QR Codes are everywhere. You find them on billboards, posters, shopfronts, websites, magazines, and so on. They are simple to create and simple to use for consumers. So why do marketers need to look beyond… soon?

QR Codes are simple, similar to barcodes you find on product packaging in supermarkets and the like. They can contain a single piece of information and typically, marketers would embed a website link within. The link can be a website, a microsite, a social media link, and so on.

The advantage in this side of the world is that QR Codes are common, and consumers understand them. The smartphone penetration rate in Asia is very high, especially in highly populated and developed metropolitan cities and states. The braodband and 3G connections are also increasingly common in Asia, with places such as South Korea, Japan, and Singapore being some of the leading 3G and beyond locations.

With the backdrop of smartphone availability and broadband/3G connectivity, it is not difficult to see how marketers can leverage on the technological platforms to go beyond just the simplistic QR Code.

Enters the augmented reality space. There are many emerging vendors providing augmented reality technologies for marketers and content developers, including the likes of Layar, Junaio, Argon, Wikitude, Mixare, and many others. Some are commercial offerings, and others, open source. You have to try out various offerings to determine how suitable each platform works, and how it can work for your marketing efforts.

So far, we have tested the commercial offering from Layar, which is a nice and developed platform that is very easy to author augmented reality content. Assuming you have a print advertisement in a magazine, you can take the source file of the print advertisement, and embed markers on the page, including videos (e.g. from your YouTube channel), website links, click-to-call, and so on. Layar works almost like a very simplified, non-scripting capable stack-based authoring system reminiscent of HyperCard or SuperCard that I have used in the 1980s before commercial Internet became available.

If you have already tried and tested QR Codes for your marketing efforts, give augmented reality a try. Bring your customers forward with a more engaging and more immersive experience.