QR codes are cooler if you know what you're doingOkay, I understand that the world is moving at an incredible pace. Doing business online means keeping up with each new startup (Pinterest anyone?) and trying to remember what Google has done to their algorithm lately. It’s a lot to juggle.

To be entirely honest this makes my job a gazillion times easier. Unlike my clients that have to spend their time running their business, all I do is keep up with online trends. I watch a few rocking webinars and I can sound like a brilliant resource for a few weeks. And as long as I am investing the time on fun things like reading stellar blogs and interacting with very cool people online, I am curating the best of the web. This means all of my days are full of fun for me and amazing information for my clientele.

Here’s the rub: nobody can do everything! And in this current online economy there are just way, way, way too many things out there to test.

I found a hilarious blog today on Google + via Bill Hartzer’s feed. The blog is entitled “WTF QR Codes” and you can find the direct link here – http://wtfqrcodes.com/

This illustration is a prime example of companies wasting money on something shiny that they don’t understand. QR codes, email marketing, PPC, social media, anything and everything can be a dynamic and wonderful source of leads… or a total money pit.

The reason that these things become popular is twofold: they are new, and they work. However, just because you try something doesn’t mean it is going to work for you.

Let me put it another way. There are lots of companies out there using QR codes strategically to bring in business. My favorite example comes from First Bank and their placement of QR codes within Denver International Airport. They ran an awesome “helpful” campaign to spread the word about their business. They recognized that people in airports are often bored and looking for something to fill their time. So they set up QR codes for free sudoku and books. This was a fantastic way to use QR codes.

On the opposite end of the spectrum you have the examples from WTF QR Codes…

Now do you get the picture? It’s not that QR codes are a waste of money, it’s that without proper forethought anything can be a waste of money.

So before you jump into a new type of marketing, do more than just look. Be sure to read, investigate and find some case studies of powerful ways that marketing method worked. Then, take the time to compile a strategy that will work for your business and your audience.

To get you started on the road to discovering how content marketing can share your corporate story check out this awesome post and infographic from Content Marketing Institute.

Don’t be embarrassed, we’ve all wasted our precious marketing budget on stupid stuff. What’s the biggest money pit you’ve had? Leave it in the comments below.