Did you know QR (Quick Response) Codes have been commonplace in Japan since 1994? These boxy, somewhat revamped bar codes have only made it to the States in the past few years, and they are showing no signs of going away soon.

QR Codes are scanned by smartphone users, and they can be found on everything from grocery stores to billboards to t-shirts. This new technology takes scanners to a place where they can get more information, a coupon or discount, or even enter them into a drawing.

Companies have found quite unique uses for QR Codes, including Quiring Monuments in Washington. This service offers headstones with QR Codes included—as well as quality web hosting services to those buying new monuments. Although initially this QR Codesmay seem like a strange practice, people like Faye Garneau really appreciate this technology. Her husband’s gravestone was adorned with a QR Code several months ago, and she thinks of it as more of a living monument. The QR Code takes scanners to a website that highlights his life, including photos. The beauty of the site is that it is not stagnant—family and friends are able to continually add to the content to honor his life.

How can you get involved in this QR craze? How can you make your paper advertising come to life and attract more customers? It is easy to find a QR Code generator; just Google it. Turn your URL,QR Codes your coupon, your video, or even your favorite recipe into a landing page, and make your advertising more interactive. The great thing about QR Codes is that they are trackable, which makes it very simple to see the specific lead generation resulting from your entrance into the QR world.

So there you have it—a new way to market your product or service on a more personal level. This is a great example of the traditional marketing vs. the internet marketing approach. Internet marketing is the future for business, and QR Codes are just one aspect. Let’s embrace these black and white boxes and use Japan’s idea in our best interest.

Jamie Bates