QR Codes 101

QR codes have been around for years, but have recently taken the advertising world by storm. But what are they and what is their value? Simply put, Quick Response Codes (QR codes) are two-dimensional bar codes that have large storage capabilities and are easily readable via smartphones.

QR codes allow companies to provide multimedia to consumers with one simple action. Using a QR reader app on a smartphone, the maze-like design is scanned, which immediately links to a website or other phone function like email or SMS. And while they are suddenly everywhere, many QR codes are being used without a strategy, offering little value to the consumer.

To be effective, QR codes should be used as an integrated part of marketing campaigns, optimized for mobile devices and offer information not typically available in the medium where the code is used.

Here are five steps to successfully utilize QR codes:

  1. Define QR code campaign goals and strategies
  2. Create mobile optimized landing page (linked to QR code)
  3. Add valuable, entertaining or call-to-action content on the landing page
  4. Create QR code (and test it!)
  5. Track your results

Scheffey used QR codes in a cross-promotion with Strasburg Rail Road and Cafe 24 Hundred. The Strasburg Rail Road rack card was given to a targeted group of guests checking in at the DoubleTree Resort Lancaster (home of Cafe 24 Hundred). The Cafe 24 Hundred rack card was given to guest riding the Wine & Cheese Train at Strasburg Rail Road.

Cafe 24 Hundred’s promotion included a coupon and a QR code to the restaurant’s online menu. The value? People can see the menu online to determine if they want to visit the restaurant and redeem the coupon.


Strasburg Rail Road’s Wine & Cheese Train promotion used a QR code to show a promotional video on YouTube. The value? Tourists checking in at the DoubleTree Resort get a quick glimpse of the event and determine if they want to attend.