Last week, an article was published on MediaPost Publications by Mark Walsh titled, “NFC To Eclipse QR Codes.” In the article, Mr. Walsh repeatedly cites a recent Yankee Group study, which makes the case for NFC and how the technology “will eventually trump QR Codes in terms of usability, security and capacity.” Not for nothing, but I believe Mr. Walsh (and Nick Holland, the author of the Yankee Group study) is way off base. Why? Simple. It’s not a zero sum game.
As I often tell clients and readers, it’s my belief that QR Codes and NFC can coexist in the marketplace, as well as in a marketer’s tool box. Between the two technologies, they each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and each one may or may not serve to accomplish the goals and objectives of a certain situation or campaign, either standalone or in tandem. Why people feel the need to place “bets” or make predictions on the future of QR Codes, NFC, augmented reality, etc. I have no idea. Sure there is business to be had by QR Code and NFC providers but, from a marketer’s perspective, that should not matter, or it should matter less. What should be most important to a marketer is that he/she learns about and understands the capabilities, functionality, cost and best practices that are associated with each technology and how and why either technology can or should be used to establish a remarkable brand/mobile/interactive experience.
Each technology has its own merits but, beyond this, what’s really at play is the print to digital experience itself and the content that stands behind the technology. An advertiser can make use of the hottest technology on the market, but if the underlying campaign offers very little to the consumer or is poorly implemented then it will all be for naught and the brand will suffer in the long term.