5 QR Code Lessons for Commercial Printers

I was recently involved in a discussion on LinkedIn with a group of commercial printers talking about the best uses of QR codes, and whether they are here to stay. In today’s increasingly digital and mobile world, it is critical that printers evaluate new technologies and find ways to remain relevant as the future becomes the present. But what are the considerations you have to take into account when offering QR codes?

Here are five lessons based on what we’ve learned from printers who are integrating our Mobile Business Card platform into their print production work flows for business cards:

1. The most important piece is the mobile experience. The way you get there is irrelevant. This mobile experience needs to work on any phone and ideally NOT require an app download (remember QR code readers are native on just about every platform so no download is required to use them). Use the features of the phone to delight. For instance, to help you remember where you met somebody, we dynamically add the location of where the QR code is scanned to the notes of the vCard before we download it to the user.

2. The debate about the longevity of QR codes is a waste of time. All good technologies die one day. A QR code is simply a digital bridge to the mobile experience. Near Field Communication (NFC) may be next. Apple is doing some interesting things in iOS 6 called Passbook. The question to be debated is: “Do you believe that there will be useful technologies that enable someone to easily go from a print piece to an online experience that buyers of print services will want?” If your answer is yes, then go get smart about current and future technologies and the providers that you can partner with to get you there.

3. There is no money or sustainable differentiation in QR code generation. Even “branded” QR codes are redundant on a printed business card because the company’s branding is already on the card. You cannot charge for something that is free online unless you can add value to the process.

4. The good news is that printers can add tremendous value to the process. Our large company clients who buy our mobile business cards need help to ensure that the QR codes we provide them are printed properly and tested. Printers are monetizing this need and creating new annuity revenue streams around digital bridge technologies in the process (http://prn.to/ApueNg). The addition of QR codes to printed materials is also another reason for clients to go back on press.

5. For buyers of Mobile Business Cards, the ability to scale quickly, control branding and measure usage are critical. Your clients are not going to build 50 mobile business card micro websites by hand. For instance, our system can create from several to several thousand custom Mobile Business Cards instantly off the same spreadsheet (or via APIs) you already use to produce print business cards. Printers either need to create this functionality themselves or go find a partner who can do it for them.

Hope this is useful. Click here to join the discussion thread on LinkedIn.

James Alexander is Vizibility’s founder and CEO. He’s the guy with two first names. If you ‘Googled’ his name in 2009, you would never have found him. Now, he ranks within the first few results of a Google search. Find James in Google at viz.me/james.

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