explain QR codesThere’s a lot of noise out there recently about Quick Response (QR) codes.

Healthcare marketing and advertising professionals who track new communications tools and trends are several steps up on the electronic learning curve. Doctors, hospitals and other medical marketers could easily get the misimpression that 100 percent of the general public has a smartphone and this plugged-in crowd recognizes and uses tags, smart tags or QR codes (which are everywhere).

But only part of what you may be reading or hearing about QR is actually sweet music to the consumer’s ear. Our recommendation: Use QR codes in healthcare applications, but they are still new to many patients and the public.

  1. Include a drop of education and explanation about the QR code;
  2. Provide a clear benefit to the reader who scans the code; and
  3. Make it an action step or means to act on their immediate interest.

As recently as a year ago, “Quick Response” was a seldom-heard term, and QR was virtually unknown in healthcare advertising applications.

This year, this month, this week…QR codes seem to be popping-up like digital dandelions. Just recently our Healthcare Success Featured Article offered more than a dozen ways QR codes can be used in healthcare marketing, hospital advertising and medical practice applications. (Read: Using QR Codes: Where, When and Why for Hospital and Medical Practice Advertising.)

Also last week, Tech observer Ivor Tossell explained QR codes in Toronto’s Globe and Mail: “They are stamped onto posters, emblazoned onto ads, burned onto business cards, knitted into newspapers. Large businesses are pushing them, and small businesses are worried about missing out if they don’t pixel up. They’re on street posters and ads for live shows. A friend in the ministry tells of a recent meeting at which it was earnestly suggested that a QR code should go on the masthead of the church newsletter.”

Quick Response codes are now gaining traction, and you’ll find them in use more regularly in medical advertising. But many people—even those who own a smartphone—are just beginning to notice the weird little 2-D graphic in the corner of a hospital advertisement or on a physician group practice brochure.

You can help lift awareness and tell the reader “what’s in it for them” by including a short bit of text that inspires the reader to warm-up their smartphone QR reader. Don’t just link the reader from one ad to yet another ad; think action step. Some ads also point to a source of QR reader, such as this one: “Scan the code to watch . Get the free mobile app at http://gettag.mobi.”

Here are a few additional examples of the small print message next to QR codes:

    • “Connect here and book a same-day appointment.”
    • “Your online registration begins here.”
    • “Buy now [place your online order] with a scan here.”
    • “To like [our brand] on Facebook, just snap this tag with your smartphone.”
    • “Use your smartphone QR reader here to launch the podcast.”
    • “Scan this symbol below for the [big event] agenda and speaker.”
    • “For a chance to win a Nook, provided by [brand], scan here.”
    • “For up to the minute [information] [pricing] [availability] scan this.”
    • “Download the exclusive [report] [white paper] [data] with a scan.”

Quick Response codes contain more information and are far more powerful than you may realize. We can help you update your marketing materials and introduce you to some new ways and means to make QR more effective in your healthcare marketing plan.

Subscribe to the Healthcare Success Marketing Blog

Join 19,000+ fellow healthcare marketers! Get Healthcare Success' latest marketing articles straight to your inbox. Enter your email address below:

Stewart Gandolf

Stewart Gandolf

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Healthcare Success Strategies
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is CEO of Healthcare Success, a medical marketing and health care advertising agency. He is also a frequent writer and speaker. Most importantly, he is happily married and a "rock-n-roll daddy" to two wonderful girls.
Stewart Gandolf
Stewart Gandolf


Thank you for sharing. Like us to stay in touch with our latest posts.