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The Complete Guide to QR Codes

Yes, you heard it right. Today we’re going to enlighten you on “QR Codes” – one of the most popular marketing tools of the present day. Ever since its inception, the QR code has come to widely utilized in the marketing scene, all across the world. Each one of you has heard it, heck, you’ve probably used it more times than you can count, but do you know what exactly a QR code is?

Worry not, for we’re here to demystify QR codes for you in this article. So, keep reading peeps!

What Is A QR Code?

QR code is an acronym for “Quick Response Code.” It was first developed way back in 1994 by a Toyota’s subsidiary company called Denso Wave to enhance the manufacturing process by helping monitor and track vehicles and their parts. These square-shaped, black and white codes are encrypted with information such as web links, event details, product information, and so on. The QR format can efficiently juggle numerous data types ranging from alphabets, binary and numeric characters, to Kana, Kanji, and Hiragana symbols. Not only can these codes be scanned at a tremendous speed, they also come with a high level of error correction, that is, in case a code is damaged it can still be scanned correctly.



The modern-day idea behind the QR code is to empower people to access different kinds of information via their smartphones. You just scan the QR code and voila, a whole world of information unravels before your eyes!

It is a neat and simple way of attracting the attention of your target audience and hence, marketers have now started using this little ‘super tool’ on almost all advertising platforms, starting from web pages to banners, leaflets, flyers, posters, and the like.

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How Can You Create And Design A QR Code?

Now that you know what a QR code is, it’s time for you to learn how to create functional QR codes. Here’s how to do it in simple steps!

  1. Choose The Perfect QR Code Generator

Today, one has the option of choosing from an array of QR code generators. However, some stand out from the crowd, such as Kaywa,, Visualhead, QR Code Monkey, QR Stuff, and, to name a few.

These excellent QR code generators impart you the flexibility to track and analyze your brand’s performance; to customize your QR code as you deem fit, and to create such QR codes that are compatible with the most commonly used mobile QR code reader apps.

  1. Design, Customize, and Link!

The best thing about creating a QR code is that you can get creative with it! As we mentioned in the point above, most QR code generators allow you to customize your QR code according to your likes and needs. So, whether you want the QR code to represent your site’s overall design or whether you want it to be a reflection of your brand’s logo, you can do it all! You can also experiment with colors of the QR code, add social sharing options, or add a logo to it.



While customization is a great feature, you must never lose focus of your goal while creating a QR code, that is, what purpose do you want the code to serve? For instance, if you want your users to be able to save your contact information conveniently, then you can create a QR code that automatically links to your vCard by entering the requisite information in the fields provided in the QR code generator such as your name, email address, contact number, and your message. Then again, if you want to boost leads and traffic, you can link the QR code to the landing page of your website.

  1. Test Your Code

Once you are done creating the QR code, you must test whether the code reads perfectly. Try running your code on at least two or more readers. Google Goggles is an excellent free tool that first clicks a picture and then informs you about what your code reads to. Similarly,  QR Code Reader is another great tool that automatically leads you to what your code reads.

Testing your QR code before launch helps you avoid any fails when it is used by the end customer.

  1. Monitor And Analyze The QR Code

Like every other marketing campaign, you must also track and analyze how well your QR code is doing, how much traffic is it bringing in, and how efficiently it helps in converting the traffic into your brand loyalists.

Monitoring your QR code will help you understand issues like what percentage of traffic actually makes full use of the QR code, and if not, why do they not feel compelled to do so, why are people not redeeming offers once they visit your landing page even after scanning the code, and so on. When you get to the roots of the problem, you can create better and optimized QR codes to best suit the needs of your target audience.

All said and done, now one question remains:

How Do You Use QR Code For Marketing?

In a research conducted during the last quarter of 2010 by Mobio Identity Systems, Inc, some very insightful stats related to the usage and adoption of QR codes emerged:

  • QR code scanning grew to a whopping 1200% from July to December.
  • QR scanning proved to be the most popular and easiest method of obtaining information, occupying nearly 87% of the share among scanned codes.
  • The trend of adopting QR codes was growing at a steady rate between the age group of 18-54 years.
  • Females (nearly 64%) displayed more interest than men in scanning QR codes for gaining various kinds of information.

Today, the US and Japan are leading the way towards the adoption of QR codes, accounting for almost 60% of the total QR code scans.

Let’s show you the ways in which you can use the ‘QR advantage’ for marketing!

  1. Revamp Business Cards

Transform your basic business card with a QR code to allow your customers to get more information about you and your brand. You can encrypt the QR code with important information about your company such as a link to your professional profile, web pages, blogs, social media pages, etc. This way you can create an entire information kiosk about your brand with just a QR code – with one scan, your customers can obtain all the relevant information about your brand.

  1. Enhance Inventory Management

Integrating QR codes within your inventory management strategy can be a wonderful way to organize your inventory by tracking the names, prices, manufacturing dates, serial numbers, batch numbers, etc., of all your products. While manually organizing your inventory is both time-consuming and tedious, QR codes make the entire process easier. With one scan of a particular code, you can know the detailed information about a product. Quite efficient, we say!

  1. Breathe Creativity Into Mobile App Ads

UK based ad agency, Made by Stupid has proved that with QR code, you can take advertisements to a whole other level. It has designed two very creative QR codes for popular gaming app Angry Birds and also Instagram. Here’s how they look-


Scanning the codes will directly lead you to the download option. Isn’t this an excellent way to advertise your app while boasting about your creative skills?

  1. Transform The Boring Into Interesting!

QR codes are all about storing meaningful information. Using them you can give an exciting twist to mundane things. This is precisely what Poland’s Sukiennice Museum has done. Using QR codes, the Museum has created what they call “Secrets Behind the Paintings.” Each painting has a QR code which on scanning will lead you to the intriguing stories behind the paintings, and that too, right from the painters’ mouths!

  1. Mix Greeting Cards and Mixtape!

Who doesn’t love greeting cards? And when greeting cards are synced with a personalized mixtape, your happiness is bound to soar high! Yes, the idea was materialized by Made by Stupid (well, aren’t they a creative bunch!) as it amalgamated mixtapes with greeting cards for a more personalized and happy touch to cards. The user only needs to scan the QR code on the greeting card and the playlist will hit off immediately!



Today, popular online and social media platforms such as Spotify, Facebook, and Snapchat are leveraging QR codes in innovative ways. For instance, Spotify allows you to scan the QR code of your friend to gain immediate access to his/her playlist without requiring a manual search by name! Messenger services like WhatsApp are empowering small business owners to carry out financial transactions via QR codes. Such unique ways of using QR codes only goes to show that QR codes hold tremendous potential to boost your overall marketing strategy. The key is to know how to use it in creative ways. So, folks, what are you waiting for – let loose your creative juices and start designing your unique QR code!

Let us know how you leverage the power of QR Codes in your marketing game. Write to us at

Author avatar
Mayank Gulati