QR Codes vs. Zoove

April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

People are crazy for QR codes.  One reader app, Scanbuy, globally saw scans for QR and barcodes in the “double-digit millions” last year. Major marketers like Miller Lite, Home Depot, Macy’s, Polo, and Post Cereals have recently launched QR campaigns. Unfortunately QR codes have had a few obstacles that may be driving users to use alternative companies such as Zoove.

Many consumers feel as if there are far too many steps.  To scan a QR code, you have to carry the right phone with the right camera, be connected to the internet and have downloaded one of the many QR scanning apps out there. Then, you have to stumble across one of those boxes, posters, etc. which actually isn’t hard because, like I said, marketers, especially retailers, are in love with them.

I see most QR campaigns in both the DC metro and NY subway, where there is absolutely no internet — meaning no way to get a QR scan to actually launch anything.  Also, I saw a QR code on a poster at a bus stop but in order to scan the code on the bottom corner of the poster, someone would have had to lie down on the sidewalk.

Are there other options beside QR codes?  Yes, one example of an alternative more “user friendly” concept comes from a company called Zoove .   Zoove is a mobile direct-response company.  Zoove allows you to get the QR results — a link to a website or app download, a coupon, a video — but to get there, you there’s no camera, app or smartphone required all you do is dial a number on a mobile phone and make a call.

Here’s how it works: Advertisers or media companies register a StarStar code with Zoove — recent campaigns include **Suzuki, **GSCookies for the Girls Scouts and **GMA for Good Morning America — and when consumers dial, they get a text message with a link or voice recording. I dialed **GSCookies, started to listen to a recording and received a text message with a link to the App Store to download a cookie locator. Then I tried **Suzuki and got a link to a video, which I didn’t watch. Ad messaging aside, it worked! On the first try! Shouldn’t technology be this easy?

By now, Zoove has partnered with all top-four U.S. wireless carriers so StarStar vanity numbers work on 95% of all phones, and not just the smart ones. TV shows like “Good Morning America” and “CBS Early Show” are testing StarStar codes for ad sponsorships or to collect viewers’ votes. Now, imagine, instead of no-one-remembers short codes on “American Idol,” you’d just have to **Lauren to vote.

QR codes have a few hurdles to overcome.  At this point dialing **Flowers to 1-800-Flowers to get my mom a little something for Mothers Day, is a much better option than laying down on the street in order to scan a QR code on a 1-800 flowers bus stop poster.


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