QR Codes: Marketing to the Digital, Smartphone Millennials


People are A-list, B-list, e-mailing, i-phoning, RFID tagging, sharing by f’s and t’s, and now QR coding. The latest addition to the bowl of alphabet soup brings barcode information into the next generation, including a new generation of users—the coveted 18-34 year old treasure trove called the Millennial generation that will be responsible for purchasing decisions for the next 50-plus years. They’re plugged in, turned on and pride themselves on being social individualists who won’t bow down to traditional marketing ploys.

QR codes allow this digital generation the autonomy to control if, how, what, where and when information gets viewed and if it gets shared with friends. These young adults are mobile, and QR codes fit right in to their wired, multi-tasking lifestyles. Around 6 out of 10 mobile phone users will be using smart phones by the end of 2015—nearly half the population of the United States. That makes QR codes something you should put on you’re A-list to get to know about.

So what are QR codes?

Those funky little squares infiltrating products you use every day are encoded with information that marketing teams hope that you will take the time to decipher and act upon. QR codes are a step above barcodes in that they are two-dimensional and can store a lot of information in a little amount of space. They can be creatively intertwined with packaging, though easily recognizable by the interior squares dwarfing three of the four angles of the symbol. Those squares help alleviate background interference by acting as positioning detection patterns allowing QR Code Readers to scan in a stable environment. You still have to hold the QR code reader steady, especially if in poor light or if there is gray mixed in with the black and white symbol. Once the reader decodes the QR code, then you will be directed information that could be anything from a URL, specific promotions, shopping, or any text that the QR code creator decides to encode--and hopefully you will share that information with your friends or act on the content yourself.

QR Code is registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED. This trademark is not applicable to the QR code image.