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What’s Next: The Emerging and Exciting Role of QR Codes at Trade Shows

Recently updated on April 18th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

This topic was submitted by Toni Rahn for our featured article, What’s Next?. For her submission she has won $50 in print credits!

Dear Toni,

Thanks for the suggestion. It’s a good one and in researching it, the following new development made itself incredibly compelling to report on.

A QR code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The information encoded can be text, URL (web address) or other data.

For those of you not familiar with the above example of a QR Code, simply put, they are like a bar code, but are able to contain more data because they are 2-dimensional. Their use and popularity is growing by leaps and bounds.

Anyone with a smart phone can grab a shot of the QR Code and gain access to any number of internet based resources. Here are a half-dozen ideas that show how they can be incorporated into trade show tactics. From the advantages that this technology makes possible, it is easy to imagine them becoming quite abundant throughout the trade show industry.

1: Provide access to an electronic conference brochure — On a press release, event poster, marketing video, email blast, promotional products, or even a Twitter/Facebook post include a QR Code with a link to a downloadable PDF brochure.

2: Create a Link to Conference Website — Use any of the channels identified above to distribute a link to prospective attendees. If an event’s registration and/or housing process is online, links can be posted that lead to these locations as well.

3: Distribute Electronic Conference Handouts — Post a QR code on the screen in the meeting room and participants can scan the session handout into their smartphones. (A great way to save paper and trees!)

4: Post Event Survey/Evaluation — Once again, post the QR code for link to the evaluation form on the session screen, and attendees can immediately provide feedback regarding the session they have just attended.

5: Resource Access — provide access to links for event music, video archives or pictures via a QR code.

6: Share Contact Information — speakers, or exhibitors can post a QR code with their electronic contact information and attendees can scan it into their smartphone’s contacts database, or email it to a friend/colleague. Attendees can exchange contact information with one another by scanning QR codes embedded on their phones. (Or on their ID badges!)

Some tips from a recent field trip:

At a small to medium sized trade show held this year in Anaheim, several QR Codes were seen displayed in booths, posters and banners. Some were prominently displayed in a large format – about a foot square – while others were as small as 1”x1” on business cards.

Be sure the QR Code is in an easily accessible location, is about 12″ x 12″ in size, and has an invitation to “Scan Me!” directly adjacent to the code. Position it at about head height with no barriers; print it in black ink on a white background.

Be sure the QR Code URL landing page is optimized for the smartphone!
Once the code is scanned, the information is processed. Most often the code is a URL which spawns the phone’s web browser. The typical HTML page looks bad and is hard to read on a smartphone.

Be sure to TEST everything BEFORE the show. Double and triple-check that everything works as it should and looks right as it will be most likely be seen by the person who’s scanning the QR Code.

These are just a very few ideas that should stimulate some creativity in uses for QR Codes. They could make excellent ID badges for luggage and equipment, invitations to special restricted admittance events, claim tickets for door prizes, drawings and raffles and so much more. Their use in marketing should grow exponentially in the near future. You heard it here first!

Want the chance to win $50 in print credit??  We feature a new winner and “What’s Next?” article all the time, so Enter Your Topic Here.

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