Category: Webkeys / QR Codes

2018 Trends: Print in a Digital World

Shame on you if you’re still thinking of print as “traditional” marketing!

Beyond the fact that print is not dead, we’re firm believers that paper and ink can be as limitless as your imagination. Nowadays, consumers can access bedtime stories by scanning wallpaper, quit smoking by way of virtual reality and track their heart rate just from touching a magazine ad.

As brands continue to rethink their marketing, it’s important not to count print (or paper) out just yet. For many, it can aid in creating multi-sensory experiences, bringing together craftsmanship, creativity and design in a way that resonates with consumers.

Taking inspiration from the trends mentioned in St. Joseph Communications’ Print in a Digital World 2018 report, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most innovative projects we’ve been a part of to show you just how interesting paper can be.

TREND 1: Art, not ads.

“From smartphones to desktops and tablets to wearables, we cannot escape real-time digital experiences. Real disruption goes beyond swipes and taps. It comes from creating a wider sensory and immersive experience.” – St. Joseph Communications

SONY

Sony chose our Magic Window design for a direct mail campaign. The results? The average time spent with this mailer – 41 minutes. The rate of recall among recipients – 90%. The average time this piece was retained by recipients – 4 months.

VELUX SKYLIGHTS

We worked with full service agency Wray Ward Marketing to promote the commercial use capabilities of their client VELUX Skylights. They wanted to portray that VELUX Skylights was superior to its competition. The design they chose to do this was our table tent video box. The video screen is contained within the box. When you open up the box, the piece stands and locks into place displaying the informational video front and center. The video box also included play/pause and volume controls.

TREND 2: Beyond the page.

“The emergence of new channels and technologies are creating new opportunities for marketers. Virtual reality and augmented reality are bridging the gap between print and digital like never before. Downloadable apps can be easily introduced to campaigns, while more sophisticated brands are integrating these technologies into their own mobile platforms.” – St. Joseph Communications

FOOD LION

Food Lion Grocery Stores used this press kit to deliver information about the new layout and new products offered at its stores. When you open up the press kit, a replica of the new store pops up in the middle of the kit with detailed information on the new layout laid out in the middle. Also upon opening, a sound chip was activated to deliver an auditory announcement of the new stores. Each panel featured colorful imagery and information about the exciting changes of the store, and the right-hand panel also featured additional tabs of information that could be easily pulled out. The locking mechanism on the inside allowed the panels to lock in place making this the perfect comprehensive press kit for Food Lion.

PORSCHE

We designed and produced this custom Virtual Reality Viewer for Porsche. They used it to give consumers an interactive experience with their brand.

 

 

STRYKER DIAGNOSTICS

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.

TREND 3: Far from traditional.

“Thinking of print as ‘traditional’ is an old way of thinking. Consumers can cook, monitor their own health, and connect physical and digital channels thanks to a printed piece. These are the types of interactions that are meaningful to consumers.” – St. Joseph Communications

TOYOTA

The request was for something that has “never been done before.” With an LCD heart monitor and two completely independent electronic units in one magazine unit, this spectacular for the Toyota Camry certainly meets the criteria.

Incorporating movement, interaction and technology, this first-of-its-kind Camry insert is the latest re-invention of what print can be.

NATIONWIDE INSURANCE

Nationwide Insurance used this pie box mailer to deliver information about CareMatters, its long-term care product, to agents nationwide. The outside of the box pie box featured a partial mylar window that allowed recipients to get a sneak peek inside the box. In this case, a piece of the pie. Inside the box was a double-layered pie made out of paper that delivered different information as you turned the upper layer of the pie. There was also a brochure and a web key inside the box that drove agents to a unique landing page, specific to their agency, where they could learn more about this product. This box was also the winner of a GDUSA American Package Design Award!

GOOGLE

When you’re the most widely used web-based search engine in the world, how do you communicate with your audience in a way that is equally as big? Google chose this puzzle piece mailer to introduce the features of Google Earth Pro, its 3D interactive globe. The pieces of the puzzle were mailed inside the envelope and recipients were asked to connect it all together. The results? A fully dimensional ball featuring the features and benefits of Google Earth Pro.

Want to Better Track Your Direct Mail’s ROI? Here’s How.

There’s no denying it.

We’re living and working in an information revolution. Here, content is king and, as marketers, advertisers, PR professionals, and brand managers, if we can’t get the attention of our target audience immediately (often through social media or websites) it’s time for a new plan.

But in our constant pursuit of clicks, likes and retweets, successful marketers must look past relying solely on digital content to deliver their messaging. Instead, this “revolution” creates an opportunity to develop fully-integrated campaigns that blend print and digital.

This is why the web key is becoming a powerful marketing tool.

Web keys are unique in that they link both physical print and digital media. Aside from their size, which marketers can integrate into brochures, mailings or handouts, these small, palm-sized (or smaller) tools allow you to track who is actually interacting with your marketing.

NetApp used the above pop-up cube to deliver information about its Flash FAS product. The bellyband, which held the cube in place, featured an embedded paper web key that users could insert into their flash drive to learn more about the product and to receive a demo.

So, how do they work?

Similar to a USB flash drive, a web key plugs into the USB port of a computer and is able to direct users to a specific landing page or company website, where you have the best chance of turning a prospect into a customer. Web keys are also incredibly cost-effective because they’re already built into your marketing. Plus, at Structural Graphics, we’ll provide you with campaign analytics to help you learn who is visiting your site, for how long and what they’re interested in.

Nationwide Insurance used the above pie box mailer to deliver information about CareMatters, its long-term care product, to agents nationwide. Inside the box was a double-layered pie made out of paper that delivered different information as you turned the upper layer of the pie. There was also a brochure and a web key inside the box that drove agents to a unique landing page, specific to their agency, where they could learn more about this product.

In today’s digital space, there are so many messages competing with yours. Contact us to make sure yours isn’t getting lost.

Why Integrating Direct Mail with Digital Targeting Will Get You Noticed

At Structural Graphics we are the leaders of the dimensional print marketing industry, and we have been for over 40 years. We are constantly re-defining what print can be by providing our clients with attention-getting solutions that stop people in their tracks. Our formats are engaging on their own, but by adding a digital element such as a Web Key, Video in Print, Virtual Reality, NFC tag, or QR code the piece becomes even more effective.

Check out the following article from CBT Automotive Network, Integrating Direct Mail with Digital Targeting, to learn 5 tips on how to incorporate technology in print in your current marketing efforts.

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.

The Hottest New Trend: Direct Mail

Why do people continue to refer to direct mail as “old school” marketing? There is nothing old school about direct mail anymore. Interest in direct mail took a hit for awhile as marketers flocked to the low cost and immediate gratification of digital marketing. Now many of those marketers are back.

Just look at the return of catalogs. After making marketing headlines by shelving its print catalog several years ago, J.C. Penney reversed course. Major retailers like Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue are sending more targeted and specialized catalogs. Williams Sonoma has made a deeper investment in its catalog by adding recipes.

While not every marketer uses catalogs, their return speaks volumes about the value of direct mail. Numerous studies have shown that even Millennials—the consummate digital generation—are responding to direct mail (when it’s done right).

According to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2015 Response Rate report, the average response rate to direct mail is now 3.7% with a house list and 1% with a prospect list (compare that to .1% for email). Even a few years ago, the average response rate for direct mail was .5% to 1.0%. Something has changed, radically.

Let’s look at three reasons why direct mail is the hottest “new” trend.

  1. Marketers are paying more attention to direct mail.

Marketers may take print out of the mix for awhile, then bring it back. When they do, they often bring back a newer, better version of direct mail — one that is more personalized, more targeted, and more creative than the “old” versions.

  1. Print has become interactive.

Direct mail is changing. Interactive elements like augmented reality, QR Codes, and personalized URLs make it a responsive channel. The 2016 IKEA Catalog uses Augmented Reality to allow consumers to visualize products in their homes before they buy them. Recipients can scan a QR Code to be immediately taken to a video testimonial or demonstration of the product. If you’re a nonprofit, people can make donations via QR Code, as well.

  1. Personalization is more powerful.

It used to be that people were highly skeptical of giving out their personal information, but they are becoming increasingly comfortable with it.  Infosys found that 78% of consumers would be likely to purchase from a retailer multiple times if the retailer provided them with targeted offers, and 45% would be willing to trade “some privacy” for incentives tailored to their shopping habits.  As consumers become more comfortable with giving out their data, marketers’ ability to create highly targeted, more effective direct mail campaigns gets easier.

Want to rediscover the power of direct mail? Let us show you some creative ideas!

Death of QR Codes Is Greatly Exaggerated

Have you have fallen prey to the urban myth that QR Codes are dead? There are plenty of designers and industry pundits who think these 2D mobile barcodes clunky and out of date, but if you look at the data, the death of QR Codes couldn’t be farther from the truth. Consumers are actively using QR Codes to get coupons, access detailed product information, watch promotional videos, and take other steps that move them toward a purchase. If you’ve “moved on” from QR Codes, you’re abandoning a critical tool for building your business.

Let’s look at three facts about QR Codes that every marketer should know.

  1. QR Code scanning is on the rise.

According to ExactTarget, 34% of smartphone users in the United States have scanned a QR Code while shopping in-store (ExactTarget Mobile Behavior Report 2014). This rises to 46% of those who own tablets. This doesn’t include people scanning QR Codes on direct mail, posters, in-store displays, packaging, and magazines. In fact, when ExactTarget asked about scanning coupons or QR Codes, it found that 43% of consumers had done so.

Can we quote Mark Twain here? “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” As you watch the data, sure, the growth rate of QR Code adoption is slowing. But that’s not unusual for a maturing technology.

  1. QR Code scanning frequency is on the rise, as well.

In 2014, Scanbuy data showed 4.0 scans per person. In 2015, this rose to 4.3.  That’s growth of 7.5%.

  1. Among the most common uses for QR Codes are accessing coupons, downloading mobile apps, and accessing product information.

ExactTarget found that 56% of men and 39% of women have scanned QR Codes to gain quick access to information. Scanbuy found that when consumers are interested in a new product, 20% will scan a QR Code.

We could go on and on, but you get the point. QR Codes remain a cost-effective way to reach a high percentage of the mobile population. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Make the code highly visible on the direct mailer, in-store signage, packaging, or other channel.
  • Provide instructions on using the code, and perhaps more importantly, the value the consumer will gain from scanning it
  • Offer real, tangible on the back end.

Check out some examples of QR codes in our own clients’ print marketing campaigns.


Amping up print with QR codes

Take a sip of your drink, the one from the number three value meal which came from your favorite drive-thru restaurant. Look down and it’s there. Open up the welcome packet to your hotel room, where you just checked in after a three-hour train ride. There too. And there, on that poster tacked to the coffee shop bulletin you’re scoping out while waiting for your soy latte. It seems that for every print marketing piece beckoning you to whet your appetite, there’s a QR code hovering nearby to snag you for dessert too. These days some sweet innovation is just what marketers need to capture people’s interest and communicate their brand’s message.

It’s pretty likely you’ve heard of a QR, or quick response, code before. It’s a fairly controversial technology in the marketing world, but despite what some marketers think this technology is definitely one to hit the ever-growing mobile masses. U.S. smartphone shares jumped roughly 40 percent in the four-year period spanning 2009 to 2013. The numbers, reported by Nielson’s mobile report for marketers demonstrate the rapid growth of mobile users hitting the consumer market.

Nielson Mobile Insights Survey

Nielson Mobile Insights SurveyA clever way for marketers to capture that mobile audience is to tie their print communications in with digital channels. Enter the QR code. 

QR code 101

QR codes provide a portal to the web.  With the tap of a finger, people can scan a code with their smartphone and explore a customized website built to greet them. Technically, QR codes are two dimensional barcodes that look like this:

Courtesy WIKIPEDIA COMMONS
Courtesy WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

They are embedded with data that can be decoded through an imaging device or camera. It’s a technology that began in the 1990s for the Japanese automotive industry, but has since grown to a number of different markets across the globe.

Waterfire_printmedia
A QR code on the Waterfire promotional piece I wrote about back in October 2013.

When it comes to print and dimensional mail, QR codes can be an excellent way to drive consumers to specialized content, including: social media pages, mobile apps, contests, surveys, product info and other bonus material. These similar-but-not-quite barcodes can be incorporated into the design of just about anything, from product packaging, signage, brochures and posters to business cards.

QR codes: Putting them to use

SG recently incorporated a QR code and even the smartphone itself into a neat dimensional piece for the Ford Motor Company of Canada (produced by our Canadian partner Information Packaging). Designed and built to be an interactive promotional tool for Ford Canada’s new Ford Fiesta, SG customized a stage pop folder and enhanced it with a QR code linking the recipient to a mobile application.

See how it works in this video.

Ford Fiesta’s mobile site is designed to educate people on the new model, so it sends viewers to its online showrooms. Other features of the app help them search for local Ford dealerships, learn about buying incentives and request price quotes. All this experienced for the first time through a playful dimensional paper piece that embeds the phone into a custom cutout frame for viewing. Check out these other interesting uses of QR codes:

 

 

QR codes link print to exclusive deals and discounts, instructional videos, print-outs and more.

Tracking, the final word

There’s one more reason why QR codes can be a great gateway to digital: traceable data. From how many users scanned the code, to how many actually responded to the call for action the numbers can be tracked and reported, giving marketers the information they need to make informed decisions about their marketing plan.

So what do you think? Have you implemented QR codes in your print materials? What was the outcome?

Incorporating Technology into Print Marketing

Hello, friends! This week we’re talking tech.  We’ll take a quick look at some cool ideas that you can easily incorporate into your printed campaign. By incorporating these cost-effective elements into your strategy, your customers are able to interact with your brand in another dimension. Let’s start with the basics:

Video, Lights, and Sound: You can marry full motion video with the printed page. Video is available in a variety of screen sizes, video lengths, and is fully rechargeable and re-usable. It’s also 100% customizable. Think audio and LED panel lights are more suited to your marketing needs?  Connect with your customers by inserting this technology in unique magazine inserts, direct mail, point of purchase displays, and premiums. Check out a video player that we produced for Qutenza:

Qutenza-stillcode# 8512-590

 Augmented Reality (AR) is not new, but has steadily been gaining traction in recent years. The aim of AR is to simulate an environment in real-time via your mobile device or desktop computer.

AR-on-phoneAugmented Reality on a mobile device.

A printed “tag” lives on your print piece and this acts as the trigger to launch the animation, the video, or the 3D rendering that responds to the context of your environment. Check out more about how our partner Taggar, is revolutionizing the industry:

Taggar makes AR sociable

Near Field Communication: (NFC) has also been a player for several years but is still considered cutting-edge. The basic premise of this technology utilizes wireless radio communications. NFC tags are small, thin discs that can be inserted into print pieces or stickers and are read via your smartphone or other NFC-enabled device. There are multiple vendors who are already building this capability into the hardware of their mobile devices – including Samsung, Nokia, and LG.

Here are some potential creative uses for NFC tags in everyday life. (Imagine what you could do to promote your brand and increase customer interaction!)

Creative NFC Ideas

All of these unique mediums are totally customizable. The only limits are what we can imagine together!