QR Code Scavenger Hunts

My recent [QR code adventures] reminded me of a marketing scheme that some companies are finding quite receptive: QR code scavenger hunts. These organizations include online blog and gift shop Neatorama, video game developer Square Enix, and even the city of Topeka. All you need to do is decide on where you want to take your audience.

You need to promote the scavenger hunt first, especially if there is a prize. It will cause people to check your website regularly for more information on the kickoff event. Speaking of the kickoff event, you need to decide on a fair way to get everyone started at the same time. Perhaps you could post a QR code on your site at previously specified time. If you don’t expect your site can handle a lot of traffic perhaps post a message telling participants to gather in a specific location at a certain time where a representative will give out the first clue in person. If your scavenger hunt is not a race, there is no need to make the first clue “fair” as people will participate at different times, ultimately being led to whatever information you wish for them to have. 

Once you give your audience the first clue, they will venture to the location and find a QR code. The code will give them a clue to the next location they need to visit, and so on and so forth. Scavenger hunts can be strictly digital too. Give visitors to your site a QR code that when scanned will give them a clue for another website they might visit and repeat the process successively until they are led to a contest entry form.

Scavenger hunts are great for businesses with multiple assets. Have the QR codes take customers on a journey to places they might not otherwise go, but have relevance to your company. Take them on a tour of their city, stopping at a number of important landmarks along the way. Scavenger hunts are also memorable and the experience will be in the adventurers mind for some time.

The downside to QR code scavenger hunts is that I believe there is a limited amount of time during which they will be effective. QR codes are becoming more and more popular. Some curious user is downloading their first reader app as you read this. Once they get it, they will scan every QR code in sight much like I did on my QR Adventures. But how long will they seek QR codes for before it becomes a passive action? They will soon only scan ones they happen upon when it interests them. Do you remember how exciting the Internet was in the 90s? I used to beg my dad to take me to work with him so I could mess with his computer. Now the Internet is part of our everyday lives. So too may be QR codes, but the novelty will inevitably wear off.

If you’re going to make a scavenger hunt, do it now while QR codes are still short of commonplace. 

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