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What QR Codes Can Do For Event Marketing


Quick Read (QR) codes have lingered on the fringes of marketing for some time. With more or less everyone owning a smartphone, along with other scanning technology, the use of QR codes in event marketing is firmly staking its claim as a useful tool.

But how can you use them to best effect?

What is a QR code?

It is a machine-readable code, with each one having a unique array of black and white squares arranged in a pattern that when scanned by a QR code reader through the smartphone camera, will take the user to a website or other online venue.

Invented in 1994, as the smartphone became more commonplace so too did the use of QR codes.

Capable of holding a lot of information, this kind of code has long been a part of creative banner printing, posters, flyers, postcards and other offline media.

In other words, it is just one tool a brand can use to link their offline users with their online world.

What should a QR code do?

A QR code direct users to where you want them to be. In most cases, this is a mobile-optimised webpage – if your website is not optimised for mobile, you need to take steps to make this happen.

You tailor the QR code content to your customers and your audience. Hence, it is possible to set up a specific landing page for your event and when a customer scans it, is taken to the ‘book tickets at 10% discount’ page or similar.

Take more than a cursory glance at how brands are using and have used QR codes and you will notice themes: exclusivity, rich media, social media, downloads, incentives and ‘contextual relevance’, that is, taking customers where they want or need to be.

How to use QR codes in event marketing.

It depends on what your event is, what your marketing objectives are and why QR codes are the right technology.

Performance events.

From music to art, QR codes are perfect when printed on banners, posters, tickets and other offline printed media.

  • Use them to direct event attendees direct to a YouTube channel with snippets of songs or performances of stars featured in your event
  • Or, use it to connect customers to your social media to access information and snippets of art or music there
  • Or, can be used to link to relevant apps or other media

Film or theatrical performances.

QR codes on tickets can take customers and patrons to;

  • Exclusive previews of the performance
  • Backstage footage of the performance stars and how the act came together
  • A website page with a slideshow of photos of the performance
  • Ticket purchases
  • Out-takes of the performance that didn’t quite go right…

Technology and product launches.

Similar to the previous two example, a QR code on a ticket or event marketing material can produce the exclusivity or ‘first looks’ that many fans of the latest technology and product launches covet.

Use QR codes to;

  • Link customers to your latest app, product or service
  • Offer ‘early bird’ discounts
  • Act as registration at an event by scanning the code on the ticket or other media at the event itself
  • Link customers with social media and your hashtag campaign

Brands & sponsors.

QR codes can also be used to add value to the brands and businesses who may have sponsored the event or had significant input. It can also work with community events too

QR codes can promote social media for sponsors, as well as help to create a viral online campaign. They can also be used as;

  • Coupons
  • Vouchers
  • Tickets
  • Points of information
  • ‘online’ games such as treasure hunts

The best way to use QR codes.

When you have decided what information the QR code will contain and you have created a unique code or a set of codes, you need to use it as much as possible and, as far and wide as possible too.

They should be on everything from event wristbands to tickets, press releases, giveaways, flyers, posters, banners, tags and more.

You could also have them as temporary tattoos!

What not to do.

There are a few pitfalls:

  • Specific readers – avoid creating codes with apps or software that requires a specific reader in order to access the code. Use a generic, all-inclusive code generator so every smartphone can read it. Try QR Code Generator.
  • Mobile optimise- always direct the user to a mobile-optimised page or website
  • Call to action – include a call to action so people scan the code, just as would another tool
  • Test BEFORE you use at an event – can you imagine anything worse than relying on a piece of kit only for it to fail because no one tested it?!


Colour Graphics has been helping clients to connect their offline and online worlds with QR codes on amazing designed banners, posters and more.


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