Last Friday, I was quoted in a story that WNYC, National Public Radio’s New York affiliate station, aired about how retailers were using 2D barcodes this holiday shopping season. Although the story did not go into any great detail about 2D barcode technology, there is a quote in the story that I believe is worth mentioning.
A women interviewed for the story said, “Googling is a much better way to find information than going up to an ad from a company and scanning some information that they want to give you.” While I do not know what this particular woman’s familiarity with and possible use of 2D barcodes has been, it does, however, make me wonder (and worry) about what other peoples’ impressions are of 2D barcodes and how companies make use of and offer the technology to consumers.
At face value, if this is the impression that a consumer may have of the technology then, as an advertiser, I would work that much harder to 1) educate consumers about 2D technology, and 2) make sure my next 2D campaign delivered content, and more importantly an experience, that was truly meaningful, relevant and of value (i.e., nothing that a simple Google search could ever deliver).
As I have said in previous articles, if an advertiser chooses to use 2D barcodes then they must/should assume the responsibility of helping to educate and inform the public about the technology. Failure to do so will not stop the public from learning about and scanning the codes, that will happen regardless, but it will slow the adoption rate that much more. All it takes is a couple of lines of copy in an advertisement to help consumers learn and find their way, in addition to well thought out and executed campaigns. With both of these items covered, consumers will want to scan and discover what lies on the other side of the barcode time and time again. As an advertiser, keep thinking what’s in it for them, the consumer.