An interesting concept of mobile marketing is supposed to be introduced soon in Germany. In Japan and South Korea, the concept is widely known, and accepted among users. The technology was developed by the Japanese company Denso Wave already in the year 1994. It is a bar code, called QR Code (quick response). The development of the technology was initiated by Toyota in order to mark components and devices. Lately, the bar code has been discovered for mobile marketing and has been implemented successfully. Since nearly all new cell phones have an integrated camera, you just need a special software to convert your normal cell phone into a bar code scanner.
In Japan, QR Codes are used to encode, for example, URLs in magazines, flyers or on billboards. The user then just has to scan the code in order to retrieve the desired information from a certain website. The code can be applied to provide travel information and facilitate e-ticketing, but also to download all kinds of entertainment features. Telephone numbers and addresses as well can be encoded and the user does not have to enter the data manually. Simple scanning is enough and you can save numbers and addresses easily in your cell phone.
In Germany, in November 2007 the newspaper Welt Kompakt introduced the QR Code for the first time. They encoded URLs of websites with additional information on the articles.
The only obstacle to introducing these codes comprehensively is that there is no international standard, and therefore not every software is able to read all codes. They are however working on this, and therefore it is just a question of time till we can retrieve additional information easily with the cell phone and store business card information not manually, but just by scanning. I am of the opinion that this sounds very promising, and will bring fresh air especially to the, by cell phone users, sceptically seen sector of mobile marketing. This kind of mobile marketing promises to be effective and informative because of its pull character without being associated with spamming at all.