Why QR Codes don’t work and the one big thing agencies are missing.
Yesterday a friend sent me this article entitled “Why the QR code is failing.” It’s a great read, but you kind of walk away from it thinking, “Well, DUH!” The analysis is so common sense that it makes you wonder why QR codes are so misused by so many agencies these days.
I think the answer is bigger than agencies not being creative enough. I think it has to do with the fact that very few agencies take the time anymore to truly work up a communication strategy for their clients.
It seems like more and more, clients come to an agency with a predetermined media plan in place. “Hey, we need some banners and a microsite.” or “We’re running two full page ads in this magazine. Come up with something.” And of course, we do it. But rarely do we stop to ask why we’re doing it. Or if it’s the best use of the client’s money. Or if there’s a better way to communicate our message.
That pitfall is even more pronounced with online technologies. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, thinks they need a Facebook page. No one ever stops to ask why. I’ve seen agency after agency recommend Twitter – but they can’t communicate a real reason for it other than vague SEO value or even more vague “conversation with the consumer” bullshit. And it’s the same with QR codes. We slap them on everything from print ads to bus sides without thinking how they’ll be used, what they’ll be used for, or even why they’d be used in the first place.
I’ve seen QR codes in the subway… where there’s no cell phone reception. I bet 90% of the websites that QR codes send you to aren’t optimized for mobile devices. I’ve even seen QR codes that are used to download a PDF of the ad you just read.
See what I mean? Nobody thinks through the most basic issues with QR codes, and that’s because no one thinks through the larger strategy of why you’d need to use QR codes in the first place.
Now this is definitely not to say QR codes (or Facebook or Twitter or any other technology) are worthless. I just don’t see the work being put in to truly understand what media mix really is important. And until we do that, nothing else matters.
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Tags: Commentary, ridiculous, technology