the audience capture it.


That's good engagement and for the present QR codes are the only game in town! Thanks for the stats.

Matt Gentile


Great post as always. We are using QR Codes now on our yard signs, but we also made a recent move to help our brokers market via Facebook (see - http://thesocialguyblog.com/). I'd like your thoughts on how you see the future of social marketing for business developing.

QR Codes are one thing, but how are the businesses you are working with developing social media platforms to drive tangible business results?

Thank you,

Matt Gentile
Sender - Message - Channel - Receiver

Same as it ever was.

David Meerman Scott

Hi Matt -- Wow. Cool. Yard signs are one use I had never seen before. Thanks for sharing.

Well, it might sound like a sales-type answer, but this blog and my most recent books are all about how new marketing helps achieve results.


Sean Lijek

You can read them from a computer too!


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