The answer is...it depends. Sorry if you were hoping for a more definitive answer but, like many technologies, it really depends on how you are planning on using it and why. Mashable named QR codes one of the 8 Big Trends That Shaped the Mobile Phone Industry in 2011, and being in on the latest trends is always tempting. I am all for exploring the latest technology, but I think a key step to take before using them (or any new technology) in your organization is familiarizing yourself with the technology beforehand. Sign up for that new social media site and use it personally for a while, or in the case of QR codes, how many times have you scanned a QR code with your phone? Or known others who have? When have you found it helpful? Scott Stratten's UnMarketing Keynote at the National Arts Marketing Project conference offers some (rather humorous) examples of how not to use QR codes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2rVYvylvZc If you get past the step of concluding a QR code would be a useful addition to something your organization is doing, there are a few things to keep in mind:
"QR codes function as context portals, enhancing our in-person experience with related digital information — for example, a flyer for a career workshop with a code driving you to a basic (mobile-friendly!) registration form or an advertisement for a concert featuring a code linking to a short video preview. There’s a lot of debate about the future of QR codes, but whether they stay or or go these types of informational way stations will be critical connectors in this new landscape, delivering contextually-relevant content." -Georgy Cohen, Aligning Content Online and Offline, Meet Content
"QR codes do enjoy a high-level of awareness among college students yet only a fraction (21%) could properly scan and activate the code. Why the discrepancy? According to our findings, students simply struggled with the process. Some didn’t know a 3rd party app was needed, many mistakenly assumed it could be activated with their camera, and others just lost interest, saying the activity took too long." -Don Agguire, QR Codes Go to College, Archrival Youth Marketing
"Employ simple language around the code itself. Not necessarily every user knows what a QR code is or that you must download the app prior to using. An example ‘Scan this code with your smartphone to watch these stories’ and be as specific as you can as to what the viewer will see." -Nicole O'Connell, To Scan or Not to Scan: Use of QR codes in Enrollment MarketingAnother interesting read is Mashable's Why QR Codes Won't Last which drummed up a lot of discussion in the comments. Have you successfully (or unsuccessfully) used a QR code in a campaign? What was your experience?