Four-month-old, Cincinnati, Ohio-based SmartyTags has a decidedly different approach to the technology of QR codes. Rather than just focusing on the technology, its focus is on how best to use them as a marketing tool, track uses of each code and make them part of an integrated marketing campaign.
As QR codes have advanced with the introduction of Microsoft Tags and Datamatrix codes adding to the existing QR codes introduced by Toyota’s Denso Wave, interest in how best to utilize them has increased particularly among local businesses as another direct way of tracking their media spending. We are now seeing QR codes appear on real estate signs, outdoor boards, storefronts and even on wine bottles.
Most small businesses, however, have been challenged by using QR codes because each program required a new code and often they had to pay per code and for each scan making them difficult to use and manage. What local and national advertisers have been looking for is a more accurate way of tracking QR code usage beyond how many scans were received.
“SmartyTags has developed a platform with analytics that helps address many of the early concerns about using and managing QR codes,” says J.B. Kropp, CEO of SmartyTags. “Much like SEM dashboards, SmartyTags can not only tell advertisers the number of scans, but where the scan took place, what mobile platform was used and what time of day the scan occured — all important to maximizing media spending and evaluating the success of campaigns in various locations or media.”
Coming from a marketing background, SmartyTags’ platform approach shows local and national advertisers how best to utilize the QR code by offering such options as connecting to a special Web site URL, which may contain promotional offers or more detailed information, simple contact information, a Facebook “like” button for a product or service, a simple text message, a prepared Twitter message, online video or delivery directly to a shopping cart. “Our platform provides a simple self-serve format that is easy to use and understand. We also host and develop campaign elements that can be rotated in and out making the process even easier to manage,” says Kropp.
One of the new features being introduced by SmartyTags and others is the notion of a single QR code or tag where the creative link can be changed eliminating the need for multiple codes. In the case of small and medium-sized businesses, they may only need a few codes and may only receive a few hundred scans over a month’s time. Eliminating the need for new codes for each execution makes using QR codes more attractive to a wider number of local advertisers. Offering a managed solution providing campaign development and creative flexibility, based on timing or campaigns, will truly allow QR codes to catch on with SMBs and drive the usage deeper in the local space. With the continuing growth of smartphone adoption and QR code reader applications, QR codes are well-positioned to become a vital part of local media campaigns.