Tag Archives: Marketing

The future of print marketing in a digital world

The future of interactive print

In my penultimate blog for 2015, I take a look at how interactive print can take us from the physical into the online world and make the content we read more fun and entertaining. Print or digital? Do we really need to choose?

In the post, the transformation of print in a multi-channel world, I showcased innovations that are available and essentially transform print into a work of digital art.

I highlighted that print isn’t dead.

Like many, I live in the digital and physical world of online and print consuming content determined by where I am, what I’m doing and how much time I have.

Print has been doggedly fighting new digital technology and innovations, from email marketing to online banking there can be no disputing the fact that print dominance has gradually been eroded by new forms of media.

Why have the paper version when the mobile option makes it truly portable and flexible?

multichannelDespite this, there is a growing reluctance to admit that email and online marketing never reached their full potential, with many of us reaching saturation point with overflowing inboxes and junk e-marketing.

Increased awareness of the environmental impact of technology, print is seeing a resurgence particularly in direct mail and there is a real desire for the printed word.

Is print seen as the naughty boy?

I hear comments like oh, print is finished or we’ve cut right back on all our printed items.

Why not look at print differently?

Utilise new technology to deliver the advantages of traditional print but incorporate the latest digital innovations that take print from paper into the digital world.

You can read more about that here.

Only 10 to 15 years ago print was seen as a traditional safe way of delivering communications.

Consumer habits change almost daily.

We use a wide range of devices to access information from apps, to social media to contactless and apple pay purchasing, how humans digest information is fragmented.

Audiences switch between smartphone, tablet to PC to view and purchase this makes it difficult for the marketing manager to create campaigns that engage with their customers.

Technology has helped marketers and brands to understand their audiences and target them with personalised information suitable for them.

We are reliant on mobile technology and there is a generation of young people who have little interaction with print and I think it is very important that we don’t lose print altogether.

The challenge for the print industry is to be able to reinvent itself through new innovations like augmented reality/layar technology and capitalise on these developments by making print truly interactive so the printed word speaks to you.

In the past five years, there have been significant developments in digital technology working with print.

AR (augmented reality) transforms print into interactive content with videos and more digital content.

Layar was one of the early mobile augmented reality browsers to come to market in 2009 providing augmented reality and interactive print bridging the gap between print and the digital world.

Being able to scan items with the Layar logo like magazines, newspapers, movie posters and more, print is brought to life enriched with videos, web content, links to social media, websites and purchasing.

Layar is now part of the Blippar group and according to their website have had more than 46 million downloads by consumers who are keen to digest more content both from print and digital.

Video on demand gives marketing and brands the opportunity to deliver highly personalised advertising and content.

Think BMW or Mercedes Benz highly targeted and personalised print and digitalprint advertising with AR; the user scans and views how the car performs.

After you’ve visited the showroom, expressed an interest in a particular make and model, marketing then send you a highly interactive personalised piece of direct mail allowing you to scan and view the content.

Imagine how engaging that is for the recipient if combined with a limited discount offer or free servicing.

A badly designed print item will deliver a poor result much the same with interactive print, simply adding interactive content to a poorly designed print item won’t yield good results.

But create a great bit of print and then add an engaging interactive video or content that will deliver great results.

print and digital

The challenge for the print and marketing industry is not solely the creation of content to drive revenue but encouraging the adoption of interactive content as another touch point for the audience.

Educating marketers to use interactive print and digital that will link all their marketing channels and engage with an otherwise fragmented audience is the challenge to making print interactive and engaging in the long term.

The transformation of print in a multi-channel world

That was the theme of a conference I attended in London last week.

Is print finished? The transformation of print in a multi channel world

It is transforming and is a crucial element of the digital media world we live in.

Print is the first touchpoint for the recipient to touch, feel, read and even smell before they enter the digital world.

Surprisingly of the eleven speakers, not one tried to bury print.

I was expecting at least one speaker to talk about the demise of print but whilst everyone in the audience and speakers agreed that print has declined in the newspaper sector, the opposite is happening in magazines, direct mail and general print.

In 2015 £13.9 billion was spent on print, in 2010 it was 14 billion so print is holding its own during one of the most turbulent economic climates we’ve experienced in the last thirty years.

the transformation of print in a multi channel worldPrint is adapting and so are the manufacturers of print who recognise the need to provide a digital and physical version for people to consume content.

Content producers are all too aware that it is the content that matters and not the medium.

Producing content means we really need to think about the audience. Are they mobile users and internet-based or do they prefer the written word?

Measuring consumer engagement for example how long they spend reading content is far more relevant than where they actually consume it, in print, in digital format on the web or via mobile device.

Print is not necessarily better than digital it is simply another way of consuming information and is demographic dependent.

Deloitte discovered that while we may The transformation of print in a multi channel worldperceive that books are on the decline the reverse is true. 8% were in favour of physical books rather than e-books.

A tablet offers an immediate immersive reader experience, print is a slow burner.

One of the main characteristics that were highlighted at the conference were the statistics demonstrating people’s desire to slow down and enjoy content rather than feeling compelled to consume it instantly.

Reading content on a phone or tablet is quick and responsive it also comes with a heap of distractions leaving you anxious and stressed.

Reading physical print you ‘make time’, tablets and smartphones it is about ‘fill time’.

Advertising messages tend to be forgotten because the mobile experience is faster but is stressful as we are under fire from popups and ads.

Whether content is read on a tablet or in print the emotional reactions to the content tend to be similar but it is the actual content that determines how and where we consume it.

The transformation of print in a multi channel worldPlatform VS content drives how it is read.

Make content snackable or bite-sized in a digital format is easier to digest.  Physical print is easier to read for longer periods and there are no distractions.

Digital technologies allow a brand to use more personal touchpoints to engage with the audience and in a self-centred world, it is about building relationships through personalisation.

Take Coke’s branded bottle campaign of 2014. What a great example of the benefits of personalisation.

Personalising individual bottles with Christian names led to a 7% increase in consumption, a 2.1% increase in sales and 18.3 million impressions.

Coke’s marketing goal was to engage with a younger audience and they achieved this by making it personal and individual.

The physical printing of names on the bottle created greater engagement, interaction and differentiation.

Digital brands notably Google, Net-A-Porter, Apple, Facebook, Linkedin and Airbnb are some of the large brands combining print with their digital marketing.

The tech companies insist that the best way for brands to reach consumers is via digital communications, they too have seen the benefits of print advertising to connect with audiences.

Google, in 2013 spent £5m on outdoor advertising and £3.5m on press ads, likewise LinkedIn created a direct mail pack in 2014 to announce it had reached 15 million UK subscribers and to promote the launch of its student hub after it emerged that students were one of its fastest-growing cohorts.The transformation of print in a digital world

Print is meaningful, emotional and enhances the reading experience.

In 2014, we spent £1.3 bn on magazine media with 73% of the adult population subscribe to a monthly magazine, in either digital or paper format.

Leading magazine brands are writing their exclusives in print and delivering snippets of information via social media. Vogue magazine has an estimated viewing time online of 9.02 minutes with an average of fifty minutes per issue readership.

Microsoft concluded from research that the changing nature of attention has now decreased from 10 to 8 seconds on a mobile device. This means if the advert is irrelevant or doesn’t hit the spot then the reader leaves.

The argument should not be focused solely on if digital or paper is better. It should be how to effectively monopolise both formats used together coupled with the right platform to deliver the marketing message.

Big data and marketing personalisation?

Big data and content marketingWhat is big data and how does it fit in with marketing personalisation?

No doubt you’ve seen articles about “big data” and maybe even had your inbox inundated with “big data” news.

Last year I wrote about content and cross media personalisation and how print and the various social media platforms interact with each other creating a touch point for customers to engage.

What does it mean?

Big data is nothing new, in fact it has been around for a long time. It has just got bigger.

Let me explain.

When I browse I know that I am being tracked or followed around the web, unique customised adverts designed to entice me to buy based on my browsing history are evidence of this.

Having crossed over to the dark side by joining google business, well meaning colleagues have commented ‘doesn’t it feel a little like big brother is watching over you.’

But wait a minute…

Amazon is a great example of giving its customers a personalised viewing experience based on your shopping history.

When you click through and place an order with amazon you get further recommendations in your inbox or on your amazon homepage for other items you might be interested in viewing; ‘personalisation’ and ‘customisation’ is key to amazon’s buying experience.

Recently I had the pleasure of writing up a great review for a restaurant we ate in Paris on Trip Advisor and whilst I was browsing on a completely unrelated website an advert popped up with a list of recommended places to eat in Paris uniquely personalised for me.

I have to admit; it left me feeling a little shall we say uncomfortable under the collar.

How do these unrelated websites track my buying habits or know what I’m likely to be interested in purchasing or where I like to eat?

When on holiday in europe, adverts pop up whilst I’m browsing hi-lighting things I could be doing relevant to the very country I’m in.

It’s all about ‘big data’.

I like wikipedia’s definition of big data, ’a term used for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using database management tools’

Retailers and big brands are leading the way in using big data analysing our unique buying trends. The analytics of customer data has got bigger due to interaction and engagement the consumer has on social media platforms.

Big data isn’t new. Retailer loyalty cards, medical records, tax returns all this kind of data has and is managed using a relationship customer database.

The challenge for marketers’ and managers of big data is how to manage the massive surge in data.

New skills are needed to understand what to do with this data and let’s not forget that the job of a big data analytics person didn’t exist five years ago.

We live in an online and digital world where data has got bigger – from the number of tweets to text messages, facebook updates, online shopping and the gadgets we use to interact online.

Smartphones send and receive large volumes of data; the heating thermostat that can be set using a smartphone so your house is warm when you return home from work or the washing machine that can be remotely set to come on at a specific time.

All of these processes involve sending or receiving large chunks of data, which is being used to monitor our buying quirks and hi-light when we are more likely to be online and reciprocal to marketing messages.

Hang on a minute any data is good data isn’t it? marketing personalisation and big marketing


Having a load of data is all well and good but if you don’t know how to analyse or interpret it then it’s useless and of course what do you hope to achieve once you have all this data? Companies are only just realising that data is a valuable asset that can be exploited for targeted marketing.

Using the data you have and understanding what it is telling you is key to personalising your marketing message to your audience and these will be some of the questions that marketers need to ask before they deliver mass marketing messages to their audience.

Using data to ‘personalise’ a buyers experience and understanding your audiences’ persona is key to delivering an effective message.

Sending or emailing a marketing message for a two seater BMW Z4 to a family of four who drive a saloon car has missed it’s target audience.

They may well be car junkies and watch Top Gear every sunday but they are unlikely to walk into a garage and buy the car.

Consumers know that when they use their loyalty cards or purchase online and register their details on a site the information is then used to create personalised content to make the buying experience unique and highly personalised next time.

Most banks have vast amounts of data gleaned from our saving and spending habits and companies who send invoices or statements electronically use the data to create targeted personalised marketing messages so the customer will hopefully make more purchases.

content marketing and big dataEmailing a personalised marketing message is not quite so intrusive as being lam-blasted with pop up messages as my example above, or, being subjected to a mass of unsolicited, unpersonalised email from a company that you vaguely recollect in your distant memory because you made a purchase and now they think they can seduce you into buying that oh so much needed lawnmower when their data should be telling them you live in a flat and hate gardening.

How would you respond if you:-

  • Fill up in the same garage weekly and you get a promotional message via text or direct mail telling you that during the month of April the garage is offering 5p off every gallon of fuel because they recognise you as a regular customer and want to say thank you.
  • You purchased 6 toner cartridges last month and because the company you bought them from value your regular custom send you 10 boxes of laser compatible stationery to say thank you.
  • You spend a lot of time travelling from the UK to Europe staying in a well known business hotel chain and you get a text message welcoming you to your hotel on your next trip with a free evening meal and a glass of wine to say thank you for your valued custom.

That is what I mean about being targeted, specific and knowing your audience.

Now what was I saying about big brother watching…