The Carvajal Group Blog

Decoded

December 19th, 2011

Marketing is the lifeblood of an agent’s success and new advancements in technology have provided an easy measuring stick to see which agents are keeping up and which ones are falling behind. This is especially important in a major city like Austin, where Austin Realtors attempt to leverage their understanding of “cutting-edge” technology in order to set them apart from their competition. But what happens when a tech trend is over-hyped and may not be worth the paper it’s printed on? That’s how I see the every mysterious Quick Response (QR) code fad.

Austin Realtors have embraced the QR movement in everything from lawn signs to business cards to a quick linked Austin home search and countless blogs hyping QR ability. I will even admit to being initially intrigued by it’s potential, but it was a quick realization that these symbols are inefficient and, more often than not, confusing to the masses. Unlike URL’s or even SMS text codes, QR codes aren’t mainstream and have started to teeter on the verge of becoming a gimmick. If the problem at hand is getting the user from the marketing material to the content (be in a website or otherwise) as quickly as possible then the QR code an imperfect solution. The marginal difference in the time it takes to open up your phones designated QR reader application, hold it steady and align it to scan versus just typing the URL into the browser is an example of one of it’s larger issue – efficiency. The point of technology is to make life easier and unfortunately QR codes take you from point A to point B at the same speed but along a different path.

Arguably the biggest issue is that QR codes are designed to skew towards the tech savvy users and that demographic usually doesn’t align with the real estate buyer/seller demographic that Realtors should be focused on. Austin is a tech based city, it’s true we are home to Google, Apple, Facebook and hundreds of other companies that are riding the fiber optic wave, but according to a study by the National Association of Realtors, the average age of a home buyer in 2011 was 39 years-old. Well, maybe this is for the younger generation – maybe they get it and have totally bought in? Wrong. CNN recently published a report done by Archrival, a research group that focuses on youth marketing. They surveyed 500 college students at various universities across the United States and the feedback speaks volumes. They found that although 80% of students owned a smartphone and have seen a QR code; only about 20% were able to successfully scan an example code they were given. Furthermore, only 75% said they were likely to scan one in the future and a staggering 8 out of 10 student had no idea what to even do with it.

Don’t believe the hype.

For more information on Austin Real Estate or assistance with your Austin home search, please call me at (512) 516-9110.

Tags: Austin Home Search · Austin Real Estate · Austin Real Estate Market