Do QR codes really kill kittens? The other day I received my new copy of QR Codes Kill Kittens, by Scott Stratten, and within 1 hour, I had my answer. Unfortunately, I’m not going to share it, just yet.
What I will tell you is this is a perfect book for what not to do, in marketing, in social and in life. This book isn’t all about the QR code, and how to use it. Stratten is just using it as a jumping off point to explain his theory that, any marketing when used incorrectly, will hurt more than help your brand. The improper use of QR codes is just one such problem.
1. They Don’t Work
2. Nobody Likes Them
3. They’re Selfish
4. Your Time is Better Spent Elsewhere
and makes his point through more examples than any brand would care to admit. In fact, there are about 180 different examples of how brands have used these new digital tools to do more harm than good.
For one, he has numerous examples of companies spending money on marketing, whether by QR code or in design, that sends people to websites that are only viewable on a desktop, or that have no mobile version available. If people are scanning QR codes from a mobile device, it should lead to a mobile website.
Stratten takes issue with Facebook events that invite everyone and their mother (literally), yet are only accessible to a select few, due to location. And, he specifically calls out Google, since they base their user numbers on how many people use their Google account in the year. If you use YouTube, Gmail or Google search, and you are logged in to Google, it counts as a use of GooglePlus.
Finally, he takes issue with businesses that are only present and engaging with their customers after they have left. He has a great example of an Allstate agent’s reply to a lost customer, after trying to get the agent on the phone, to no avail.
In the end, do QR codes really kill kittens? No, thankfully, they do not. But, as was pointed out to me recently by Chris Westfall, the National Elevator Pitch Champion, every time a business does something right, an angel gets its wings.
Should you read it? I’d say, yes. It’s worth it for no other reason than to see how you are doing better than some of the big brands.
Have you seen big brands (or small ones) that are incorrectly using these new digital tools? I’d love to hear about them (as would Scott Stratten).