3 Ways Intelligent Marketers Use VR

Have you been thinking about incorporating virtual reality into your next campaign? Gartner predicts that virtual reality marketing is positioned at a vital transition point. The New York Times recently distributed more than one million Cardboard Viewers to Sunday print subscribers and Google Cardboard has been downloaded roughly 10 million times.

If it’s your first time experimenting with how VR can transform your business, here are a few tips to help ensure your message (and your brand) resonates.

Think mobile.

Rather than creating long-form narratives or experiences that require users to sit with a cumbersome headset on their heads, consider shorter, more digestible content for today’s consumer. VR headsets are getting lighter, sleeker and have replaced built-in screens with smartphones.

Creating short-form branded experiences that can easily be shared can get people interested in what you have to offer.

Recognize that storytelling still matters.

Like with all of your marketing efforts, VR should be chosen because it’s the best medium to tell your brand’s particular story. With technology, people like to get wrapped up in whatever is new and trendy, and often forget that the content is still the driving force behind its success.

Avoid falling into the trap of believing you can produce anything for VR and have it meet your marketing objectives. Rather, create branded content specifically formatted to fit the platform and consider how both will help you to move the needle.

Don’t forget the other senses.

The truly compelling part of using VR is that it can create a world that isn’t really there. It’s virtual. And while visual content is often the focus for most companies’ marketing teams, it shouldn’t be the only one.

The best marketers determine how to engage multiple senses, whether it’s Marriott incorporating the sound of waves to their virtual beachside getaway or Game of Thrones blasting cool air, creating the feeling users were being hoisted up 700 feet to the top of the Wall at Castle Black.

The introduction of inexpensive virtual reality headsets has made it possible for brands to deliver the ultimate experience to consumers. Structural Graphics offers virtual reality headsets that ship flat, assemble in seconds, and are fully customizable! Our SleekPeeks VR Viewers provide a complete immersive experience, sturdy design and high quality lenses. Click here to try one for yourself!

With New iOS 11, Device Can Read Codes Natively

We’ve already debunked the notion that QR codes are dead, but with last month’s arrival of the new iOS 11, it looks like this rumor has been officially put to rest.

What’s a QR Code?

QR codes are unique graphics that link to a website, landing page or other information source. Previously, in order to scan the code and access the data associated with it, iOS users would need to download an app specializing in reading QR codes.

About that iOS 11 everyone’s been talking about…

Among the new features Apple announced, the new iOS allows iPhone 7 and above cameras to read QR codes natively. With the software update, the device’s camera app can read the code and displays the data automatically in a pop-up notification. No app download required.

While this feature is new for iOS, it isn’t entirely unheard of. Google’s Chrome on iOS launched an in-app QR code scanner earlier this year and social media users may be familiar with SnapChat’s “snapcodes” which allow users to easily scan and follow others.

Check out this Forbes article to learn more about the new iOS 11 and 25 of its “secret” features.

How does this affect me?

Well, if you’re an iOS user, the capability to natively read QR codes allows you a way to connect your mobile device with the real world in real-time. Think about it. By using these codes you can: verify the goods you’re purchasing online are not counterfeit, send and receive contact information with a single click, learn more about a company or product, access directions and more.

But it’s also a powerful marketing tool, too. Because users can now have more convenient access to hidden content, this opens to door to fun guerrilla tactics, interactive print displays or more effective experiential marketing for businesses and brands around the world. For instance, we can imagine seeing a QR code in a comic book to promote the new Wonder Woman movie or a treasure hunt sponsored by a travel company with QR codes leading participants to the next clue.

How Marketers and AR Can Work Hand-in-Hand

Augmented reality is quickly blossoming into a marketing trend that not only allows users to access information virtually, but without taking their attention off of the real world. Pokemon Go, Snapchat’s lenses, even Google Glass, have shifted the attention toward this new technology and the power behind it. Now, with Apple’s release of three new phones – the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X, plus the launch of ARKit for iOS and Google’s ARCore for Android, AR is poised to move into the hands of the public.

“As traditional revenues from television advertising are beginning to erode, a new trillion-dollar industry is emerging that mandates brands be omnipresent. Within this decade, augmented reality is going to change the way the always-connected consumer works, shops and plays. Once contextual marketing seamlessly transitions to commerce, it will be trusted brands—and the savvy marketers who manage them—that help consumers augment their world with tailored experiences to enhance their daily lives.” – AdAge

As the conversation turns toward the benefits of AR, how can we, as marketers, adopt and harness the power of this emerging technology?

Feature Interactive Ads.

Stryker Diagnostics, the makers of hip and knee medical devices, chose this V-Pop design as a tradeshow invitation. When you open the invitation, a postcard pops up in the center. The call to action on the postcard was to bring the postcard to the Stryker booth to experience a 3D demonstration of the hip and knee devices. When users held the postcard marker in front of the web cams set up at the Stryker kiosks they were able to view a live 360 degree 3D demonstration of these devices. Take a look at the movie to see it in action!

Make Your Products Scannable.

Open up our shadow box and meet our robot technology mascot, Joey. Joey has all of your SG technology capabilities questions answered with a simple scan of his mid-section.

Simply download Taggar for Augmented Reality or activate your QR code reader, scan his mid-section, and be launched into a technology experience!

For more ideas on how to use AR in your business’ marketing efforts, read this blog post by Incisive Edge.

Click here to learn more about our technology capabilities at Structural Graphics.

6 Brilliant Direct Mail Ideas You Should be Incorporating into Your Marketing Plan

In a highly digital world, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get your company’s message heard above the noise. But direct mail can make this seemingly impossible task possible.

Direct mail marketing hinges on the idea of connecting brands with customers in a real and tangible way. To accomplish this effectively, we recommend getting their attention through clever ideas, interactivity and unique attention to detail. In fact, our direct mail designs deliver an average response rate of 8.5 percent.

The next time you’re ideating about your next direct mail marketing campaign, use these examples below to wow the group (and increase your response rates)!

Atlanta Falcons Mercedes-Benz Stadium Mailer

We produced this piece for The Atlanta Falcons to give fans a sneak peek of the new Mercedes-Benz multi-purpose retractable roof stadium under construction in Atlanta, Georgia. This piece was also used to encourage fans to purchase their season tickets and to sign up for a tour of the new stadium. The cover of this piece featured an image of the stadium roof. When pulled down on the side-tab, the roof petals immediately opened up to give recipients a demonstration and preview of the new roof opening. The inside of the mailer featured a web key that drove recipients to a unique URL where they could learn more and experience a virtual tour of the new stadium. The web key also allowed our customer to keep track of who visited the site and market to those who did not accordingly.

Fort Worth Zoo Ball Custom Invitation

In conjunction with Schaefer Advertising, we designed this custom event invitation with our client for the Fort Worth Zoo Ball, an annual fundraising event to support the privately owned, non-profit zoo. Some of the highlights of this high-profile event included an appearance by Reba McEntire, a silent auction and a raffle.

Mettler Toledo Flapper

Mettler Toledo is a multinational manufacturer of scales and analytical instruments. They used the Flapper direct mail solution as part of a national lead generation campaign. The Flapper featured imagery of a man with glasses. As you opened up each of the multiple panels, the expression on his face changed slightly which helped build momentum with each panel flip.

NutriSolutions Folder with Cylinder

RR Donnelley partnered with us on this high-impact direct mail solution for agricultural brand WinField. WinField was looking for an impactful way to market NutriSolutions, their complete plant nutrition management program. What they chose was this direct mail folder which included a pop-up cylinder on the inside. The cylinder included comprehensive information on the NutriSolutions program.

Carestream Shadowbox Mailer

Carestream is no stranger to the power of high-impact print! They came to us to develop a visually creative mailer to highlight their DRX-Revoluion Mobile X-Ray system. They chose our Shadowbox Mailer design. It shipped flat but when you pull on the side panels, the inside transformed into a shadowbox display with the X-Ray machine featured front and center.

Food Lion Renovation Pop Up

Grocery store chain, Food Lion, mailed this fun pop-up to customers to make them aware of renovations being made to the store and to get them excited about some upcoming changes to the store and product line. The piece is effective to mail because it starts out flat and memorable because of the dimensional component that pops up as soon as you open the piece.

Structural Graphics Awarded 2 Gold Ink Awards

We are proud to announce that Printing Impressions has awarded Structural Graphics not one, but two, 2017 Gold Ink Awards! With submissions in the “Direct Mail” and “Dimensional Printing” categories, Structural Graphics took home “Silver” for each.

Here are the designs that took home the prize:

Our Diagonal Box Mailer that we designed for Porsche, and their agency Cramer Krasselt, was awarded Silver in the “Direct Mail” category of the Gold Ink Awards.

Our Circle Pop-Up Brochure Mailer that we designed for Audi and their printer, Hennegan, also took home Silver, but this time in the “Dimensional Printing” category of the Gold Ink Awards.

We’d like to thank Printing Impressions for both of these honors and recognitions. To learn more about the awards, visit Printing Impression’s website here.

For more dimensional print marketing inspiration, visit us online at StructuralGraphics.com.

How to Make Your Marketing Interactive Even If You’re Not a Designer

Have you heard about our online offering, Red Paper Plane?

Red Paper Plane is an online design tool made for marketers by marketers. It puts clients in charge of their own marketing with its do-it-yourself process (though we’ll pair you with a Red Paper Plane representative to help if you need us). Users can be as creative as they want, uploading photos and adding text to an assortment of themes, or by developing something completely original.

So, even if you’re not a professional designer, you can still design beautiful, impactful direct mail pieces. Here’s how:

  1. Visit RedPaperPlane.com.
  2. Create an account. (It’s free!)
  3. Order a sample pack (optional).
  4. Choose your product from our selection of templates.
  5. Select your design or opt to add your own custom touch.
  6. Enter quantity.
  7. Personalize to fit your individual needs.
  8. Place your order.

That’s it! Curious to learn more? Give us a call at 860-469-3200 or send us an email.

#TBT: Deliver Magazine

A few weeks ago, one of our staff members was combing through the archives, and came upon this wonderful article from the August 2010 issue of Deliver Magazine. How fortunate of a find, seeing as we recently celebrated our 40th year as a company. We love being able to go back, remember our roots and relive some of our favorite projects over again.

Won’t you join us?

Deliver Magazine (Vol 6, Issue 4, August 2010)

 

4 Ways to Execute a Powerful Marketing Campaign

So, you want to create a powerful marketing campaign, do you? Here, we’ve compiled four basic steps to take so you can smartly prepare, execute and drive actual revenue.

  1. Set your intentions.
    What do you want your campaign to achieve? That’s the first basic question you need to ask yourself. Be as specific as possible, as “I want more sales” gives you no yardstick to help you measure the distance to reaching your goals. Think about (or better yet, write down) exactly how many sales you want this year, specify the percentage increase in digital engagement you want to achieve or spell out exactly what locations you want to work to drive brand awareness.
  2. Create an action plan.
    Write down exactly what you’re going to do and when. This may sound simple, but the act of writing down your plan helps to organize your thoughts, think through superficial problems and, most importantly, visualize how and when your marketing plan or project will come together. Additionally, it will give you records to use when you go to evaluate the success of your marketing campaign.
  3. Act.
    As Nike famously says, “Just Do It”. You’ve spent weeks, maybe months, planning this campaign. Now is the time to act on it. Review your timeline and your metrics, choose the proper media and develop a communications plan among your team and any outside vendors. Decide how often you’ll need to (and can afford to) expose your messaging to your targeted audience.
  4. Measure your results, tweak and repeat.
    The campaign has launched, but your work isn’t over just yet. Now, it’s time to see how successful it was and make some adjustments. Go back to your marketing objective, look at the key performance indicators you sought out to measure and determine the campaign’s success. Did your marketing campaign achieve your objectives? What could you have done differently to make the campaign more effective? These are all valuable insights to help you and your team the next time.

What is Dimensional Print and What Can it Do For Me?


Here, at Structural Graphics, we spend a lot of time talking about “dimensional print”.

But what, exactly, is it?

On the surface, dimensional print is exactly as it sounds: packaging, displays, sales aids and direct mail pieces with a three dimensional component. However, upon further inspection, dimensional print can also be a potent and highly effective way to get yourself, your brand or your company noticed in all the right ways – if you know how to use it.

But how?

Imagine for a moment that you open an envelope and a 3D cube jumps to life right in front of you. Or how about an elaborate jukebox that rises from a flat piece of paper and plays actual music. Have I gotten your attention?

Three-dimensional mail (not to be confused with 3D printing) is not a new concept, and, in fact, goes back some 40 years. But, in this day and age of digital communication, stale advertisements and uninteresting direct mail, dimensional print has the unique ability to breathe life into marketing that can often fall flat.

We’ve already spelled out some of the ways direct mail can impact your marketing efforts, but cutting through the noise remains one of the primary obstacles for marketers in businesses of all sizes. According to a study by Millward Brown, printed pieces drive more brain activity than virtual messages, perhaps leading to a stronger connection and increased memorability.

And adding a dimensional or interactive component to your piece can actually make it even more memorable. Researchers say that dimensional direct mail pieces enjoy much higher response rates on average than flat envelope mailers, especially for B2B campaigns.  Feedback from our customers has also proven this fact.

Best Practices for Marketing in Higher Education

The U.S. has some 20 million+ college students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. To marketers, this tech-savvy group of twentysomethings is probably more commonly thought of in terms of keg stands, spring break and slim wallets, than as consciously selective consumers.

This is a mistake.

Understanding how to approach this young market as a college or university involves so much more than your typical marketing approach. As a higher education institution, your marketing must track trends, incorporate digital media and speak to the audience in a “voice” that excites and motivates.

Making sure your school gets noticed is what we do best, so we’ve put together a few tips on how to really get your college or university noticed by the right students.

Don’t Assume Direct Mail is Dead: According to research by mStoner, in partnership with Chegg, 64% of teens say they prefer to consume college website content through text and articles. But what does this mean for your marketing team? The answer: Direct mail pieces shouldn’t be left out of the equation.

Not only can direct mail be cost-effective, but it can also be highly targeted and customized to fit the individual. As many as 55 % of people are eager to read their mail, according to the U.S. Postal Service. Addressing prospective or returning students by name can only enhance the experience and, ultimately, prompt excitement about your school or program.

Example: UC Riverside chose to send out a dimensional folder aimed at showing how different college is to accepted students. The piece starts off as a seemingly flat printed folder, but when you open it up, an intricate pop-up immediately rises from the center. Each corner of the piece featured individual mini folders, each containing step-by-step instructions on how to get started with enrollment.

Invest in Video Marketing: The stats are already there: 78% of people watch videos online every week and 55% watch videos online every day, according to research by HighQ. So, while your college or university need not invest in a production company or a cinematographer, it should invest in video marketing to its students.

Here’s how we see it: You have thousands of loyal brand advocates just waiting to share their experiences at your school. So, when it comes to reaching the right audience for your school, it’s smart to empower these people to tell YOUR story in an authentic way. Not only can this humanize your “brand”, but it creates an emotional connection for a generation that relies so heavily on the word of influencers, Yelp and product reviews.

Our video-in-print brochures offer an effective option when it comes to telling your story. One of the biggest advantages of combining these two mediums is the ability to enhance your brand messaging through engaging and supporting content. Video is highly visual and auditory, which means it’s easier for people to remember than text-based content. When consumers remember your video content, they, in turn, remember your brand. This can translate into better brand loyalty as well as more sales and leads.

Track Your Analytics: Today there are so many messages competing with yours on the web. How do you get people to visit your school’s website and click-through your communications? We use various web drivers to help take your prospective student from print to digital. Plus, we’ll provide you with campaign analytics to help you learn who is visiting, for how long, and what they are interested in.

Not only can analytics tell you how successful you’ve been with reaching your target demographic, but it can also help you maximize (and when it comes time, also justify) your paid media budget.

Give Your School Dimension: Your college or university isn’t like any other, so why would you want your student population or, better yet, your marketing to be any different? When reaching out to prospective or returning students, it’s important to stand out from the crowd and deliver your story in a trendy, engaging way.

Our dimensional direct mail formats deliver your message wrapped in an engaging interactive experience. When students are considering their options, the message that was inventive, engaging and memorable will be top-of-their-minds. We can make sure that message will be yours.

Example: Seton Hall University chose our Rolling Cube to deliver information on their university to prospective students. This is one of our most interactive pieces. When you pull the cube from the mailer it keeps unfolding to reveal multiple cubes of information. See it in action below.

For more ideas for how to market in higher education, click here.