You’ve seen them all, haven’t you? QR codes on billboards beside highways. QR codes on posters close to the floor so no one can really scan them. QR codes linking to Flash videos that don’t play on mobile phones. QR codes on posters deep below the ground in metro stations. Well, it doesn’t need to be like that – your QR code marketing campaign can and should (!) be driving meaningful ROI!

Why am I so sure about it? Because at Splitter we have seen plenty of successful QR code campaigns by brands like Coca-Cola, Maserati, Carlsberg and others that have both engaged millions of consumers and surpassed marketers’ business goals. You can find a few great campaign examples in this article from practical ecommerce.

Not the best idea ever. Flying QR code.
A huge moving QR code in the sky. Most likely not the wisest use of QR code ever.

As we can see from the above image, QR codes are certainly not meant for every ad. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use them where it makes sense.

They can be an effective offline marketing tactic for:

  • driving mobile app downloads
  • helping people find your nearest store
  • engaging consumers in big brands contests
  • helping customers find contextually relevant information (real estate listing info, video product information, etc.)
  • conference handouts with detailed agenda
  • direct way of enabling purchases through offline marketing material
  • and many other cases.

In this post I am going to focus on 3 main aspects that should help you start planning your next QR code marketing campaign:

  1. You need to start with a clear goal of your QR code marketing campaign
  2. You should identify your target customer group as soon as possible
  3. And finally – you should define a special incentive to scan a QR code

1. Start With a Goal of your QR Code Marketing Campaign

Don’t set up a QR code just because your competitor has done it. Think deeply about what you really want to achieve with your use of QR codes. Otherwise, it might end being yet another failed experiment.

Business Goal QR Code Marketing Campaign

What would you consider a successful campaign? It heavily depends on your business. For example, if you are in the real estate business and have an interactive QR code ad for a specific listing, even just a few scans by the right prospects could be considered a success. Alternatively, a big brand name might need a few thousand scans of its ad to justify the use of QR codes.

2. Identify Your Target Customers and Their Needs

After you have set a clear goal for your offline QR code campaign, you need to identify your target customer group: who are really the people that you are targeting with the QR code campaign?

customer_personaIt is absolutely crucial that you dig into this and try to define the personas as clearly as possible. The deeper you dig into your personas, the easier it will be to design the QR code experience throughout your campaign. Think about it: if you can picture your target customer confidently, you are no longer guessing. Instead, you are now designing a seamless customer experience.

Successfully defined personas should give you information about the age, gender, behavior, mobile usage, etc. of your prospective customers. If you’ve never done this before, you can help yourself with this nifty template from our friends at Hubspot.

Why is this so important for your QR code marketing campaign? First of all, it helps you see if there is actually a good reason for you to use QR codes. For example, it doesn’t make much sense to place a QR code on a product which is primarily used by 60 year olds. Furthermore, this exercise helps you craft more compelling messages later on and adapt your campaign incentives to the target customer group.

3. Define Your Special Incentive to Scan

Put yourself in the position of your potential customers. Why should they scan the QR code? What is in it for them? Can they win an award, can they maybe obtain something unique that they can’t get anywhere else? Think about this questions and design your campaign incentive around them.

My take on this: spend some quality time and define a clear incentive that is aligned with your target customer group. I’ve seen it way too many times – lack of clear incentive can single-handedly bring conversion rates to the ground. Don’t make this mistake.

Later on, a clear incentive will help you craft compelling CTAs (Call-to-Actions), which we’ll cover in some of the next blog posts.


That’s it for the planning stage of your QR code marketing campaign: if you’ve successfully followed the 3 steps above you’ve got your fundamentals covered.

In our next blog posts in the QR code series we’ll focus on how you proceed from the planning stage to the actual execution of the campaign. Subscribe to our email newsletter and get all our future marketing blog posts straight into your inbox!

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Originally posted 2013-05-07 16:06:07.

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