QR Codes, Part 1

Quick Response code (QR) is a 2 dimensional barcode that can be read by different cell and smart phones. The codes resemble small squares with white and black patterns and are used in a number of mediums such as newspaper and magazine advertisements. The QR code is used to encode information like URL or text. Professional QR code readers and some mobile devices can read the codes too.


To read the QR code, you need to have a cell phone that has a camera and a QR code reader. The camera is used to take a picture of the code. It is possible to get free code readers from a number of application stores that are used for various phone platforms. Once the phone is able to read the code, you will get the information that has been stored. This is where you may get details about the organization that has been advertised or you can be directed to a URL to watch a movie trailer. You can also be lucky and find information on a coupon, discount and other promotional deals.

The QR codes are very important when it comes to mobile marketing as they can be used to increase sales and maximize on profits.

STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW: While the US is the top country for mobile code usage, 20% of the smartphone users have scanned a QR code (source comScore), Madrid, Spain is the top city globally for code scanning.

A great QR code campaign was run by Tesco – Home Plus, a supermarket in South Korea. In this country more than 80% of the phones are Smartphones. Home Plus placed posters at subway stations simulating aisles of a grocery store. While waiting for the tube people could scan the QR codes of the products they wanted, the products were then added to their online shopping cart and by the time they were home their shopping was delivered.

QR codes can be used for various mobile marketing campaigns such as:

Links to:

  • Directions and map to the business premises
  • A mobile landing page, your social media sites or exclusive video
  • A customer feedback form
  • Exclusive discounts, coupons and giveaways


  • On business cards or name tags during events
  • On posters, flyers and brochures
  • On the front of the business premises
  • On restaurant menus, product packaging and sales receipts

STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW: Although most people use 2D codes and QR codes interchangeably, it is important to note that even though QR codes are a kind of 2D codes, not all the 2D codes can be categorized as QR codes. These can be called ‘proprietary codes’ to avoid confusion. The main difference between the two is the fact that multiple barcode scanning applications can be used to scan through the QR codes, while there are some proprietary codes like the Microsoft tag where you will require a specific application for the scanning process.

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