QR (Quick Response) codes can either be a marketer’s worst nightmare, or their biggest asset, but it all depends on if they are being used correctly, as well as effectively. QR codes started popping up everywhere as a mobile marketing tool to disseminate information to the masses using the method of scanning. Instead of searching for information, you could now scan a code and instantly have the information at your fingertips. It was a way to connect the offline world to the online world. Yes, QR codes are still used in the world of healthcare marketing today, but the real question is, are they relevant?

There are various factors that set the QR code up for failure from the beginning of its presence in the marketing world. QR codes were designed to be operated by smartphone users, but until recently, Apple and Android had yet to develop a phone with a QR code reader pre-loaded onto their phones. To be able to scan a QR code, you had to take the extra step to download a QR reader application. Though it seems fairly simple, the need for this additional step makes users lose interest and abandon the thought of scanning.

Today, the healthcare marketing industry has done a praiseworthy job utilizing the QR code to its fullest potential finding various ways to incorporate it effectively into everyday efforts. Uses we see today include, but are not limited to:

  • Outdoor advertising for hospitals, medical groups and emergency rooms include QR codes so passing traffic can receive more information on directions to these facilities.
  • Pharmaceutical advertising and informational pamphlets will use QR codes so viewers can get more product information that doesn’t fit within the existing creative.
  • Healthcare facilities will use QR codes to provide visitors with maps, directions and floor numbers.
  • Medical and dental tradeshow exhibitors will provide QR codes on distributed materials that bring attendees to feature videos or additional product information.
  • Pharmacies are utilizing QR codes that are loaded with prescription prices by insurance company plans on their websites so providers can compare medications.
  • Medications, health foods and other healthcare items are using QR codes in their packaging to provide consumers with more information on the product right there in the store.

Nevertheless, in recent research on the QR code, there are many aspects shaping up in support of the QR code. With healthcare marketers properly executing the QR code with benefits that exceed the negatives, I say the QR code is here to stay!

So overall, the debate of the QR code’s life span is really in the hands of the marketer. Using the mobile marketing tool correctly will expand its life beyond its already 5-year existence.