Show organizers ask me this all the time. But what is really hotter right now – using QR codes or talking about them? In the trade show and event industry, I say it’s definitely the latter.
The use of barcodes has been prevalent at trade shows for years now (and don’t let that mystical display of pixels fool you, a QR code is just another type of barcode). We use barcodes in registration to quickly identify pre-registered attendees picking up their credentials, in sessions to track attendance, and in lead retrieval to share contact information between attendees and exhibitors. Furthermore, as you can imagine, there are always going to be people out there who need to buy barcodes, and the retail sector is probably where the majority of barcodes are purchased. So why are QR codes not in this mix?
Here’s why. QR codes aren’t any better at doing these things than the 1D and 2D barcodes currently in use. In fact, in some ways they are worse. Ok, sure… QR codes LOOK a lot cooler. But what is that ‘coolness’ worth to you? Seriously, put a dollar amount on it. Because changing from one type of barcode to another type of barcode will require some monetary investment. So what’s it worth to you to look cooler? Why do I suddenly feel like I’m back in high school?
The good news is that QR codes are exceptionally better at doing other things! They are a fantastic way to share media-rich content quickly and easily. QR codes excel at taking a flat, printed surface or piece of paper and making it come to life. Heck, in Seattle, QR Codes are bringing the dead to life. There is a monument maker there putting QR Codes on headstones (Seattle Times). Creepy? Arguably, yes. But what a great way to share pictures, videos and memories of the deceased with generations to come.
Do you have a fancy new brochure you spent thousands of dollars producing but you can’t figure out a cost-effective and green distribution method? Maybe you have a video featuring some highlights from last year’s keynote address? Why not share these via a QR code placed on the printed ad you already are running in your industry magazines?
So, show organizers, my question to you is, “What are you doing with QR Codes?”