During the lazy days of summer, it is fun to surf the Internet and find those little facts that might be interesting to quick printers. The world of print changes so quickly, it is hard to keep up.
Have you noticed Microsoft Tags are disappearing as QR codes grow in the barcode market? USA Today was once the one of the biggest users of Microsoft Tags, but it switched to QR codes at the end of 2011, and QR codes now adorn all the spots previously used by Tags. Use of QR codes continues to grow nationally. I can’t remember the last time I saw a Microsoft Tag. Microsoft Tags provide a user with more customer analytics than QR codes, but they never got traction.
When USA Today was changing to QR codes, there was a lot of buzz about a new barcode that would replace the awkward looking square. Snaptags (www.spyderlynk.com) work like QR codes, but they look like a circle or code ring that can surround an existing logo or design. Spacing is used in the line of the circle to identify the URL. A special smartphone reader is used to direct the user to the proper website. However, Snaptags don’t seem to have the buzz they once had, and it seems everyone is getting use to QR codes.
QR Goes MD
QR codes aren’t just for retail stores. It is being reported online that the medical community is using them to market the services of doctors and medical centers. There is an increase of medical practice consultants promoting the use of QR codes among their medical clients.
They are also being used to introduce physicians by linking to videos that introduce the doctors to potential patients. One hospital uses QR codes to take women to an online appointment center to schedule mammograms. The codes are featured in newspaper and magazine ads, as well as on postcards, and let women take immediate action. Some physicians are using QR codes to direct patients to specific online resources for patient education.
Other hospitals use QR codes to do online tours of their facilities and well as offer video patient testimonials. QR codes are being displayed in hospital newsletters and promotional materials. Even the American Medical Association news site (www.amednews.com) is covering the new marketing tool. If you print for medical facilities’ marketing departments, you should be telling them about QR codes.
What is the trick to creating a successful QR code campaign? Make sure the QR code directs the users to something they want. Just going to a mobile website isn’t exciting if the visitor can’t read the information on his smartphone. Good sites usually feature videos, sign up opportunities, and coupons. They offer something that will keep the visitor coming back and sharing the site with his friends.
Even with all of the new ways to communicate, experts are saying that business cards are still important in the professional world. The Huffington Post recently reminded business owners not to forget the impression business cards can make and how they can drive people to your website and social media sites.
Go here http://tinyurl.com/6w6xyh2 to check out the five things you must know about business cards. You will want to share this information with your customers through your own website and social media sites. More people are adding QR codes to their business cards so their contact information can be easily uploaded to a contact program or app.
Just for fun, check out Xrite’s cool test dealing with color. It is something that is fun to share with staff and customers alike. Take this test and see if you understand color hues and can gauge them on screen with the naked eye. This is a particularly good test for graphic designers who need a better understanding of the differences between what is on screen and what is on paper. To take the test visit www.xrite.com/custom_page.aspx?PageID=77.