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Sunday, July 08, 2012



Image attributed to Glowimages, Gettingimages, Deliver magazine
Just in case you haven't been keeping up, the QR code has made it's way onto just about everything from ketchup bottles to direct marketing pieces.  This code allows anyone, using a free app on their smartphones to scan the code and visit a specific webpage.  The benefit of using these codes is simple - it helps bridge the gap between printed marketing pieces and the web.

From my perspective the QR code is still relatively new - but it's already becoming outdated.  Now you might be saying, "Are you out of your mind?" considering that some marketers are just beginning to use this code.  However, the reality is that the next iteration of codes has already emerged.

Hello Digital Watermark!  In this month's edition of Deliver, the magazine produced by the US Postal Service, an article appeared claiming the next iteration of the seemingly dated QR code - the digital watermark.  Here's how it works.

Instead of using a formal code like the QR code noted above, there is information embedded within an actual image or photograph that appears on a printed piece like a flyer, brochure, or postcard, even a magazine.  When you download a free app from your phone, you simply have to open the app and point at the image you're scanning.  

This removes a step often associated with QR codes in terms of using the app and navigating to a website.  When using a QR code, depending on the app you're using, a URL might load but you still have to navigate to it.  Additionally, digital watermarks give marketers more creative leeway with existing images as opposed to adding yet another element to their marketing piece or direct mailer.

Innovation is all around us.  I personally believe that these embedded codes are a lot less clumsy than QR codes and will have all of us scanning virtually every image we see.  Any innovation that can get users to engage is a good one.  Digital watermarks... you have my endorsement!


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