QR codes are everywhere and their application in a B2C market seems both entrenched and endless. They’re on posters, magazine ads, direct mail, clothing and even office buildings. So what if you aren’t promoting to consumers but rather to other businesses - can QR codes be an effective marketing tool for B2B?
Let’s think about it. The objectives for using QR codes are to stay top of mind with existing customers while driving interest and engagement to both existing and new businesses. This is ultimately the same objective for most B2C and B2B companies. Therefore, QR codes can clearly be used in a B2B market - the only question is how to do so effectively.
Before we explore ‘how’ to do it, let’s take a step back and provide some context.
What is a QR Code?
A QR code, aka Quick Response Code, is a two-dimensional barcode linking the physical world to the virtual online world with a quick scan using a smartphone. These barcodes can embed URLs linking users to web pages, YouTube videos, social media pages such as Twitter and Facebook or simply to an email address, phone number or vCard – the list goes on. With close to half of all mobile phone users in Canada owning a smartphone and penetration rising, the capability of scanning will only continue to grow.
For businesses, QR codes are a great way to conveniently and instantaneously engage your audience via their mobile device. However, it is important to ensure you have a mobile friendly webpage. This will provide a positive user experience and avoid forcing users to zoom and scroll around to find what they’re looking for.
For B2C marketers, how QR codes are leveraged is limited only by your imagination - whether to download a coupon, enter a contest, complete a survey…the list is endless. But for B2B marketers, their potential application has to be considered from a more strategic perspective.
Here are some ideas on how B2B marketers can use QR codes:
1. Business cards:
- Add your contact information into an address book without having to type in the details.
- Send an email or text message.
- Dial your phone number.
- Locate your business on Google maps.
2. Marketing materials:
- Showcase your product with a video demo on brochures.
- Add testimonial videos on your direct mail.
- Place them in your catalog with a direct line to your sales department or product specifications.
3. Products or packaging:
- Link to a product installation video or manual.
- Link to how to video instructions of various product features.
4. Trade shows:
- On your display panels, linked to your feature product or catalog.
- Submit email addresses to be added to e-marketing lists.
- Request a sales follow-up.
5. Link to social media
- Link it to your blog.
- Follow you on Twitter.
- Like you on Facebook.
6. Outdoor signage or corporate vehicles
- Capture prospects in other vehicles by linking to your mobile website.
- Link to sales centre inquiry email or phone number.
- Link to your business location.
In essence, QR codes make it easier for customers and prospects to engage with you using a platform that most already have access to. If you’re a B2B organization, don’t be afraid to use them. Just remember, behind every business there is an individual who is either an influencer or decision maker. This individual is also a consumer. More and more consumers now have smartphones and the trend is only continuing to rise. Why not offer the convenience of QR codes and allow your audience to use the channel of their choice to engage with your business? This is your chance to get ahead of the competition and make it work for you in B2B!
Manager, Integrated Marketing Channels, SBS
Pitney Bowes North America