Normally I'm not a fan of any barrier to communication, but today I'm going to make an exception with this caveat: barriers to clear and open communication are bad, UNLESS it's done on purpose… for the purpose of communicating with a specific target audience.
Look at QR codes. These graphic 2D images can contain contact info, URLs, or even just notes, but they can only be read by people with a decoder on their iPhone or other mobile device. So it seems silly to put only a QR code on a billboard, but this is pretty common, especially in Japan.
Why? Well, first of all, it's ideal for advertising to teenagers, or any other technophile group. Second, it's mysterious, and the only way to satisfy the curiosity is to decode it. Finally, when it's decoded, the information is automatically stored on the mobile device so that even the most unmotivated potential customer is spared writing down your message.
In other words, QR codes break through communications barriers, even as they create them.
Conference calling is another good example of this good type of communication barrier/barrier breaker. They're a barrier because no one can simply pick up a phone to join a teleconference without first obtaining a conference code. And conference calls break through the money, time, and distance barriers to immediate and effective meetings.
Like QR codes, conference calls help reach target markets. Using a teleconference registration page on your website for example, provides you with participants that:
- Have been to your website
- Are somewhat familiar with your products
- Are motivated enough to exchange contact information for a conference code.
This means that a conference call with these particular participants will be a far more effective use of time and money than say, simply buying some leads and cold-calling.
Putting my money where my mouth is, I'm going to put the QR code pictured above on a t-shirt to wear next time I go out. The embedded message is one that speaks to my personal target audience: smart, tech-savvy, and has a good sense of humor.
(If you have an iPhone and want to read the QR code in this post, download the free “QR app” from the app store. Or, you can simply click here to go to the decoded message. Also, tell us about your QR code experiences. Go here to QR code your comment to us!)