Those strange-looking shape-filled squares you've been seeing lately may not look like much, but they are very likely the next big thing in marketing and branding for U.S. businesses. With a simple snap of a smartphone, that unassuming graphic sends valuable information instantly to potential customers, which for some businesses can mean the difference between a sale or a walk-away.
What is this magic marketing bullet you ask? Its common moniker is a "QR code," and it is essentially a two-dimensional bar code much like the bar codes that have become so ubiquitous in the retail world. But it is oh so much more! Each QR code (QR stands for quick response) is composed of tiny shapes that can be read both horizontally and vertically. The turbo-charged design means that when activated, this code can implement complex actions, such as opening a web page, downloading a video or sending a text message. It's a way of providing instant information, integrating print and multimedia capabilities, capturing data on the spot and otherwise engaging your customer through the use of today's new mobile technology.
"It's growing very rapidly," comments Mike Wehrs in an article on Newsobserver.com. Wehrs is the president of Scanbuy, a New York QR code development and management company that produces one of the most popular codes: ScanLife. "It's not something where you'd say people don't know what's going on, but it's not 100 percent out there yet either."
But whether or not people don't know about these codes yet, they definitely will in the near future. According to the article, Scanbuy data shows QR code generation and usage has increased by 700 percent since January 2009 with the number of scans in the United States increasing from around 1,000 a day to more than 35,000 a day. That's an awful lot of people clicking their smartphones for more information. But it seems that's what people want nowadays.