Jack Benoff fired off a scathing missive last Wednesday declaring that QR codes are hopeless. Benoff says in a DigiDay Daily article that QR codes solve a problem for marketers, but not the consumer. In Benoff’s words, who would want to download and app, open it, scan a code and get unknown content or advertisements loaded on their smartphones?
Benoff likens the QR code with the virtual game Second Life. His argument is that Second Life has a lot of marketers in its games but no users are actually on the game.
Benoff couldn’t be more wrong.
For one, October 2010 statistics on Second Life showed that as many as 600,000 people logged into Second Life from January to July 2010, not bad for a game that is more than three years old.
Benoff also lambasted people for saying that QR codes have hit mainstream because many brands are adopting it. We at BeQRious.com think that if a brand wants to add a QR code in their campaigns, then it’s a testament to how powerful these codes are and how effective they are. Or at least it is a testament to the potential of a QR code to solve marketing problems and bring more information to the consumer.
Besides, if there is anything that the MGH QR Code study has taught us, it is this: more and more people are scanning the QR codes they see, and more and more people are either aware of these codes, or are planning to.
Benoff is also wrong in saying that marketers are busting their budget in a moment of self-delusion they have for QR codes. What budget? QR codes are free to create and deploying them, you need only a small space out of your ad or a few seconds of airtime if you are going on TV.
Benoff further stated that it is better to invest on Near Field Communication, which he says would be soon found built into Android operating systems. He backs this up by also indicating that Google, Nokia and AT&T are all backing up the technology. News, Google is one of the staunchest proponents of QR codes with its Project Zxing, along with other tech companies. And with more and more smartphones coming out preloaded with a QR code scanner, these makes all these phones ready for the QR code. From the looks of it, QR codes are so flexible that it could do what NFC proponents say NFC could do. What’s more, QR codes have clearer standards and have been around longer than NFC technology.
Benoff did hit the nail on one point though. It is that QR code campaigns should be properly planned, executed and measured. Without careful planning, a QR code campaign can go terribly wrong, or it would be rendered useless.
It is easy to diss the QR code, especially if you have only seen how it could fail. Instead of learning from mistakes, you just throw away a good thing and tell the world about it.
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