A growing number of companies around the world are using QR codes to connect the digital and physical worlds. When scanned, they take users to mobile sites set up to provide consumers with a dynamic experience. The codes can only hold 2-3 kilobytes of data, but that is generally more than enough to make them highly valuable for businesses looking for an edge in the robust mobile marketing industry.
The codes are not technically new. They were developed in 1994 by Japanese based Denso Wave Inc., a subsidiary of Toyota. The codes were originally used to keep track of inventory for the car manufacturer. Similar companies have used them for the same purpose. Eventually, marketers began using the codes to promote businesses and services.
QR codes provide something physical that consumers can handle, providing a unique experience that is otherwise unobtainable through traditional methods. In Japan, they have become a staple of society. The codes crowd hallways as blocky, black and white patterns, and accompany multitudes of advertisements. Part of their success comes directly from the fact that they require user interaction to be useful.
The codes have gained acclaim as an eco-friendly form of advertising as well. The fact that their content can be changed without generating new codes means that waste is minimal. QR codes are also cost-effective, as they can be generated for free over the Internet.
Many innovations have come with the advent of the digital age and QR codes are among the most successful advances in mobile marketing in recent years.