What is a QR Code?

Even if you’ve never heard of a QR code, there is a good chance you’ve seen one with their rising popularity in marketing campaigns lately. Derek Johnson, CEO of Tatango explains what a QR code is, why they were invented and what you can do with them. Have questions about QR codes or how you’re to use them in your own mobile marketing campaign? Let us know in the comments below and we’d love to help!


Video Transcription

Hey everyone, Derek Johnson from Tatango.com. Have you seen one of these things around, maybe on a billboard, maybe on TV? Well, a lot of people think that it’s from aliens, but really it’s not. It’s actually from marketers, and what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to market to you. If you know how to interact with one of these, you’re going to have a lot of fun, especially with your mobile phone.

But, first, what are they called? Well, they’re called QR codes, quick response codes. Who made them? Not aliens. People from Toyota, in 1994, you know, way, way back in the day. What they did is they put them on car parts, so that as they’re building the Toyota car, they could track things throughout the warehouse. Pretty boring. Luckily, though, marketers have turned it into something pretty interesting.

What do you need to do to scan one of these QR codes, or quick response codes? Well, first, you have to have a mobile phone that is smart. What does that mean? Really a mobile phone, like an iPhone, that has Internet capabilities, that you can download apps on. Unfortunately, right now, though, 40% of people have a smart phone. That means 60% of people don’t. So, unfortunately, for those 60% of people, you might just think it’s from aliens, because you won’t be able to do anything with it. But for those 40%, you’re going to be able to have some fun with the QR code.

On the bright side, though, is the trend right now is going up, in terms of smart phone ownership, and within a few months or maybe even less than a year, we’ll be at a majority of people will own a smart phone. In five years, you’re looking at, like, 90% of people could own a smart phone. So these are going to become very, very popular very, very quick. So you, as a marketer, need to know what they are.

So, what you do is you download an app on your mobile phone, again, smart phone. I have an iPhone right here. And you scan it. You click the little scan button. Boom. And that’s all. Then what it will do, is it will tell the mobile phone what the heck you want it to do. There’s all kinds of things that you can do with a QR code or direct customers to something.

Let’s look at that. QR codes can download an app, open a video. So, YouTube, they can just direct you right to a video. How cool is that? You scan it and you see a video right on your mobile phone. They can open a URL. So it can be a mobile-enabled website, maybe for your business. It can compose an email or an SMS right on the phone. So it writes in who to, and then it puts subject, and even the body of the message. It can also download a vCard. Those vCards are those things that store, like on Gmail or your email system, that have your phone and your name and your number and your address. It can download all that right to your mobile phone. So some people are even putting them on business cards, so when you give a business card to somebody, they can easily scan it and have all your contact info right on their mobile phone.

The best part? They’re free! That’s the cool thing is that Toyota, they have the license for these, but they’re not enforcing it. So right now, everybody can download both a QR code reader for free, and they can make their own QR codes for free. So why not use a QR code? And with the rise in smart phone growth and penetration in the United States, they’re going to become very, very popular for marketing very, very soon.

So now you know what the heck is this QR code. The people that say they’re from aliens, now you can tell them differently.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com