2 QR or Not 2 QR?

The buzz in the industry about the use of QR codes has been getting louder in recent times. Are they the next crucial thing in the listing or sales process, or is it too soon to get excited? Kevin Magee, CEO of Raine & Horne SA, looks at both sides of the story.

At your next client presentation you may be asked to explain what a QR Code is; and put simply it is two tone bar code image made of dark modules arranged in a square pattern. Whilst QR Codes have been in use for over a decade in Japan, the recent inclusion of QR Readers on new mobile devices as a standard feature, along with the fact the codes are free and extremely easy to generate, has led to a frenzy of discussion amongst media companies and marketers as to their implications on how we market property. These images, when scanned by QR Reader software (that’s now standard on camera equipped mobile phones or tablet devices), will instantly display on the devices’ screen more detailed information for the consumer and is also able to deliver a powerful ‘call to action’.

In the case of property this could be a quality brochure, video presentation, walk–through–tour, form to complete, business card, entire book or recruitment video. The QR Code can be placed on a property signboard, brochure, business card, newspaper or online advert or even a t–shirt. If you would like to test out the technology, there is a live code at the bottom of this page.

Advocates for QR Codes argue that they will soon become as common as web addresses are now for property adverts, and an agent who doesn’t use QR Codes will become as irrelevant as an agent who doesn’t use the Internet! Opponents disagree, arguing the buying public will not know what they are, newspaper adverts will need to be made larger to incorporate the codes, and, as a consequence become more expensive and unattractive for vendors. They also say there is still no proof in their value.

Personally I’m less interested in the frenzied debate and loud chest–beating of impending ‘first to market’ launches that have been going on over the last few months and more interested in the listening to some of the success stories from our local Raine & Horne offices, who, unnoticed by the debaters, have been quietly, intelligently and successfully generating results with this technology.

I’m only 44, but I remember working in ITC Business Consulting when email and web addresses were a new concept, and selling Computer Aided Drafting & Manufacturing systems when draftspersons didn’t use computers. I nearly lost my first sales job when I got a mobile phone, as my manager was outraged I could be “sucked in by a useless fad that will never catch on.” What I learned from these experiences is you can’t get something accepted until you educate the market to its value. That education can happen two ways; spend a enormous amount of time and energy doing it, or wait for the market to come of age and evolve in step with it.

Kevin Magee is the CEO of Raine & Horne South Australia. Kevin commenced his real estate career in 2004 after working in a variety of senior management, sales, training and engineering roles for several of the world’s leading companies and has produced award winning results in virtually every role.

I am strongly in favour of using QR Codes in all mediums as they have unlimited possibilities to engage customers and increase sales if used correctly. However, it is a technology that most people do not yet understand and a common mistake in marketing is to underestimate the public’s appetite for innovation. While the number of people who know what QR Codes are increases daily, most people don’t understand what they are or their benefit to them. The technology is here to stay, but agents need to consider how to use them to add value, especially when considering it’s vendors who typically will be paying for them in additional newspaper space.

My favourite story of about QR Codes happened as I was finishing this article over a coffee between appointments when a member of the public asked what I was working on. I turned my computer around, pointed to the QR Code and asked “Do you know what that is?” she answered “No, but if I stare at it long enough I’m sure I’ll see it,” she then moved up close to the screen and started to stare at it waiting for ‘a 3D Unicorn or something similar’ to appear. ‘Nuff said.

Kevin Magee is the CEO of Raine & Horne SA.

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