Saturday, January 7, 2012

QR CODES - Any Value for Associations & Nonprofits?

I’ve been fascinated with QR codes for about three years ... goes way back to learning about RFID codes from a consumer marketing specialist back in 2004.

Trouble is I’ve not been able to find a viable use of QR codes for the associations I’ve managed or for which I’ve volunteered.

Now comes this story from Advertising Age titled “Why Marketer Love for QR Codes is NOT shared by Consumers.”


  • “While QR codes are affixed to everything from rental cars to Bratz dolls, only 5% of Americans who own mobile phones actually used the 2-D barcodes in the three months ending July 2011, according to Forrester Research. And those 14 million early adopters tended to be young, affluent and male.”
  •  “Experts cite three reasons that QR codes haven't caught on. First, people are confused about how to scan them. Two, there's little uniformity among the apps required to read them. Last, some who have tried the technology were dissuaded by codes that offer little useful information or simply redirect the user to the company's website.”
Since I see people as consumers first and association members second, this information is important for associations or nonprofits who are considering using QR codes.

Here are three key questions:

  1. Why am I considering putting a QR code on our materials? (Brochures, websites, emails, etc.) Will members be able to use it?
  2. Where will the QR code take them and will it be mobile-ready? Like a video or mobile app? 
  3. Will your use of the QR code add value to your members and/or potential members?
What do you think? Have you successfully used QR codes in your association? How? Please share your experiences in the comments.

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