When it comes to incorporating mobile marketing strategies at your bar or club, it’s important to thoroughly investigate the myriad options available to you. As technology advances, it’s wise to do your homework to make sure you are taking advantage of all that mobile marketing has to offer. A popular trend hitting the market is QR codes or Quick Response codes, as well as Microsoft Tags, which are only available through Microsoft. Though similar in function, there are many differences in their capabilities.
Here’s what you should know before you jump into using these 2D coding systems:
• The benefit of QR codes is there are a plethora of companies that allow you to make QR codes free on their Websites. Customers also will have to download a QR reader app on their smartphones; there are hundreds of those available, as well and most of those also are free. However, because anyone can make an app, the code readers are often inconsistent and may not work with the smartphone’s operating system.
This means not all QR code reader apps are created equal: “Some aren’t accurate, some take longer to scan [a code] or [the app] may not work as well in dim settings,” David Sribnik, manager of trends and technology for MarkeTeam Inc., a Mission Viejo, Calif.-based beverage-promotions development firm explains. “People get frustrated by this and won’t do it.”
• Microsoft Tags, which only are available through Microsoft and also free, require a Microsoft Tag reader app. Additionally, you have to take the extra step of registering a Windows Live account in order to access the Tag Managers.
“Because it’s one company, it’s better,” Sribnik says in regards to Microsoft Tags. “It reads a lot quicker, and they’ve got built-in tracking in the backend.” One of the benefits of this is Microsoft has advanced analytics that let you know how, when and where your Tags are being used, giving you complete operating control.
Also available through Microsoft are security options that ensure that company data stored on Microsoft servers are safe. Yet, a downside to Microsoft Tags is it prohbits some URLs, blacklisting them, which can limit where you want the code to scan.
• Some smartphone cameras have limitations. They often have low-megapixels, and sometimes can’t scan QR codes properly. Microsoft Tags, on the other hand, use a sophisticated technology that gives a more accurate scan even when a low-quality camera phone is used.
• QR Codes are quicker and more efficient when it comes to scannng. Not only can they detect codes on curved surfaces -- unlike Microsoft Tags, which experience problems with this -- QR codes contain all the data and URL in the barcode; Microsoft Tags have to retrieve that information after they are scanned.
• Though Microsoft Tags use more advanced technology, they are still fairly new to the game, whereas QR codes have been around longer - since 1997 - and have better name recongition with users. This means they're easier to implement because there are so many devices readily available.
• When it comes to QR codes, there isn’t much flexibility in the design or look of the tag — basic black and white barcodes. However, Microsoft Tags make Custom Tags, allowing you to create colorful, aesthetic tags that highlight your brand (like your logo).
Microsoft Tags (left) and QR Codes (right) are different in design, with Microsoft Tags providing the ability to make tags that represent your brand.
Though determining the right mobile tags for you may seem daunting, it comes down to doing your own research and making sure that your mobile capabilities are on point. No matter which tagging system you decide to use, you have to a have mobile-friendly Website and stay on trend with these constantly changing technologies. Both QR codes and Microsoft Tags can grow your fan base, so take heed of what works and what doesn’t. The last thing you want is to have a mobi-tag system that frustrates guests more than it benefits them, which could hurt your bottom line.