The January 2014 edition of Wired magazine in New York and Chicago had a print ad for Motorola’s Moto X. Readers had never seen an ad like this before in the magazine – they could actually push a button and check out the various colour options the phone was available in. This was achieved by inserting a wafer-thin LED into the magazine. This was an advertisement that reflected what the brand stood for – innovation.
Further, as audiences' mailboxes flood and notifications from various applications never seem to end, the desire to read the printed word is rising. The ability to focus on one thing without constant distractions pouring in from all directions is rather attractive.
To meet the changing demands of the audience, the printed word had to move beyond what it traditionally used to be. This broadening of horizons is being achieved through interactive print. As the target audience today can move from one medium to another in no time at all - from a book to a smartphone to a macbook to a PC – the story has to move with them.
The stories we tell today have to be across various media platforms. Storytelling should allow the audience to enter the story from any entry point she chooses across platforms. The story itself should be easy to capsulate and share across social media platforms. At the same time, it should have enough depth for the interested audience to dig deeper for meaning making. Interactive print with augmented reality elements is one of the easier ways to achieve this.
Here are 5 other reasons why you need interactive print as part of your marketing strategy.
Reason 1: Cut through the marketing clutter
UTEC, an engineering and technology university based in Peru, wanted to attract more students. But, it goes without saying, that so did many other universities and colleges across the nation – and across the world when it comes to the brightest students. All of them would run various marketing campaigns. Plus the message had to fight off many other attention-seekers.
UTEC created a billboard to advertise themselves. But it wasn’t just a printed message like every other billboard. It was a billboard that pulled moisture out of the air and created potable water. Given that Lima, the capital of Peru, is a desert which experiences very little rain per year – this was a huge success and easily cut through the marketing clutter.
The audience today is bombarded with marketing messages continuously – both online and offline. As such, they have become deft at tuning off and avoid most gimmicks. Not many remember the billboards they see when driving to and from work, even though the traffic ensures that it is in their vicinity for a long time. Online, technology lets them block advertisements and on television they surf channels whenever an advertisement comes on.
In the attention economy, even the customer does not want to give her attention away for free. The marketers of today have to find ways to reach out to its audience in ways that are not just unique but also add value to the customer. This is where interactive print comes in. The UTEC ad adds value by giving the customer something very tangible – water. You could add value by providing additional information when a customer scans your print ad using a phone/ tablet. Or you could provide her with coupons based on her location. It does not always have to be a commodity – you could let her experience the journey your product has taken to reach her hands. You could even let her enjoy playing a game that she would like to talk about with her friends.
Reason 2: Use a scheduler
For an advertisement to be successful, it is important that it reaches the audience at the right time. The message that is given in the morning, may not be suited by the time evening rolls in – for example, the advert for breakfast menu serves little purpose at 1pm. Similarly, the message for someone who is already a customer will be different from the one for a prospect. This is where an interactive print ad can be a game changer.
The simplest is when wafer-thin LED screens are used, like in the example of Moto X shared earlier – the messaging can be changed based on the time of the day. If you are using augmented reality elements, the application used to scan the advert can behave differently based on the time it captures from the mobile device. Further, based on cookies/ apps installed, one can make an educated guess about the user’s familiarity with the brand and subtly change the message accordingly.
This is The New Lexus campaign launched by the car manufacturer Lexus built a billboard that detected the colour and make of the car being driven next to it – and changed the message accordingly. If it were a Lexus car, the advertisement would congratulate you on your choice, if not – you will see an advertisement for the car. Earlier, Lexus had a magazine advertisement that let the viewer experience the drive through an iPad placed on the advertisement.
Reason 3: Be the innovator
What is the best way to advertise your innovative lamp? Well, to let your audience transform the advertisement into a lamp. Lladro Lighting did exactly that! Their print ads were like a pop-up book, and people could create their own lamp shade by mounting the pop-up in a corner.
Interactive print advertisements are still a novelty. By designing one, you not only manage to grab the attention of your customer, but also are recognized as an innovator by both the target customer and your industry. Both Lexus and Ford took a risk with running interactive campaigns and came out on top. Volkswagon’s interactive ad that allowed viewers to test out various features like “Lane Assist” strengthened its position as an innovator.
Reason 4: Change customer experience
Did you ever face the problem of wanting to have a beer but then found out it was warm? Glacial knew this, and decided to launch an interactive advertisement that will change the customer experience for better. You could tear off their print ad from the magazine, soak it in water and wrap the bottle in it. Now place it in the freezer so the salt particles in the advertisement can cool the bottle in half the time.
Snoop Dogg had released a smokable book – the readers could tear off the pages and roll it up to smoke. These ads don’t just add value to the customer, but change the customer experience significantly – exceeding their expectations of the brand. Such adverts don’t just create a buzz but also ensure that the customer is looking forward to interact with the brand. She knows that this brand cares for her experience and is worth giving more chances than others.
Reason 5: Capture customer data
You got the basics right – you know your customer and you have killer content. But the success of your campaign hangs in balance till you can actually reach the customer. AR interfaces today are intelligent enough to ensure that the content presented to your audience is based on his preferences and past activities. This ensures that your print campaign generates great interactions.
Further, interactive print brings the data collection that makes the digital campaigns so attractive to real world. This allows you to conduct proper evaluation of your campaign and react to any obvious challenge your audience is facing while the campaign is still on. This data also feeds right into your CRM systems and goes a long way in building sustainable relationships with your customers.
The main motivation behind making interactive print a part of your marketing campaign is increased sales. Interactive print leads to more impulse purchases, return visits, and greater customer retention. The customer is never going back to old, passive ways of consuming advertisements. She will always want to be an active participant, and interactive print is a simple way to achieve this.