QR Codes, Microsoft Tags and Marketing

DC Circulator, On-Q Marketing

Here are a few examples of QR codes and Microsoft tags I have seen recently.

DC Circulator

I was in the Washington DC area in early April enjoying the Cherry Blossom Festival and sharing time with my son and his wife. To get around the DC area we choose to use the metro system and the surface buses call the DC Circulator.  A cheap ride around town for a buck.  While at a transfer point, I noticed the pole sign which had a map and a QR code on it.

DC circulator Bus mobile Screen, On-Q MarketingI took out my Smartphone and snapped the code. What was interesting about this use of a QR code, it displayed “real-time” bus information as to when I could expect the next bus at this particular spot. Of course, it was not exactly right to the minute, but it certainly gave me a good idea when I could expect to see the next bus.

The screen was simple and to the point.

Very convenient and helpful.  As a marketer, however, I wonder what opportunities were missed not selling a small ad that might also be location-based on the bottom of the screen.  Perhaps something like a mobile coupon for a coffee shop nearby or a link to a mobile landing page.  If the person has a few more minutes to wait, it might make it worthwhile to dash in ands grab something.  Now I know my son will say, “but dad, you know you can’t eat or drink on the bus.”

You still get my point, there is still enough screen real estate to support advertising as well. It could be something they might like to look into.

Green Label Sound, QR Code, On-Q MarketingTaco Bell

Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound is running a QR code on drink cups at Taco Bell.  I just had to scan the code as it offered “FREE MUSIC” Scanning the code took me to a landing page where I could select the song and then the music video or just play the song. A neat way to introduce new artists and their music to a target audience.  While I admit, I am not a big fan of some of the music offerings, I appreciate the neat way of exposing a wider audience to a variety of music.

The “Free Music” code offers new music every week. I wonder if Taco Bell will be replacing cups with new codes for that particular week, or will the same code from a cup bring you to the next selection?  Will this bring people back into a Taco Bell for a new cup and new music? I have my cup and will give it a try.

Costco, Best Buy and others

QR codes are certain popping up in all sorts of places.  I first saw them at a local Best Buy on shelf price tags.  Certainly a way to find out more information about an item that trying to hunt down a sales person or look for the box.  I found it helpful when checking out some digital SLR cameras. Certainly this would keep someone in the store longer and might just influence the purchase that same day. That also made me wonder if Best Buy is doing any analytics and ROI analysis on this use of QR codes?  The WR code generator I have used does not offer any analytics.

At Costco, I have seen QR codes on packaging and a QR code used in the Costco Connections monthly magazine mailed to my home (I have yet to switch to the digital form, I guess I am somewhat more traditional that way). Certainly both uses allow anyone with a smartphone to “snap the code” to find out more about the product.  If used properly each snap should take the person out to a mobile based landing page where analytics could certainly be used to measure effectiveness of the code, but then if they are only supplying information and not attempting to capture contact information with some sort of offer, what kind of ROI can this use bring?  Certainly the code use may help influence the sale, but it would be much harder to track.  (Maybe I just coined a phrase “Snap the code” or perhaps “Snapping” might be more to everyone liking and could be used for both QR codes or MS Tags.)

Microsoft Tags

Microsoft is always somewhat late to the party when it comes to adopting new technology, but I have begun seeing the multicolored tags in places.  Most recently I noticed on of the tags on the front page of the

On-Q Marketing's web site

USA today newspaper dropped in front of hotel door. USA To

day created the tag to offer a link to more stories and photos from that day’s issue.  It intrigued me to see what other news and stories I could see and “snapping” it, I landed on a neat USA To

day Mobile site. Since I did not snap a photo of the USA Today Tag, I went out to the Microsoft Tag web site to check out the creation process.

Now I have created QR codes using a free tool I have found, but that tool only creates the code and does nothing else. Microsoft on the other hand has not only offered people and businesses to create tags, but the site also offers limited reports.  Now this is something I might use and also recommend to many of my clients.  The price is right as well…FREE.

The tag to the right will take you to my web site. From your computer you can “snap this tag.”  I really need to create a mobile landing page for this, but yet, for demonstration purposes, you get the idea.

I will report back in a month with a brief post showing the reports. I probably will not see much, but still it is worth a shot. (If you don’t have a tag reader from your Smartphone goto http://gettag.mobi or Text “Tag” to 46676 to get a link to download the reader. Windows Phone users should be able to go out to the Marketplace and download a tag reader by doing a search for “tag reader.” Or you can go to the tag web site and click the link on the page to get a tag reader.)

So there are QR codes and Tags and I have seen a good number of uses in the B2C arena.  I really think the B2B marketers need to look into how they can use this tactic to reach out to the tech savvy user, especially those B2B technology companies.  Would that not add to your industry leading status and image by using this technology ahead of your competition?  I can see this being used on direct mail, trade journal ads, trade show banners, direct emails, newsletters, blog posts, and so many other ways. Have you seen any good uses of QR codes or Tags in B2B marketing?  Let me know, post a link in a comment, or send me an email with a scan.  I will share the ideas in a future post.

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About Jeff Quandt

Jeff Quandt is an Inbound and Digital Marketing Strategist and owns On-Q Marketing LLC. He helps businesses get found in a Google Search bringing prospects to business' website to generate leads.

Then through Inbound Marketing tactics qualify the lead, nurture the lead, and ultimately converting the lead/prospect into a customer.

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