A QR Code generated by WeChat

A QR Code generated by WeChat

Since I switched jobs last year, I’m now managing a marketing team with team members in the UK and one in China. It’s been very interesting to learn about marketing in China and what works and doesn’t. It’s been a big shift from higher ed, but one I’ve enjoyed learning about. I’ve only scratched the surface so far, and I know I have much more to learn over the coming months and years.

What has surprised me is that with the rise of social mega-services like WeChat, one technology that never quite caught on here continues to explode there.

That’s right, our friend, the QR code.

The sad, maligned QR code. The things that’s had books written about it.

What’s been at most a novelty here, is serious business there. It’s not just for social either, QR codes are everywhere in Asia, and China especially. If anything, the demand for them is rising.

We’ve been using them for awhile, but they are a key part of our messaging in that region of the world. We put them on some printed materials, and we made favicards at Jakprints this year with a QR code that takes users to our brand’s WeChat page. Jakprints even tweeted them out:

Last night, my father sent me a picture from a McDonald’s in China where he’s travelling for business. Yes, the self-ordering and payment kiosk could be a post about the coming change in employment due to automation, but also pay attention to the QR codes prominently displayed on the side graphics. I don’t know where that QR code leads, but they’re not going away in China anytime soon.

I’ve blogged a few times about the increase of use of QR codes by companies, especially when it comes to marketing.

Their use is especially on the rise, and I’m encouraged each time I see a large company begin to roll them out for their customers.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed that just about every price tag at the Best Buy by my house had a QR code. TVs, appliances, cameras, Blu-ray players and more. Here’s an example:

That QR code takes you to a mobile version of that product’s page at Best Buy’s mobile website. It’s nice if you want to see some additional information or reviews and don’t want to be bothered by the sales droids. I don’t know about you, but I often find myself knowing more than they do about electronics, but that’s a discussion for a different day.

Here’s the page. You can click for a larger version.

Did you see what they did there? The price on the mobile page is $70 less than the store price. When I asked the sales droid about it, he said the online site often is updated before the prices in-store. He said Best Buy will match prices in their online store at any time.

So, had I actually been buying this TV, that little QR code would have saved me $70. Not all QR codes are sales drivers, but perhaps they could be a nice little incentive for tech-saavy customers offered by tech-saavy businesses.

This past week was the second birthday of this blog, and so far, the terrible twos haven’t been so bad.

It’s been a ton of fun to write and connect with people all over the world. In the time I’ve had this blog, I’ve spoken at 13 events, conferences or webinars in both the United States and the United Kingdom, I’ve taken a new job at a new university, I’ve become the biggest WordPress cheerleader imaginable, I’ve served a technology fellow at NITLE and so much more. 2010 is shaping up to be just as much hard work and most importantly, fun.

Here are some interesting statistics from two years of blogging:

Posts: 210
Comments: 381
Visitors: 67,433 visitors from 162 countries
Page views: 96,155 page views
Most popular post: How to add a custom tab to your Facebook page
Countries with the most visitors: US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India
Country with the fewest visitors: Tied between Angola and Vatican City

So, what will the next two years hold for this blog? I’m going to continue to write interesting content relating to web development in higher education, cloud computing, and the future of IT in higher education, with a bit of code and fun stuff like QR codes thrown in there for fun. I’m throwing around the idea of doing some bespoke WordPress/cloud consulting. I’m looking forward to more travel to work with more great people.

Want to keep up with what I’m up to? I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or you can always use this form to email me.

All in all, life’s pretty awesome.