QR Codes as a Marketing Tool

by Pat Alexander on February 16, 2011 · 10 comments

Elizabeth Lowe has been the Marketing Coordinator of Brownstone Insurance since early 2010.  She focuses much of her efforts on social media and web optimization.  Prior to her current position, she worked as the Marketing Coordinator for several non-profits and as a Marketing Assistant in an advertising/PR agency located in South Coast Massachusetts.

In terms of marketing, insurance agencies have the task of convincing consumers that they are not the “big, bad insurance agency,” out to take their money.  Brainstorming innovative ways to reach consumers on a personal level has usually lead me to social media, but recently I discovered another marketing tool that has recently been gaining popularity: QR codes.

Brownstone Contact Us QR Code

I honestly did not know what those little barcode-like symbols were when I first saw one on a magazine I was reading.  I had to ask my fiancé who works in IT to explain to me what they were.

A QR code is simply a custom layout of black modules arranged on a white background in the shape of a square that can be scanned and “read” by QR readers on smart phones.  Smart phones require the use of a QR Reader to scan and “read” the code, and you can easily access a QR Reader via your phone’s App store.

Anyone has the ability to create a custom QR code using any number of generators easily found by searching the internet.  Simply google “QR code generator” and you will be greeted with a number of choices.  Once created, they can be linked to a URL, they can display contact information or general text, or open a new email or SMS message.  This gives marketers the freedom to choose what medium they want the viewer to see upon scanning the code.
Here at Brownstone Insurance, I use these codes in two ways:

  1. I created a page on our website which contains little-known facts about our organization that is accessible only by scanning the code contained in each staff member’s email signature,
  2. I am developing You Tube videos directed towards specific target demographics that we will link to QR codes and incorporate in appropriate marketing materials, i.e. brochures, postcards, social media profiles etc.  The hidden webpage was the most-viewed page on our site during the month that this tactic was implemented.  That was probably due mostly to the same curiosity that I experienced the first time I saw one, but that’s ok.  People were taking a positive interest in our company, and isn’t that a main goal of your marketing?

There’s much to be said for being creative in your marketing.  Consumers as well as competing businesses notice when you are the first to try a new technique or to reach out to the public in an original way.

It’s too early to tell whether QR codes will be something we’ve tried or something we continue to use here at Brownstone Insurance, but you never know whether a method will be successful if you do not try it.

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