Using QR codes to bridge the print/digital divide

Posted by on Feb 9, 2012
Using QR codes to bridge the print/digital divide

Notre Dame Executive MBA Program QR AdOne of the most difficult assignments in advertising is to get your audience to respond to a printed piece by going online. That bridge from print to digital is among the hardest ones to cross. But our recent work for University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business shows we’ve found a good way to make that connection.

A fast-moving target needs a smarter solution
We knew we had a challenge with our target audience – business-oriented, career-minded individuals. Always on the go with zero time or patience to type out a URL. But we also knew that they are big-time smartphone users.

Our solution: QR codes in our print ads and out-of-home transportation posters. We figured that the ease and speed of scanning the code with their smartphone would get interested individuals across the print/digital divide.

To make sure the codes got our target’s attention – and to create a greater link to the iconic Notre Dame brand – we used the blue and gold school colors and even incorporated the interlocking ND logo. After scanning, users were directed to Notre Dame’s mobile-enhanced Executive MBA microsite.

Thrilling results
This strategy was a slam dunk.

Over the 15 weeks of the campaign, over half of the visits to Notre Dame’s EMBA microsite came from a mobile device. Of those, 28% came through scanning the QR codes, and at one point over 60% of visits were coming through QR scans. Mobile visitors were the most qualified leads, too, as 37% of them reached our ultimate goal, the registration page.

Compare this to the latest research suggesting that only 6% of consumers are scanning QR codes. Even though industry averages and usage information for QR scans are hard to quantify, you can see that we didn’t just pass that number. We left it in our dust.

Not only did the ads perform well, they proved our theory going in: QR codes allow us to get the right information to the right audience at the right time. In other words, they make it easier to make a connection.