Tag Archives: print media


How to use print interactively. Augmented Reality and QR codes

At a recent customer meeting I was held to task by a statement print word in letterpress typemade by one of the marketing officers, ‘print is not as effective as digital’.

I considered my response carefully and suggested that this is a generalisation, misused to criticise print and keep marketing and advertising budgets lower, as if using print would escalate costs. But, I went onto suggest that whilst the statement is true it is also untrue. iStock_000023887471Small

Digital lends itself to short, trivial messages which can be effective and cheaper than print because distribution and receipt of the message is instant.

For more complex information or understanding of a product or service than print affords high resolution, better typography, colour, composition, special effects and beautiful fulfillment which cannot be delivered by digital media, yet.

The effectiveness of print largely depends on the message you want to convey to your audience, what kind of response you want to get and what your ultimate objective is.

The marketing officer went on to say even if you design and deliver a fantastic piece of physical marketing it really is just a bit of paper isn’t it?

And then I showed him how to incorporate QR codes and Augmented reality into his physical print media and guess what he had an epiphany.

‘I didn’t realise that print could do all that’. Scanning QR code with mobile phone

How do I use a QR code with my marketing collateral?

QR codes create a link between print and the digital world making your marketing work twice as hard because it is measurable.

QR codes make it simpler for your customers to purchase by shortening their purchasing journey. At the same time you can collect information about their buying behaviour for future offers and discounts.

QR codes can be printed on all printed material from advertisements, direct mail, letterheads, business cards, magazines, brochures, sales and marketing material.

Each code contains information that sends the customer straight to a specific PURL/landing page that’s been designed with a marketing objective in mind, a digital newsletter, video or social media site like a facebook page.

Using a smartphone with a QR code scanner the customer scans the code and is taken to a specific site that might be an invitation to buy or sign up for a newsletter or subscription.

Once the QR code is scanned, information can be saved about where the customer is located, at what time of day purchases are made and how the customer responds to your marketing.

QR codes improve your customer interaction by creating opportunities to generate dialogue with customers and statistics can be measured for future marketing objectives.

QR codes can also be personalised using information supplied via a CRM and then printed directly onto any printed marketing material.

QR codes are used to connect print with digital communication but they can contain any kind of information you want which makes them limitless in how you choose to use them.

For example you can link an advert or an invoice to a special offer on your website or re-direct them to a specific landing page.

The QR code can be added to any type of printed collateral and the customer can claim a discount right away.

A QR code is also a great way of rewarding loyal customers by connecting with them on social media and having a specific landing page that enables them to collect points or gain discounts.

How can I use Augmented Reality with my print marketing?

Augmented reality is adding a new dimension to the world of physical print because it is turning printed media into multimedia.

Why send readers to a website to watch a video when then can watch it on a page?

Marketing is about engaging with your audience by making content interesting, interactive and informative.

AR is an effective way of engaging your audience by placing advertisements so that your target audience is moved to want to make a purchase. iStock_000025176791Small

By viewing printed materials through an augmented reality app’s viewfinder a world of interactive digital content is available.

The advertisement or message comes alive with computer generated video, sound or games accessed through a smartphone or tablet.

AR can be used to show how a product works or allow readers access to other content. It is another way of making print or text interactive making the consumer experience fun and hopefully leads then down the path to purchasing.

AR is interactive and has the potential to increase audience engagement by reaching your target audiences in new ways using mobile devices.

What makes AR even more appealing is its ability to deliver targeted advertising messages to the people who request them because they are reading an article or feature they are genuinely interested in.

By scanning a code or pointing their device at an image on a sign, a printed page in a magazine or brochure or on a billboard, content becomes dynamic and engaging increasing the likelihood of the consumer to move along the purchasing journey.

How to engage your customers across multi-media channels

Customers are demanding faster and better information which has traditionally been delivered by direct sales and marketing planning.

Being able to interact with customers through multi-media channels is necessary for brands, companies and organisations to get their message out there by developing strong personal relationships with long term customers.multi-channel engagement

Creating a successful multi-media channel experience can seem beyond the capabilities of most organisations not only in time and internal resources but also cost and ROI.

Creating your own brand or imagery and being able to interact on a variety of multi-media channels is key to long term success.

A brand is not just the name of a business, a product or service it’s about establishing an emotional connection with the customer.

Your company or persona is more than just a company name on the top of your letter-heading it is about the identity of the people in your organisation and it’s personality.

The old adage that people buy people rings true. People buy your services based on emotion and the honesty they perceive in your brand or company.

By creating an identity and personality for your company the customers buying decision is easier because they are able to identify with the company, product, or service through association.

Increasing recognition by building an online presence are integral to making your brand and organisation credible.

content personalisation

How do I build my brand identity using multi-media channels?

Brand awareness is built through print media advertising, social media and multi-media channel touch points.

Whether you use the more traditional methods of marketing like direct mail, emailing, product launch events, blogs and video campaigns.content personalisation

Whatever strategies your business employs says a lot about you and the personality of the organisation or brand.

The key is making sure you stay in front of your audience so that when they are ready to buy they call or contact you.

Multi-media channel interaction is pretty much expected through all types of customer interactions including communication.

Customers want to be able to view documents on different media, from email, mobile, online and print depending on context and convenience.

This makes it impossible to predict which media channel will be used when, where and by whom, content has to be available on all platforms.

Organisations need to be transparent, honest and flexible so that the customer sees similar information on all media platforms this in turn creates consistency and continuity and creates familiarity which the prospective customer can identify with when they are ready to buy.

In the world of online, choice is easier for customers and an organisation that gives customers easy access to a variety of channels can differentiate itself. e-payslips

Knowing your audience and interpreting the data from the various multi-media channel touch points provides more opportunity to gather information about customers.

Complicated registration web forms which look more like A-level science questions than the simple sign up forms enable your customers to sign up and register easily without the customer being made to feel they are giving too much away and makes the process easier to collate information.

Using a sign up form that is connected to anyone of their social media accounts identifies the registrant with a social profile. They are more likely to enter their personal information onto an online registration form than offering it to a call centre.

By having that information available across all the platforms the organisation has more opportunities to capture the information making it more effective and usable when identifying niche audiences.

If an organisation can track how a customer is consuming information on what device and where, will make targeted marketing messages easier.

As long as all channels are communicating than a customer should only have to enter their data once.

Every social media channel has its own unique set of challenges but there are some best practices that should be observed:

  1. Be consistent, by this I mean any information, documentation and communication across all the multi-media channels should have the same imagery, look and feel so the customer is familiar with your brand or company.

  2. Creating a single document that has the same imagery, logos, branding like an online marketing piece, advert etc. make sure there is an individual strategy to deploy it across all channels. The message doesn’t have to be identical but it does need to relate to the other marketing messages on other channels.
  3. Provide a value-add on by making sure that at each touch point the customer can engage. Make an offer, provide useful information, offer a benefit.

  4. Security – consumers are well aware of issues of data security and misused information. They are also aware that to receive something they need to sign up or fill in a web form for accessibility. The customer wants to know how the information is collected and how it will be used so tell them. In return, the customer expects to receive value. They’ve parted with their personal details and expect something useful in return, in other words there has to be a benefit.
  5. Engagement on multi-media channel platforms requires commitment, time, money and resources. A clear defined strategy for each platform will help determine ROI and profitability.

  6. All stakeholders have to be involved in the overall strategy for future customer acquisition and retention with clearly defined marketing plans for each bit of communication across each platform.

Multi-media channel engagement is a long haul process, in much the same way as when you started promoting on social media platforms. A little bit like firing in the dark, until you can measure which platform works best for your audience.

It requires much needed thought and a set of measurable objectives – and an end plan, what is/are your main goal(s).

The most important aspect is to take into account the needs and expectations of your audience.

Setting key objectives will determine the success of your brand and organisation.











How can a print management company help with your cross media marketing and print?

cross media marketingThere are many benefits in working with a print management partner and one of my first blogs exemplified what a print management company can provide and how it can save a company real time and money.

With the recent developments in cross media marketing and content personalisation, working with a print management company will become an increasingly important part in the development of your business marketing strategy.

My last blog talked about the importance of content, used in the properly it can be a very effective way in engaging with the customer.

The most important aspect of any content marketing strategy is ‘interaction’.

Your marketing objective is to establish a conversation with the audience you are keen to interact with and this is where great content is key.

All of the media channels including print should be designed to facilitate the dialogue by slowly building confidence in the expertise and capabilities of your business or you.

Print media innovations are developing quickly, less than 15 years ago it would have been impossible to have a short print run of 50 12pp A5 brochures and to have them personalised and printed with variable information.

Digital print now makes that possible.

Perfume samples can be spot glued to magazines and natural essential oils such as lavender and lemon can be added to print inks to add fragrance to a page. Thermochrome inks can change colour with a change in temperature by rubbing the page to cause a colour change providing the reader with added excitement and intrigue when they read a newspaper or magazine advert or a direct mail piece with the intention of engaging with the reader on a personal level creating empathy resulting in  the buying of the product.

Invisible information, hidden messages or information seen only under certain light or after a set period of time created by using UV light sensitive inks traditionally used in the cheque printing industry to prevent counterfeit have found their way into marketing campaigns providing the customer with a different print experience.

How does print help me with my digital marketing strategy? cross media marketing

Print media can now include markers that link printed medium with digital media. The QR code (Quick Response) is a small square code that when scanned with a smartphone opens a file or links to a URL or a PURL enabling the viewer to engage with the brand or company.

AR (Augmented Reality) is hidden content, hidden behind marker images that can be included in printed and film media but when viewed using a mobile app open a world in which the brand is at the heart of the message or create scenes in which the brand and the consumer play a role.

VIP (video-in-print) brings the audio video channel to printed media. This is a small screen 90mm wide and just 3mm thick that can be inserted into a brochure or magazine and present HD video and audio. This technology adds content that could previously only be seen on television or heard on the radio.

How can a print management company add value to my marketing strategy?

Print media, television, online, mobile technology and social media are all vital components of a potential marketing campaign, whilst only the large brands and corporations are likely to use all components to market their content, the majority of businesses will use some of the platforms in conjunction with each other to promote content. With such a range of channels available how do you ensure that you are getting the right expertise, exposure and ROI for your marketing spend.

cross media marketingAnswer:

Step in the print management company

A print management company can provide a vast array of services and products through its distribution channels and trade supplier network, relationships that have been built up over many years. Print management companies year on year are able to save their customers 25%-30% on print spend. The job title ‘buyer’ doesn’t automatically make you an expert in print buying and knowing where to source what from who.

Print management companies are, by their very nature diverse, they’ve had to make changes to meet the needs of an ever changing marketplace and to accommodate the variety of needs of clients by being able to provide multi-channel services from data management, direct mail response and management, augmented reality, PURL’s, web to print, interactive QR codes, email and SMS marketing.

A far cry from ‘PRINT’.

Many companies find that by managing their cross media marketing efforts involves cross fertilisation of services from print to social media and companies don’t have the knowledge to deliver a cross media marketing project. Either companies will need to invest in staff that can manage the various components internally or outsource to get the best results.

What starts out as marketing or branding campaign designed for printed media, the next stage maybe email marketing and its distribution through various media channels. One person in an organisation wouldn’t be able to co-ordinate the process from print to social media let alone several people. Many don’t perceive print or social media as a core component of their business strategy because it involves so many stages, requiring you to be an expert in every channel.

Outsourcing to one company ensures that the right media channel is used for each of the respective marketing components in other words, print media with interactive QR codes might be the first step in the engagement process followed by email marketing with a PURL, SMS mobile marketing,  and so on.

A print management company doesn’t have a vested interest in anyone particular media channel or supplier, they will work with the customer/company to ensure that the brand, content, service or product is effectively positioned to get the best results.

One supplier, one contact for all your cross media and social marketing needs.

For more information on how cross media marketing can help your company click here

Print media. Why print still has longevity?

Is print really dead?

Is print really dead?

Recently I wrote about how print fits comfortably into the media mix.

Many businesses are under the illusion that print is a dying media and that they should be engaging with customers on social media platforms for their promotional marketing.

There is some truth to this but the consumer still trusts and believes in print. The reality is that the consumer feels comforted by print because there is the trust element in a leaflet or a brochure to look at before making that all important purchasing decision, buying a car or making a monetary investment.

If newspapers are losing their status as a primary medium for reading the news then why has Warren Buffett, owner of 60 newspaper titles and Jeff Bezos founder of Amazon who recently acquired The Washington Post buying traditional media?

The answer I believe is simple the consumer likes to read the printed word. They prefer to read the news from their daily newspaper or, if evaluating a product they are considering purchasing to read from the brochure or leaflet.

Not everyone has the desire to read the news online on a computer. There is something gratifying about buying your favourite newspaper and reading it at selected times during the day during your commute or last thing before turning the lights out.

With print there is a start and an end, a newspaper has a front and back page, a printed direct mail piece will have a unique selling point or offer with a distinct call to action if produced correctly, the web has no end or beginning but is a continuum encouraging you to click through from one article to another related article, the reader flirts with the web but a newspaper or promotional leaflet is more tactile, more implicit because it is paper based.

A simple illustration of this is the company newsletter which exemplifies the importance of communicating internal issues with its employees, it is a tangible document and more appealing than an e-newsletter.

Print media has a certain cachet it adds credibility to a specific event or situation more so than the online version.

The internet has changed publishing business models and people continue to read magazines and newspapers for the gratification of reading it in print.

There is a revolution taking place in the print world but with careful strategic marketing and cross media personalisation print is the catalyst that engages the audience offline and then takes the audience online through social platforms.

The key is content and design, the adage that content is king does ring true, people want to read good quality relevant content but not at the expense of having their inboxes cluttered to over filling point.

Content that is devised by marketers who haven’t personalised the content to suit their targeted audience.

The power of social media can not be underestimated when compared to the printed word.

Attending a wedding a couple of years ago, on line newsI was the first to read on twitter that Amy Winehouse had died. This information quickly spread as I shared the news with the guests at the table.

News items mean more when in the printed form because print adds gravitas rather than reading it in less than 140 characters. It is real, more passe than seeing images on instagram or facebook. What makes social media unique is its virality, when a news item breaks it goes viral but it might take eight hours to see that news item in print.

Online news is fast and convenient but print still has its advantages and has its place in our digital world.

Look at the development of 3D printing, established this decade and used extensively by motor and manufacturing industries.

Offices still create a paper flow, you need to file paper (if you don’t use a document scanning system) A4 files digitally printed with your company logo are a perfect example of the use of print.

Consumers like to flick through a brochure or promotional leaflet before making that all important buying decision and the purchaser has a higher chance of being influenced by promotional material.

How can the physical and digital world meet when engaging with potential buyers?

The answer is to use both mediums to affect audience participation.

A direct mail marketing piece can be the first touch point for audience engagement from off line to an online medium.

Using digital media to complement print campaigns ensures that those who view online and offline receive targeted campaigns relevant to them.

Print will continue to have its place in the media universe.

I personally won’t believe print is dead until I see it in writing! (Anon)

Is print dead or does it form part of the bigger picture when used with social media?

Is or should print be the first touch point when engaging with customers?

Let me know what you think?

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