Cemeteries Take QR Codes to the Grave

August 01, 2012 | Brendan Cournoyer
Cemeteries Take QR Codes to the Grave

How big have QR codes become these days? Even the recently deceased are taking advantage.

As smartphone sales have skyrocketed over the past few years, the popularity of using Quick Response (QR) codes for mobile marketing has risen with it. But while we’ve already seen companies use QR codes in hundreds of new and creative ways, I can’t say anything prepared me for this latest story of mobile innovation.

Earlier this year, an Indiana-based monument company began incorporating QR code technology with cemetery grave stones. (If you had to go back and read that sentence again, don’t worry. So did I, and I wrote it.)

As reported by WCPO.com, packages are now available where families can have QR codes added to the surface of a loved one’s monument or headstone. When scanned with a smartphone, visitors are taken to a website dedicated to the deceased person’s memory. The websites can include everything from obituaries, biographies, images – even audio messages left from the people in question.

OK, so a few initial reactions from me.

First – wow. This is either genius or an incredibly morbid use of mobile technology, or possibly both. (The designer of the QR codes, Randy Allen, doesn’t see it that way. “I don’t think it’s creepy,” he explains in the article. “I think a lot of people really like this product, and they like the idea that they can share the memories.”)

So there’s that.

My second reaction, however, was that QR codes really are more popular than most of us realize. And keep in mind, I once wrote an article citing that 14 million Americans scanned bar or QR codes in June 2011 alone. It says something that cemeteries and monument companies are not only taking advantage of this technology, but people are also completely comfortable with the idea. It just goes to show you how prevalent QR codes have become in today’s smartphone-driven mobile world.

It also shows that literally any type of company has the potential to benefit from utilizing QR codes in some way, particularly for video marketing and directing customers to online presentations. So even if you’re a bit creeped out by the thought of smartphone-enabled grave stones, hopefully this story at least inspires you to look into the different ways your company can take advantage of today’s mobile technology.

For some other cool, less-creepy ways to utilize QR codes, check out this post by Fast Company’s Rich Brooks on 13 Creative Ways to Use QR Codes for Marketing. You can also view this video to learn more about how QR codes can be used to extend the reach and impact of your Brainshark presentations.

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