Marketing Use of QR Codes On the Rise

Recently, we wrote about findings from an MGH study showing that about a third of consumers have used QR codes, but nearly three quarters said they would use them in the future. Marketers seem to be banking on that 70 percent (and the impact that mobile will have) because we’ve noticed a number of campaigns in just the past couple of weeks where the QR code is central.

The Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau sent us a note about their 2011 Visitors Guide, which has a QR code on that cover that sends users to a contest page and allows them to download a travel apps guide for free. The guide is also chock-full of QR codes.

“The growth of cell phone users with GPS-enabled smartphones has changed the way we market our destination to business and leisure visitors. This new tool has already marked the next major transformation in our travel industry,” said Mary Smith, president of the HHRVB in a written statement.

Retailer Brookstone announced this week that QR codes containing product reviews, video, and other information will be available in 30 stores in New York and New Jersey. The U.K.’s Radisson Edwardian has added a QR code to its restaurant menu, Marketing reports. And the Wall Street Journal is asking where QR codes may turn up in NYC now that construction sites and real estate ads are now some of the places that feature them. (PR firm Quinn & Co.has also noticed this.)

Our previous post about QR codes raised the issues associated with them. *Update: Those issues have also been raised by Time magazine’s Techland blog, which notes that Google is testing Near Field Communications, and from Ad Age’s Kunur Patel, who prefers Zoove over QR codes. (h/t on that Ad Age story to @Grant_D.)

But as “necessity is the mother of invention,” it’s a safe prediction that increased use of QR codes will fuel better technology to service them.