QR Codes have become ubiquitous – just as they’re falling out of favor with advertisers. Bloomberg BusinessWeek July 2-July 8, 2012.

Image Image by: socialnomics.net

By 2016, 38% of all phones will be Smart Sticker enabled. Bloomberg BusinessWeek July 16-July 22, 2012.

During the same month one of our leading business magazines offer compelling stories on two revolutionary creations that are fueling mobile phone use and continuing the evolution of smartphone technology. As marketing professionals struggle to find ways to grasp the most effective use of existing technology to drive consumer attention and sales, potential new ways of building consumer interest continue to surface.  Sometimes it seems advertisers use technology as a symbol of being up-to-date with modern technology regardless of ROI; but many others have the right idea behind the tactic.

QR codes have become common place on print ads, truck signs, billboards and tombstones; the latter takes the visitor through the life and achievements of the deceased.  What’s interesting is more and more magazine ads offer QR codes, yet only 5% of Americans scanned a code between May and July 2011. Part of the problem may be the inappropriate application of the codes, but surely disappointment regarding content at the other side of the code can be the cause.  If every time a consumer accesses a QR code an attractive offer or unique product/service opportunity pops up, the share of use would certainly be higher.

Smart Stickers will go through the same process; although not new, it is just now getting itself recognized as a viable marketing tool.  The near field communication (NFC) technology that allows a smartphone to tap data right into the screen “like magic” will be used both smartly and unwisely during the next few years. Of course, there will be homeruns, and as with the QR codes some applications will be boring and inappropriate. In 2012, 21 million NFC enabled smartphones will be shipped in the US (186 million globally) and Apple seems to be ready to add this chip to new phone deliveries. Will advertisers run behind these eyeballs in view of this fast growth before something more exciting comes along?

We believe that both technologies should thrive and both will be part of multicultural market initiatives.  Not just because it’s new, but as part of plans that depend on shopper marketing to leverage targeted sales at the point of sale.  The future is here; we are ready for it! Are you?

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