After one of my presentations to the travel and hospitality industry this week, I was asked for more information on how QR codes work. More specifically, how can small businesses use them to bring in more business and increase profitability?
This post is my response.
This afternoon my mailbox had the usual armload of catalogs that I typically toss into the recycle bin before I step back into my office. That's when I noticed a customized Microsoft Tag on one of them (above).
Just like QR codes, MS Tags are two-dimensional codes (2D codes). MS tags presently have an advantage that I'm told is coming to QR codes. They can be customized to include a company logo as in this example. My first thought was I am probably 1 in a 1000 that noticed this. Nevertheless, I applaud this company's effort to use them to bring multi-media content to their marketing collateral.
Let's take a closer look.
Your Marketing Message
This catalog evidently arrived due to my being a Licensed Landscape Architect (my former business). Landscape architects enhance many types of outdoor environments, with recreational areas being one of them.
The cover of this catalog clearly (and creatively) communicates the message of play, which is the focus of Playworld Systems.
Do your customers understand your focus – your core competency? Take a moment to click on the image above to read how this company positions itself – for children, artists, families, and entrepreneurs.
It's nicely done, don't you think? BTW, that image is the best I could do with my iPhone.
I honestly believe this is going to be a breakout year for 2D codes. While MS tags offer customization for embedding a logo, I believe QR codes will be the initial frontrunners because they are readily identifiable – like this QR code that links to my Facebook page.
Download this app and you can scan it right from your computer.
99% of your customers have no idea what 2D codes are all about, which is why I believe the more common QR codes are the place to start. Even though they offer more, MS tags simply do not jump off the page the way QR codes do. QR codes have a technological look that is more easily recognized – and therefore, will be more likely to engage the early adopters.
As an example, here is a more common MS tag before customization. Unless you have studied them as I have, it would be difficult to make the connection between this image and the more highly customized MS tags that Playworld Systems is using.
How They Can Be Used
Notwithstanding the aforementioned conditions, Playworld Systems uses the MS tags exactly as they should – to help their prospects and customers make more informed decisions. And, to their credit, they carefully inform their users how to use them – directing them to the Microsoft app that is necessary to read them.
Here's a screenshot from their catalog showing two products. To make an informed decision, you simply scan the respective tags and watch the videos.
How cool is this?
Now you can better understand the merits of the two similar pieces of equipment to make an educated decision. Also, as I look at this page again, I can imagine they may have chosen MS tags specifically to have them blend in with the other content.
If you want to learn more about QR codes and MS tags, I wrote an extensive article as a guest post for Social Media Examiner that will be published on February 7th. Mark your calendar.
In the meantime, if you want to learn more now, just use the Google search box on this blog – search for QR codes and you'll find several articles on this topic.
Please leave a comment below to share what you are thinking? How do you envision using 2D codes to enhance the experience of engaging what your small business offers with your prospects and customers.
One final thought. Given that Microsoft's Bing search engine powers Facebook search, it is entirely possible that MS tags could be the dominant 2D code player. Time will tell.
And don't forget that all of this technology is FREE – and therefore, it is ideally suited to your small business.
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Enjoy your weekend, Jeff