The other day, during a visit to the
local temple, I came across a poster advertising a concert for Carnatic music,
which is a South Indian classical music form. I was very keen on
attending it. However, since there was a lot of crowd in the
temple and I wasn’t anyway carrying any writing material at the
time, I couldn’t note down the singer’s name, concert venue and
date, or the telephone number of the box office.
By the time I reached home a couple
of hours later, I couldn’t remember any specific piece of
information with which to search for the concert using Google. As
a result, I wasn’t able to place this concert on my calendar, nor
figure out from where to buy tickets for it and the concert
organizer lost the opportunity to convert a lead to a deal.
This experience got me thinking if
there was any technology by which the concert organizer could’ve
transformed my momentary physical encounter with the poster into
an elongated online experience – a sort of augmented reality, if
you will – so that he’d be able to stay connected with me and
other prospective buyers long enough to have a good shot at
selling tickets to us.
Turns out that there is.
Code, this is a 2-dimensional barcode that could be
printed on the poster. By photographing the QR code from a mobile
phone, the prospective buyer could be automatically directed to a
website, where they could obtain more information and book tickets
for the concert. Assuming that they wouldn’t be able to do all
this in a single session, they could at least bookmark the site on
their mobile phone browser and visit it later.
I got a chance to use this technology
a few days later.
2010 happens to be the year that my
batch from IIT Bombay completes 25 years after it graduated in
1985. To commemorate the occasion, the IIT Bombay Alumnus
Association is printing a souvenir and recently solicited ads from
its members. Like all souvenirs are, this one will also be printed
on paper and distributed to over 1,000 attendees of the
of ‘85 Silver Jubilee Reunion event.
Since most souvenirs have a fairly short shelf-life, I decided to
add QR codes to my company’s ad in the souvenir so that people who
are interested in my company can find out more about it even after
they chuck the souvenir.
As the above picture shows, the ad
contains one QR-code on each corner, which will take a mobile
phone user to the GTM360 websitehomepage,
page on Marketable Items, Share
on Twitter page and Follow
us on LinkedIN page. All the mobile user has to do is
to photograph each QR-code with his or her phone camera – the rest
QR-codes can be printed on newspaper
ads, T-shirts, product packaging, and a wide range of physical
media. However, the full experience calls for fairly advanced
models of mobile phones that support a QR-code reader and GPRS
connection, so marketers and advertisers might want to use this
technology only for products and services that are targeted at
relatively high-end, tech-savvy consumers. Otherwise, their
efforts at deepening the engagement might backfire on them. More
on that in a future blog post.