Level 2 Blog

How Can You Use QR Codes in your Promotional Marketing Plan?

Posted by Susan Deering on Thu, May 01, 2014

In today's savvy field of advertising, you want to use methods that are new and fresh and will garner the attention you are looking for. One new trend you may want to consider is QR Codes.

What are QR Codes?

You've probably seen a few of these around. They are popping up everywhere. QR Code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is a type of matrix or two-dimensional barcode which was first designed for the automotive industry in Japan to help track parts. After marketing companies realized just how useful these codes could be due to their quick readability and the possiblity to provide additional information along with their campaigns, theya re being used pretty much everywhere. You can find them on billboards, newspapers, business cards, street signs, websites, cereal boxes and promotional items such as t-shirts mugs, gum packs, stress relievers, magnets and key chains.

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What information can they provide?

Virtually anyone can instantly access information, connect to a website, or even watch a “how to” video, simply by scanning a barcode on a product package, a business card, a billboard, or even a store display window. They represent a new and powerful way to engage consumers, employees, groups, spectators and friends.


Technically speaking

A QR code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device (such as a cell phone); data is then extracted from patterns present in both horizontal and vertical components of the image. This information will then be displayed on your phone.


How do you read the code?

You simply download a QR code reader app onto your cell phone, and voila! Instant access to the information that your code is linked to.


qr code reader


How do you generate a code?

There are many companies online that do this for a small fee. Google is one of them. Are consumers actually scanning QR codes? As it is a fairly new trend, not everyone is using them. Yet. For your customers who do use them, they will appreciate your technical knowledge. For those that don’t, it will create a curiosity about the codes and what message they are missing out on.

qr coffee cup


Statistically speaking

Scanbuy Inc., the worlds leading mobile engagement solutions provider released its quarterly trend report showing that it processed nearly 24 million mobile barcode and NFNC scans in Q3 2013, demonstrating continuing strong growth I usage and interest by mobile consumers. Highlights from the Q3 2013 report include:

  • The most popular type of content accessed in mobile engagement campaigns was video, product information, app downloads, customer relationship management and news

  • Industries who saw the most scans included food and beverage, consumer electronics, retail, media and wireless

  • 64% of scans came from Android OS devices compared to 34% on Apple iOS devices

  • The top profiles of Android scanners included value shoppers, catalogue shoppers, casual and social gamers, social influencers and entertainment enthusiasts

  • The top profiles of Apple iOS users included value shoppers, casual and social gamers, auto enthusiasts, music lovers and social influencers

  • 23% of users were returning users with men ages 35-44 composing the highest percentage of that group

  • The average scan per user was 3.7 with women ages 35-44 scanning more than any other demographic

Scanlife.com October 17, 2013


Is it right for my business? 

All signals point to increased usage in the last few years. It is certainly being used by the 25 – 44 year old demographic, and those with a higher tech interest, so if either of these groups is who you are targeting, you may want to consider this new type of marketing. QR codes are relatively inexpensive to use, so it may be something you want to test out as part of your marketing plan.

l2 gum qr code


Tips for Using QR Codes on Your Promotional Items

1. Flat = Legibility - Make sure the QR code will be displayed flat, not with folds or bumps that can compromise a QR code reader and impact the effectiveness of your campaign.

2. Double Up - Add a printed message as an alternative for those who need it. While this technology is mainstreaming, it is still new to some.

3. Visibility - Publish codes where they’ll have the greatest impact. QR codes can be placed on any physical surface such as a product package, magazine advertisement or billboard. The sky’s the limit!

4. Don't Overdo It - Use QR codes judiciousy. There is a tendency with any gimick to overdo it, so use them only when you need to get additional information out to the end user.


Where do you go when you need special, unique and creative promotional items to put your QR code on? The team at Level 2 Sportswear is waiting for you. We will work with you to source the perfect promotional product, trade show giveaway, corporate gift, or to develop a safety and service award program that your employees are sure to love. 


Topics: promotional products, corporate products, promotional marketing, level2sportswear, ad specialties, corporate logo, promotional items, advertising