There has been a lot of talk about augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) recently. Although not directly related to Pokemon Go, it seems that, ever since the July 2016 release of the augmented reality game from Nintendo, the world of AR/VR has come alive in a tangible way to marketers. Major brands are investing in AR/VR beyond the gimmick. They are developing real applications in which AR/VR is used to solve problems and deliver information in a meaningful way.

But this doesn’t mean that QR Codes are on their way out. These things are different tools for different jobs, so even as we hear more about AR/VR, let’s not forget about the tool we have in hand—now—and look at some great ways it is being used to help customers today.  

In this post, let’s take a look at three well-crafted uses of QR Codes and what can be learned from them.

Customer Feedback Survey

One of the well-placed QR Codes I’ve seen recently is at my daughter’s elementary school. There is a QR Code placed at the front office window inviting parents and visitors to fill out a customer service survey. Scanning the code leads you to a mobile-optimized survey that is easy to fill out and submit.  

  • QR Code was placed in a highly visible location related to the purpose of the code.
  • QR Code led to a mobile-optimized site that functioned perfectly for its intended use.
  • Scanning the QR Code provided real value to the user (how many people wish they could provide feedback—positive or negative—right at the time of interacti

Audio Book Preview

The next great use of a QR Code was on the back of the jewel case of an audio book. I was standing in line at the store and saw this woman in line with the audiobook turn the case over to look at the back. It struck me what a challenge it must be to purchase an audio book because, unlike a hard copy book, you can’t just open it and read a few pages to see if you like it. When I scanned the QR Code, the problem was solved. It took you to an audio preview of the book using Snap to Listen. You could also share the preview on Facebook, Twitter, or by email. Just really, really smart.

  • QR Code was placed in a highly visible location on the product.
  • QR Code led to a mobile-optimized site that solved a problem for the customer.
  • Mobile page included social media sharing buttons that would continue to promote the book beyond the initial customer.

Multichannel Marketing Copy

I saved the best for last because I thought this was one of the most outstanding uses of a QR Code I’ve ever seen. It was on the back of my daughter’s NIV Bible (published by Harper Collins), although the usage could have been for any book.

The code led to a mobile-optimized site with tons of different but related content—explanation of the difference between this Bible translation and others, video on the same topic for those who prefer to absorb content visually, newsroom with links to three news articles (two of which were not directly related to the NIV but general interest subjects), NIV search box, link to download the NIV app, and links to a variety of free resources. Oh, yes, then there were the online testimonials. A really well-crafted package of content targeted to this specific audience. The content wasn’t all marketing content, but also general interest content to provide more than marketing plugs for Harper Collins. This QR Code led people to a mobile site of real value to this demongraphic.

QR Code was placed in a highly visible location realted to the purpose of the code.

QR Code led to a mobile-optimized site with a variety of high-value content

Content included mobile video for those who prefer to absorb information visually.

Content was not market only, but provided real value to the reader on a wide range of subjects, creating deeper engagement with the brand than just selling stuff.

Content was interactive (video, search boxes, links to other mobile content), deepening engagement on levels beyond the intiail product.

All of these great uses of QR Codes show why QR Codes aren’t dying. With other mobile engagement options growing, they are simply finding their niche.