Re-thinking sports marketing now that fans are in charge
QR codes offer a unique and interactive way to enhance the in-game experience for sports fans. Given that 28% of US mobile owners have smartphones, and that the smartphone market grew by 75% in 2010 (Source), it makes sense that teams utilize the functionality of these devices through QR codes.
For those unfamiliar with QR codes, they are high-density, two-dimensional barcodes that can be scanned by camera-enabled smartphones. Once scanned, they direct the viewer various digital content, such as web pages, or open specific phone functions, such as email and text messaging. There is a lot of potential to utilize these codes in creative ways.
Here are some ways that QR codes have been used as part of marketing initiatives at sporting events to enhance the in game experience for fans.
In early 2010, the Detroit Red Wings launched a QR code promotion through their game day program. Fans found a QR code within the program that opened a video related to the content on that page. In addition, the team ran a tutorial over the jumbotron on how to activate code. The promotion was very successful, with the video receiving more than 2,000 views.
This promotion was successful for two reasons. First, it successfully integrated digital marketing with print marketing. In placing the QR code within the program, the fan could easily access the code from their seats, and could interact with the material in the program. This promotion was also successful because the Red Wings took the initiative in explaining how to activate the QR code. In running the tutorial over the jumbotron, fans easily understood what the code was and how it could be activated.
The marketing team for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game in Dallas also found a creative way to utilize QR codes by displaying the codes on TV screens in concourse of the arena. Fans who scanned the code received a coupon for a free gift from team store. Ultimately, nearly 10% of attendees scanned the code.
This promotion was successful because of the location and content of the code. By positioning the codes in the concourse of the stadium, the marketing team targeted a high traffic area and reached people while they were away from the action of the game. Also, this promotion was successful because there was a unique and worthwhile incentive for scanning code. The free gift encouraged people to engage the QR code, and simultaneously drove large groups of people to the team shop.
Overall, QR codes offer a creative way to engage fans during the game. The codes facilitate multi-channel communication, blending traditionally segmented marketing mediums. QR codes utilize available technology to develop a unique, interactive in-game experience for the fans.
I have touched on a few uses of QR codes, but there are plenty of other creative possibilities. What other ways do you think QR codes should be used to enhance in-game experiences for fans?