Do You Know What A Smart Tag Is or Even How To Decode it?

Technology is getting farther along than I think most Americans can keep up with.  Do you know what this funky box is to the left?  Well it’s a smart tag a or a QR code 2D bar code.  It’s similar to the scanning bar codes found on all grocery products that give you the cost of food, or maybe used for sale items.  But they are now being incorporated as a marketing tool as well.

You can create them for free, you don’t have some expensive software to do it.  Microsoft has a free service that you can create these tags, used to direct people that have a smartphone with scanning ability back to any web address you prefer.

Are you still wondering how businesses are using this code?  Well they can use it to direct people back to a landing page to sign up for a course, newsletter or ebook.  It can be used for a registration tool for large conference and seminars.  You can even use it to direct people back to your product or catalog page.  Sounds great wow, right?

But I ask you, how many of you have the ability on your smartphones to scan this pretty box in to get to these ebooks, newsletters or to sign up for the business expo?  Probably not many.  You have to download the reader onto your smartphone which can take long to download and is taking up space on your phone.  According to the report done by the Nielsen Co. they projected by the end of 2011, only about 49% of Americans will actually have a smartphone.  But even if you have one like me, do you have the actual reader on your phone to scan a smart tag?  Do you have the time to download it and what will you get from doing all that?

The craze around smart tags is really becoming the “in” thing for marketers.  Have you seen the interesting campaign that Macy’s has started the “Backstage Pass?”

It’s a very interesting and well thought out campaign.  I love how they branded their Macy’s star into the actual smart tag, they actually show you a video on their website of how to scan the tag and what you will get from doing that.  Videos of tips and tricks from the designers.  But my question to you is, would you actually spend the time while you are shopping to scan these codes into your phone?  It would be great if they could have incorporated an optin screen that would allow the people scanning the tag to be able to get information on sales or coupons about the designer they are scanning but I don’t see that done.  Here is a great article about the campaign and notice the comments.  Very interesting comments and really things that marketers need to think about before they spend money and time jumping on the technology bandwagon.

Here is a link to a vendor who is incorporating and printing QR codes right on to apparel now.  Even political campaigns are incorporating them into their fundraising campaigns.  I just received a flyer in the mail today with the smart tag on the back of it.

I think this is a very exciting and interesting marketing idea, however, I think that businesses need to think it all through before spending time, energy and money before entering into the world of the SMART Tag or QR code.

My question to all of you is do you have the reader software on your smartphone, and if you use these new fangled technology what do you use it for?

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