Qfuse Blog - QR Code, NFC, and Mobile Marketing News

Analyzing the Record Breaking QR Code Corn Maze

Posted on September 11th, 2012 by

There’s a been a great deal of cyber talk around the QR Code corn maze that set the new Guinness World Record recently.

Corn Maze QR Code

According to the media coverage of this massive QR Code on web sites like the Huffington Post, the Kraay family corn maze QR Code pointed to the family farm’s website when scanned – presumably a non-smartphone friendly desktop website.  Even though the QR Code probably won’t get scanned all that much in the real world – unless you happen to be flying over the family farm at low altitude – I wanted to understand the details of the code itself.

QR Code Configuration

There is absolutely no reason why a QR Code shouldn’t have tracking and analytics capabilities integrated into its configuration and point visitors to mobile friendly content – and it very well may!  (Check out some example mobile websites if you’d like.)  In short, it’s simple to avoid common QR Code mistakes.

Kraay Family Corn Maze QR Code Analysis

Even after a substantial photo editing effort including contrast filtering, manual reconstruction, color replacement, and about a half dozen other techniques, I still wasn’t able to get the QR Code into a condition that I could scan it so I have no way of finding out how this record-breaking QR Code was configured, :(.  I guess this one will remain a mystery.

Regardless, congrats to the Kraay family for setting a new record and for successfully using a QR Code to bring awareness to their business!

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QR Codes: They're Not Just for Advertisers. You Can Use Them Too!

Posted on September 9th, 2012 by

QR code fundraiser

Using QR codes for personal and noncommercial purposes.

Even people who have no idea what a QR code is would probably recognize one, as QR codes have now become commonplace in all types of advertising. But QR codes aren’t just for marketing professionals trying to pitch products or services. Anyone can use QR codes as a practical means to communicate just about any type of message, and build a bridge between offline and online worlds.

There are many free tools that make it easy to create a free QR code, and some such as Qfuse even take it a step further and can also create mobile landing pages for your codes as well. Selecting the right tools will help you avoid common QR code mistakes.

Things you can do with a QR code

Although QR codes look very strange at first, their function is really quite simple – a QR code simply makes a link between something printed (e.g. a flyer, postcard or letter) and something digital (e.g. a web page, photo or video). A QR code allows you to share things that that cannot be shared in print, such as:

  • Photos and Video – a picture is worth a thousand words!
  • Links to Web pages – make it interactive!
  • Social Media – get people engaged!
  • Contacts – make it easy for people to call or email with a simple touch on their smartphone!

The user simply scans your printed QR code (using a free QR scanner app; there are many) and gets taken to whatever it is you want to share on their smartphone. It’s really quite easy once you know how it works.

Here are but a few practical examples of how QR codes can be applied for common everyday uses:

Invitations & Events
Whether it’s a party, a wedding or some other type of event, you can put a QR code on invitations or flyers to direct invitees to an interactive map for directions, a list of event details, click-to-call for info, or even a form to submit an RSVP.

Committees and Clubs
Belong to a club or committee at your school or in the community? Put a QR code on your materials to let people know about the next meeting or details of an upcoming initiative, or direct people to your group’s Facebook page.

Business Cards and Resumes
Want to make an impression with your colleagues or prospective employers? Use a QR code on your business card or resume to direct them to your LinkedIn profile, a video with a personal message, or a gallery of your work.

Fundraisers and Nonprofits
Trying to raise money for a common cause? Let people contribute from anywhere using a QR code that points to a donation page. There are also many ways that nonprofit organizations can use QR codes not only to raise funds, but educate the community about your mission.

Whether you’re running for class president of your high school, or local office at any level, QR codes can be an effective tool for political campaigns to let people know more about your platform, volunteer to get involved, send feedback or learn about an upcoming rally.

Youth Sports Teams
It can be difficult for busy parents to keep track of practice schedules and game locations. A QR code can point everyone to the most current information wherever they are on their smartphone. You can even build out a mobile team website that includes other info like team rosters and coach contacts.

We’ve all become used to seeing QR codes used in advertising, and it won’t be too long before you’ll start seeing them in all sorts of everyday personal communications as well. After all, when used properly QR codes are just another tool that can make our lives easier and more engaging by extending the reach of our communication.

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Apple and Google Will Never Build-In a QR Code Scanner into Smartphones

Posted on September 6th, 2012 by

It’s true!  Google and Apple won’t build-in QR Code scanning functionality unless marketers give consumers a good reason to scan QR Codes, make them easy to scan, and provide a frustration-free experience so consumers will scan again the next time they spot a QR Code.

Integrating QR Code scanning as a core function of the next generation of smartphones could be shot in the foot for companies like Google and Apple.  Why, might you ask?  When the average smartphone user scans a QR Code and has a frustrating experience they’re not going to care why it was a pain and will likely place blame on the phone itself.  In short, Apple and Google will look bad because many marketers have ignored the basics of marketing altogether.  (Check out Easily Avoidable QR Code Mistakes and QR Code Best Practices for more info on how to use QR Codes successfully.)

Many supporters of QR Codes, including the Qfuse team, would love to see Apple and Google include a native QR Code scanner into the next release of their smartphone platforms because of the potential QR Codes have for connecting consumers and supporters to different organizations.  In a recent Tech Crunch article, Brenden Mulligan explained the situation very well: “QR codes simplify {bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds} even more. It’s much easier for me to scan a code and have it take me directly to {an organizations} Twitter page than have to type in their username. Or even better, if I get a reward for taking a digital action, like filling out a survey, it’s easier to get me to the survey with a scanned code than giving me a URL to enter.”  Brenden suggests, “To truly take QR codes to the mainstream, Apple and Google should actually build a scanner into the camera logic.”  We think he’s right!

A few weeks back Glenn Fleishman went as far as to post an article on TidBITS outlining how the QR Code scanning functionality could be built into iPhones.  Glenn, you’re definitely onto something!  Regardless of how this plays out in the next generation of smartphones one thing is for certain: the better marketers get at engaging consumers with QR Codes, the greater the incentive Apple and Google will have to add a built-in native QR Code scanner into their smartphones and ultimately skyrocket the usage of this great technology.

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