When it comes to mobile media and new marketing techniques QR or quick response codes and text marketing come to mind.  There’s a lot of buzz going on with these – especially in the real estate profession that is on top of all the latest technology and gadgets to help their struggling industry.

What’s the difference?  Is one better than the other?  I thought I’d lay out some pros and cons of each to help you decide.

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QR Codes
Here, a person is prompted to take a picture of the QR code to get additional information, coupons, etc.


  • You can create one for free.
  • They are customizable.  You can have them link to a website, coupons, maps, polls, mp3s, etc.
  • The digital reader apps are free.
  • No paper here (Hug a tree!) unless you print it.


  • You can only “read” a QR code if you have a smart phone AND a digital reader app.  However, some readers are allowing you to simply take a picture and send it via text or email to read later at home.  This allows someone with a simple camera phone to view QR codes.  ScanLife is one such company providing this service.
  • You do have to get close to take the codes picture.  I mention this only because I ran across a real estate agent’s blog post where he scoffed at the idea of people getting out of their cars to take a picture of a QR code on a real estate sign.  Considering that people already get out of their cars to get a flyer, this is not that laughable, but QR codes probably cannot totally replace flyers just yet.

Text Marketing
In this case, a person will text a keyword to a shortcode and get an auto response.  In most cases, this also means that they have opted in to future text messages from the company, etc.


  • Anyone with a cell phone can receive them. Obviously, standard text messaging rates would apply.
  • No apps or additional software is needed to receive text messages.
  • Text messages can include links to websites, polls, maps, etc.
  • You collect user data for future marketing, loyalty-building, promotions, etc.
  • Your brand or product is featured in the keyword choice.
  • Eco-friendly


  • Links are only accessible for those with an internet data plan on their cell.  If they don’t have an internet plan, they will receive the link, but will have to type it into a computer’s web browser to access.
  • Text marketing usually cost to secure keyword and send messages.  Packages are tiered based on the number of messages needed to send.

In both cases, if you are directing them to a website, it’s a good idea to have a website that is mobile friendly.  More and more people are going online via their cell phones so it is imperative to not only have a user-friendly website, but one that is also mobile-friendly.

So still unsure which to go with?  QR codes are fun and the price tag makes it a huge draw.  Anyone can create a QR code and link it to whatever they want.  But for the serious marketer text marketing is going to stand out  hands down.  And no, it’s not because I sell the greatest text marketing platform in the U.S.  Two words – data collection.  With text marketing you collect opted-in numbers.  No need to send a confirmation text to ask again if they want to be on the list.  A simple message to text “Stop” if they want to opt-out is all that is needed.  With the iZigg platform this occurs automatically to protect our clients from being accused as spammers.  With text marketing you develop continuous value to grow customer loyalty in the media they have with them 24/7.

I recommend using both depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.  Trying to grow a Facebook page with the sale of your new book?  Include a QR code.  Looking to notify your band’s groupies on Facebook when you’ll be doing your next concert?  Push a text opt-in.  Want my contact information to setup a brainstorming session?  Text “Janeile” (no quotes) to 90210.