QR codes are spreading like wildfire within marketing and advertising campaigns. They’re fast, easy—and FREE! According to a recent study, in June of this year more than 14 million consumers scanned a QR code using their cell phone. So, what is it about a black and white code that could potentially change the face of cause marketing?

It’s “do-it-yourself”
Perhaps one of the most appealing reasons that draws consumers to scan a QR code is that it’s easy—all it takes is the simple scan from their smartphone. Once you scan the code, an offline, pixilated box transforms into instant money savings, great new information, and increased convenience. What’s not to love?

The silver lining
Where many QR campaigns miss is in the belief that just having a QR connection is enough. You are what determines whether a user’s QR experience will be a significant one or not. QR codes by themselves are just a delivery method. The value is in using the code to provide specific product engagement or knowledge. For consumers, this means a reward or a “call-to-action”, not just a website page or a digital flyer.

Some examples of success behind the code tend to offer:

  • Exclusive access to materials (photos, media, etc.)
  • Instant Win contests
  • Special rewards or coupons

For cause marketing, QR codes are an untapped resource with countless opportunities for growth. Take it from these recent QR campaigns:

Dairy Queen; Miracle Treat Day 2011 – Launched in July and printed on over 7.9 million “Blizzard” ice cream cups, this QR campaign enabled consumers to donate instantly to Children’s Miracle Network as well as access stories of miracle children and join the DQ Blizzard Fan Club.

Macy’s Mixes Shopping with Volunteerism – Connecting teenagers with local non-profit projects, this QR code (found on teen clothing tags) triggers a $1 donation to DoSomething.org, then reveals content about how to get involved in action-oriented projects.

Be the One – Allowing supporters to view a video about their cause, this QR campaign highlights social activism and includes a petition to sign in order to help clean up the Gulf Coast oil spill. To date, the petition has received over 117,000 signatures with the help of this promotion.

These QR campaign examples work because they offer a call-to-action and an incentive to participate. More, it gives these organizations something to talk about on their Facebook, website and point of purchase displays. It’s interactive marketing at its best; it’s turning customers into fans. Whether it’s a clothing purchase that initiates volunteerism, or an ice cream cup that leads to more information about children’s hospitals, QR campaigns are an easy, unique and fun way to gain support and engagement.

New to the code?
If you’re new to QR codes, we would love it if you’d make our DNA code the first one you “crack.” Here’s how:

  1. Download a scan application on your smartphone (ex. Scan, QR Reader)
  2. With the app open, hold the phone 3-5 inches away from the code below.
  3. In seconds, you’ll be instantly connected to DNA.
  4. (“Like” us, if you agree!)

Can’t get enough?

Click the link below and try your hand at creating your own QR code! Then, please share it with us by posting it as a comment under our blog.

Create a QR Code

Happy scanning!