Creativity, as has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.
- George KnellerIn response to my recent post about my frustration with the uselessness of QR codes, a dear friend introduced me to a friend of hers who is an expert on the subject. So today I had a great chat with Andy Meadows at a company called 44Doors.
Andy's task today was to convince me that QR codes are not, in fact, useless. He began with real use-cases (albeit in a consumer setting) of nightclubs who seek to better serve their customers. In a loud, crowded place, it can be hard to get your waitstaff to come to your table, but with a QR code, and a socially enabled waitstaff, you can let them know that you need another bottle of bubbly at table 10.
Clever. Didn't really fit into my event needs, beyond the really cool exciting thing we're planning at Dell World this October (which I will tell you all about afterwards!).
My biggest complaints about QR codes are as follows:
- Less than half of attendees have a QR reader on their phone.
- The half that don't have them, don't know how to get them.
- The half that do have them, spend a laughable amount of time trying to get them to work at varying distances from the source QR code image.
- When you do get them to work, they tend to either take you to a contact form (which most of us are highly unlikely to complete on our phones), or they take you to a generic website, that we're certainly not going to sit around and read right then and there in the middle of an expo floor. Sometimes they open a pdf... and on my Android phone, opening a .pdf is such a hassle that I give up.
- From an event manager perspective, I get no metrics beyond the number of hits, potentially the type of device that hit the URL, and the IP address it came from.
First of all, you're thinking about QR codes all wrong. You don't just create a code and link it to a generic, non-mobility-enabled URL. You work with a company (maybe a company like 44Doors!) to create all of the QR codes for you.
- You can have a QR reader embedded into your mobile event app, so when attendees download the app for their agenda, they get the QR reader, too.
- Now they have one.
- By staffing your expo area with trained company folks who know the proper technique, scanning a QR code can be a conversation engagement opportunity between staff and attendees.
- The QR reader from the app can be attached to their profile from the app and their registration so they never have to go to a long contact form that they would skip. At most, they would enter their email address to connect it - not a huge obstacle for smartphone users.
- By using a QR code programmed into the app, you capture all of the information about every QR code scanned, what kind of device was used, timestamp, and all contact information for the person using it. You can even do timed URLs on the QR codes so that if it is scanned at noon, they get a special lunch coupon, but scanned at 5pm gets them a drink ticket.