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Integrated marketing, technology

What Comes After the QR Code?

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Jiri Marousek

Yes. It’s another shiny and pretty toy….

So the next shiny object is here and has been here for a while. At least this time, nobody is pitching you a $100,000 “deal” to sell you on mobile web, apps and SEO. A QR code is quick, cheap and as a designer likely pointed out to you already at some point, it’s an ugly blob of cubes that we can barely modify. (Actually we can modify them up to 30% due to built-in deterioration logic). Yes, they are a useful tool, but yet again we might be focusing on the shiny object a little tool much. There is little we can do about that though. Marketing people simply love their shiny objects, admittedly, including yours truly at times.

So what’s next?

But for once, let’s look further out than then latest post on Mashable or Memeburn to see what’s actually coming, not what everybody else is already doing.

A QR code is a simple directional sign. It can store a little bit of information that points you somewhere. A QR code itself is really nothing else than an arrow for your device to follow. The hard work is up to you. What do we bring the user to keep them engaged?

But a QR code is an ugly beast. And in the end, even the user interface for using QR codes is not the most elegant. You center, hold, hold … hoooold….that’s it. Done. Take me there….

For some reason, we fail to recognize the opportunity to increase the shine on the black and white blocks. If all we need from a print medium to direct users to content and engagement tools, there is a better way…

 

The mothership has the answer again…

Yup. Google is broaching the next big thing with Google Goggles. This technology that today brought us the capability to take a pic of a book and get prices from the web and reviews, or take a pic of an old building in Amsterdam and get everything from its noble architectural history to the name of the person that lives on that flat now.

It’s not ready today. I can’t really take a picture of truly anything just yet and get a result, but the race is on. And it might not be Google that hits it first.  But the end game for marketers is simple. Who will be the first to develop a pattern recognition application that lets me take a picture of a product, advertisement or grab a soundbyte and get a video, application or a secret contest landing page? Who will let users take a picture and go to an actionable next step, regardless if it is a business card, print ad or an audio clip? That is the true endgame.

Recognition of the object itself and the pattern that allows the user to interact with more engaging and richer content is the next progression beyond QR codes. Dare to question it? Bring it on!

Damn. More work for marketers.

The next challenge will be to get consumer to understand that there is a next step and value in truly every piece of media that we possess.  Especially the value part might be a tough one because we may be bringing consumers to a “call to action” overload. Having a great marketing idea that delivers value in this next step and a having great brand to deliver that experience is key.

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