Today’s mobile devices are more than simply devices for voice and data communication. Increasingly, mobile is becoming the primary tool used for news, shopping, entertainment and more. As a result, these always-on devices have become a de facto channel for eager brands looking to capture the attention of consumers. Enter mobile marketing and mobile barcodes, and a New Year’s Resolution for marketers looking for the edge in 2013.
According to Tempkin Group, 24% of consumers have used QR codes and more than half of those who have scanned a mobile barcode say that they would do so again.  Furthermore, according to our own NeoMedia statistics, QR code scanning grew by 119% from Q2-2012 versus Q2-2011. In addition to leveraging QR codes in their marketing initiatives, we expect brands and enterprises will integrate mobile barcode readers directly into their apps to reduce the number of steps consumers need to go through to scan a code, ultimately creating a better overall experience and helping consumers activate the path to purchase.
One of the largest areas for growth within mobile marketing is mobile ticketing and loyalty programs. With mobile applications such as Apple iOS 5’s “Passbook,” mobile barcodes, including both QR and Aztec codes, are becoming a recognized mobile interaction element for consumers.  Given that Passbook is readily available to iPhone users, millions have already become exposed to mobile barcodes through this application, and have really begun to embrace mobile ticketing and mobile loyalty programs as a result.
Another huge area for growth for QR codes will be in consumer packaged goods. As companies attempt to reduce packaging as part of their commitment to the environment – including everything from user manuals to receipts to shipping documents – QR codes provide an opportunity to greatly condense the information and deliver it, via barcode scan, to a mobile device. For the past decade, CPG companies have led the charge in putting this documentation onto CDs or other electronic media and QR codes will help them reduce costs and provide ease of use for consumers even more.
Finally, we expect that 2013 will be the year that QR codes become the path to payment. QR codes will enable everything from mobile payments, mobile wallet, mobile banking and generally, mobile commerce. While QR codes and mobile barcodes will continue to be used for mobile marketing and advertising, they will increasingly be used to ease the consumer into a seamless mobile commerce solution.
All of these innovative uses for QR codes will help to drive business opportunities and consumer interest, but how can marketers make the most of QR codes?  A few ways that you can start to embrace QR and mobile barcodes as part of your marketing strategy for 2013:
Make a planSuccessfully incorporating mobile barcodes into a campaign requires forethought and planning to ensure that consumers can easily engage and the value driven through the scan is 1) optimized for mobile and 2) delivers highly relevant and engaging content, such as giveaways, discounts, information or services. By delivering value, brands can successfully please their consumer targets and promote campaign participation.
Consider design and placementLocation, Location, Location. Mobile barcodes should always be placed in a location that makes them easy to identify and scan, ideally on a flat surface and away from folds or other features that might hinder the scanning experience.
EducateA recent survey found that while 94% of consumers could recognize a QR code, only 47% of those consumers had actually scanned a code themselves. Marketers consider including simple descriptive copy to facilitate and encourage consumer participation.
Remember, it is mobileThere is nothing more disappointing when scanning a QR code than to be directed to non-mobile optimized content.  Remember, to optimize/develop for mobile to ensure a positive consumer experience to drive higher engagement.
As consumers turn to their mobile devices more and more, the opportunities for brands to engage and create a lifelong relationship with their consumers becomes more of a reality.   And with QR codes, marketers and brands alike will continue to look to mobile barcode campaigns as viable options to drive consumer engagement through the mobile channel. In 2013, QR codes will continue to stand out as a mobile media element of choice and will demand the attention of marketers and consumers alike.