When we think about the hottest trends in marketing, we think about mobile. When we think about mobile, we think about QR codes, those checkerboard-like squares that, when scanned with a smartphone, take users directly to a website. QR codes can be static or take consumers to personalized URLs.

While most people associate QR codes with younger consumers, older consumers should not be overlooked. Smartphone users in the 35-54-year-old bracket represent the largest percentage of QR code use, but those in the 55+-year-old bracket are the fastest growing demographic of users.

Among those tracking the demographics of QR code use is Mobio Identity Systems, a mobile payments processing company. Drawing data from its servers, it found in Q1 2011 that QR code usage was highest in the 35-54-year-old bracket-49%. But it also found something surprising. Thirteen percent of QR code scanners were 55 years old or older. This is up from 11% in the second half of 2010.

ScanBuy, which offers a platform for creating and scanning 1D and 2D barcodes, reports nearly identical numbers. In Q3 2011, it found that 13% of 2D barcode users were in the 55+-year-old bracket, up from 8% in Q2 2011. That's a lift of 62%! In Q1, only 1% of QR codes scanned through its system came from consumers in this bracket. Kind of gives you whiplash, doesn't it?

What does this mean for you? If you're looking to take customers and prospects online, age doesn't need to be a barrier to the use of QR codes.

The benefits of QR codes are significant:
• They allow a direct connection from print to the Web.
• They make accessing URLs easier by taking viewers directly to the site without having to type in URLs manually.
• They allow consumers to respond to your message at the very instant their interest is piqued.

People are scanning QR codes regardless of their age. Even if many of your target customers and prospects are 55+, don't be afraid to use QR codes. Just make sure you provide alternative response mechanisms for those not yet smartphone-inclined.

Need help? Talk to us about how and when to use QR codes in your next marketing campaign.