Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

A Call to Action

At little-to-no cost or risk, QR codes are a cost-effective marketing tool to help agencies connect with new clients.

Mobile action codes are all the rage in today’s marketing campaigns. Everywhere you look you see these two-dimensional, geometric barcodes popping up, be it in grocery aisles, in magazine and newspaper advertisements, on the Internet, or even on TV. These codes provide a direct connection between the advertisement and the consumer.

QR codes have actually been commonly used in Japan for over a decade. They were invented in 1994 by Denso-Wave, a subsidiary company of Toyota, and were originally used as a way to track parts in vehicle manufacturing. Denso-Wave elected not to exercise their patent rights on the technology and encouraged its widespread use. Soon, QR codes were used for much more than tracking car parts. Due to the complex nature of these 2D matrix barcode, they can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information. They can be used to link to a website, send a text message, an email, add a contact, and more. As this technology grew in popularity, more companies tried their hand at creating their own form of QR code. At the time of writing this article, there are three main types of action codes: the QR code, the Datamatrix, and the Microsoft Tag.

[QR codes] are a simple and seamless way to integrate print, online and mobile content while providing customers with the information they need and want.” ~ Tony Jarrett

So what’s the difference?
QR codes, pictured to the left, are generally black-and-white, though they can be customized to be any one-color image. The information is encoded into the graphic, so there is no need for an Internet connection to decode it. You can create QR codes with a variety of different free, code generators that give you resources to track code analytics.

Similar to the QR code, the Datamatrix is a black-and-white geometric barcode that is ISO standardised. Among the two most popular 2D barcode, along with the QR code. It can be generated for free and read by most QR readers.

Unlike the previous two, Microsoft Tags boast a smaller size, so when designing marketing material, you don’t need to give up as much valuable space. They can have a customized background to integrate with your brand’s identity and color schemes. The technology is not as common, and readers may not be pre-installed or as easy to come by. Also, unlike QR codes, Microsoft Tags need to connect to the Internet to decode the Tag, however, this is a minor point if the intent is to send someone to a website. The Tag has analytics to let you know exactly how, when, and where your tags are being used as well as the capability to change the content behind the tag with a click of a button.

QR Codes In Action
The growing trend of action codes are seeping into the real estate business as well. It is not uncommon today to see QR codes on print advertising, linking a potential client directly to a Realtor’s® website, information on the house or MLS and open houses listings. This new technology can help an agency to reach a younger, more tech-savvy demographic.

Winston-Salem’s Allen Tate is just one example of a real estate agency embracing QR codes in their advertising. They believe the barcodes help them to provide a higher quality of service to their customers, allowing clients to quickly access property information on their mobile phones. “QR codes provide a quick, easy and convenient means to gain more information about a company, a product, an event, a service or even a person,” Tony Jarrett, Allen Tate’s Triad regional vice president, explained.

“We’re quickly embracing QR codes as a new way to ‘connect the dots’ between physical elements and online resources for homebuyers and sellers,” Jarrett continued. “Codes give clients access to the information they need as quickly as possible and in an easy-to-use format. For example, a consumer can view the Allen Tate print ad in today’s newspaper, scan the QR code, and access photos and details of open houses listed in the ad.”

At little-to-no cost or risk, QR codes are a cost-effective marketing tool to help agencies connect with new clients. They’re a versatile way to engage users, and, as Jarrett says, by being on the cutting edge of technology, these codes can help an agency to being the “cool kids” on the block.