Category: Technology

5 Ways to Incorporate Video into Your B2B Marketing

Video is one of the most talked-about subjects in the marketing industry right now, and with good reason. Did you know that videos increase people’s understanding of a product or service by 74%?

Everyone from social media strategists and content creators to businesses and brands are all jumping aboard this trend. Why? They all understand how and why video has become such a popular mechanism to win new business and increase audience loyalty.

But despite its growing relevance, one of the questions we get most is: How do I get started with video marketing? Here, we’ve included a few tips to help make your marketing videos even more effective.

  1. Choose the right files. To ensure the quality of your video and sound are exactly where you want it, we recommend using the following: a) video file format: MP4, WMV, AVI, MOV, (Codec: MPEG-4, Divx, Xvid 720P) b) Audio output: Mono speaker c) Sound level: 75-80 dB
  2. Keep it short. Video is a great vehicle for delivering your message, if it’s done effectively. Keep your videos short (30-60 seconds) and entertaining while still delivering on substance.
  3. Don’t forget the CTA. Perhaps it’s as simple as encouraging viewers to visit your website or call a direct line. Whatever the call to action is, don’t forget it. This will help you track responses and, perhaps more importantly, determine the success of your marketing efforts.
  4. Make your messaging digestible. In addition to keeping your content brief, remember to share your messaging in short, potent bursts. Perhaps this means separating your video into “chapters” or creating a YouTube series to really hit home your product or brand. Allowing viewers to enjoy your content in bite-size pieces ensures your audience will absorb more of the information you’re delivering.
  5. Consider Video-in-Print formats. Here at Structural Graphics, we have produced hundreds of thousands of video units for some of the top Automotive, Pharmaceutical, Financial Services, Manufacturing and Entertainment brands in the world. Check out our VPA Gallery here.

Why Video in Print Can Work for Your Brand

“If a picture paints 1,000 words then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million.”
– Dr James McQuivey, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research

Within the last decade or so, the marketing landscape has changed tremendously. Traditional outreach in the form of catalogues and printed post cards has given way to email blasts and digital ads as consumers increasingly spend their time online.

This change in consumer behavior means that we, as marketers, must also alter the way in which we produce content for the companies and the brands we represent. Not only do we need to be more intentional with the stories we tell, but we must become more strategic in how we tell them.

Research shows that printed collateral continues to be a compelling and successful way to capture the attention of your target audience. However, when coupled with video, print has the capability to not only gain consumers’ attention, but also to hold it.

The statistics are there:

  • 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium (CodeFuel)
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions (HubSpot)
  • On Facebook, video posts have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts (Social Media Examiner)
  • 76% of companies who have used videos in the past year report a direct business impact (AdWeek)

With the blurring pace of modern society, video is one of the few types of mediums that caters to the consumers of today, while still providing the value, relevance and trackable metrics marketing professionals are after. But how can we merge the strengths of print with those of video to create a singular high-impact marketing tool?

Our video-in-print brochures offer an effective option when it comes to getting your company noticed. 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.

Aetna used this dynamic video brochure to send information about its “smarter” healthcare solutions to consumers. The inside of the brochure featured a video screen with 6 buttons underneath it. By pressing each button, consumers could watch a video and learn more about each of the different solutions offered by Aetna.

T-CAAN is one of Canada’s oldest and most extensive networks of independent advertising, marketing and communication agencies. Information Packaging of Canada used this video handout at a recent T-CAAN event in Calgary. The mechanism they used was the Extendo. When you pull out the bottom panel, another panel automatically slides out from the top featuring a video about Information Packaging.

Nationwide Financial went “all out” and used this video invitation for its 2016 Nationwide Sales Invitational, a high-end event that rewards an elite group of advisors for their life and annuity sales volume and sales potential with Nationwide. The inside of this elegant mailer featured a video about the event complete with play/pause and volume controls.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch and let’s figure out how to take your marketing to the next level.

Thinking Outside the Inbox: Direct Mail for the Holidays

postbox
I always get excited when I receive mail.

One glimpse of the mail carrier, donning his USPS garb, and I wait anxiously to see whether there’s anything addressed to me. But on those days when I’ve got more than bills or credit card offers stuffed in my mailbox, that childlike excitement I felt earlier all too quickly disintegrates into something else: disappointment.

There are the flat mailers that have my name incorrectly printed on them. There are the catalogs with promo codes so buried I get exhausted from flipping through before even finding them. And there are the dreaded cards and the postcards that I barely even look at before throwing away.

Sound familiar?

These pieces all have one thing in common (besides meeting my recycling bin): they’re boring. And as businesses increase their efforts to vie for your attention this holiday season, as marketers you want to be anything but. So, if you’re not currently creating (or, at the very least, brainstorming) some ways to set your direct mail apart, you’re already missing out on the opportunity to make a memorable impression.

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But don’t worry, it’s not too late to get your company or your products noticed in time for the holidays. Here, we’ve curated some of our most helpful tips on how to bring back that “wow factor” during the most magical time of the year.

      1. Go dimensional. Perhaps the easiest way to make a real impact with little-to-no-effort? Incorporate dimension. By incorporating pieces like our 3″ pop-up cube into your marketing, it’s easy to put forth your messaging in a way that takes advantage of 3D (but still ships flat).
      2. Embrace technology. For better or for worse, we live in a digital world and it’s just going to get that much more – er – digitaler. Instead of rejecting this characteristic of modern life, we say embrace it! Want your print advertising to play your jingle? Want to incorporate virtual reality or LED lights into your messaging? Make your customers feel like a kid around the holidays by sending them something shiny AND bright in the mail.
      3. Video is your friend. Did you know that videos increase people’s understanding of a product or service by 74%? In case you’ve been living under a rock, video is super trendy right now. Combine video with one of our high-impact print solutions and you’ve got a powerful marketing tool.
      4. Surprise them. If a consumer is able to predict how a promotional piece is going to look or feel before they even get their hands on it, you can almost bet that it will get lost and maybe even thrown away. Make your brand as exciting as you are – that unexpected element will not only set you apart from your competitors, but it’ll leave a lasting impression in your recipients’ minds.
      5. Think Interactive. Print plays to the human senses in ways that digital tech is hard-pressed to match. By delivering a direct mail piece that recipients can engage with, you’re not only getting their attention, but you’re strengthening your brand’s longevity, too.

Feeling inspired? Have an idea for how your business can target the next generation of purchasers? Contact us to get started.

How Can I Use VR for Pharma?

There are a lot of oooh’s and ahhh’s around virtual reality, and that’s because it’s one of the most cutting edge technologies out there today. If you’re in the pharma industry, you might be wondering, “OK, I want to take my company or prescription to the next level.” But how?

We took a page out of Xavier Creative House’s book, and wanted to share it with you guys.

“Here are a few ways to use VR technology to promote awareness of your brand in a totally unique way:

  • Build Empathy: If your product treats a condition with significant sensory effects, such as Parkinson’s or chronic migraines, you can use VR at conferences to let clinicians “feel” what it’s like to actually be a patient with that condition—feel their hands shake, see their vision become distorted as a migraine aura takes hold. Clinicians can get so caught up in the science of various diseases, so distracted by the seemingly endless paperwork demanded by insurance companies, that it’s sometimes easy for them to lose sight of why they became doctors in the first place. VR can help them get back in touch with that altruism and empathy in a truly impactful way. Brand messages then reach a much more engaged target.
  • Facilitate Training: Is your product a medical device, a complex stent, for example? Let clinicians experience—without fear of failure—how it feels to use the device, and the audience for your brand message will be all ears.
  • Bring Science to Life: Mechanism of Action animations are nothing new, but to experience “being” in the bloodstream, penetrate a cell wall to deliver healing medicine—that type of immersive MOA has real punch. At a recent American College of Cardiology annual meeting, Boehringer Ingelheim offered attendees a VR experience exploring the mechanism-of-action behind a new pharmaceutical agent. The MOA demo, developed by VR experts Confideo Labs, drew long lines at the BI booth.”

Looking to incorporate virtual reality into your next campaign? Visit our virtual reality page, and scroll down to the bottom of the page to request a free sample.

Unsure how to get started? Contact us here!

The Reality of Going Virtual

Photo courtesy of polygon.com
Photo courtesy of polygon.com

Is virtual reality really the next major marketing trend?

Well, before you answer that question, consider this: Brands like McDonald’s, GE and Samsung have already adopted this technology. Facebook and YouTube already allow users to view 360-degree videos by utilizing the gyroscope on their mobile devices. Roughly $4 billion have already been invested in start-ups working on virtual reality, while studies have shown that VR, if embraced by the public, could reach upwards of $126 billion in revenues by 2020.

Whoa.

Judging by those stats (as well as this, this and this), the hype and expectations for virtual reality in 2016 couldn’t be higher. But how can brands use VR in their own marketing outreach in a creative yet cost-effective way?

 

With our SleekPeeks, we set out to solve that very problem. The introduction of inexpensive VR headsets has made it possible for brands to deliver the ultimate interactive experience to consumers, allowing them to literally walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. These fully customizable viewers ship flat and take seconds to assemble.

Clients have already included them in a magazine as part of their ad, sent them in the mail alongside a promotion and used them as handouts at trade shows.

SleekPeeks Web 2

But, while it may be tempting to incorporate VR into every future project, it’s still essential to make sure your marketing aligns naturally with your strategic brand objectives.

When that’s the case, we recommend using VR to:

We Recommend Using VR To...

Virtual reality, at its best, is a truly transformative experience. Not only can it create an interactive, hands-on environment to showcase your products, but it’s also an exciting, albeit challenging, way to interact with your consumers.

Need to reach your audience? Contact us to see how you can incorporate VR into your next promotional piece.

What Is a Beacon?

beacon

Simply put, beacons are yet another tool marketers can use to reach consumers via mobile. But it doesn’t stop with marketing. Businesses in industries of all likes are employing beacon technology to work for them. Here are 6 quick applications of beacon technology before we dive deeper:


1. In retail, they can be used to share discounts or coupons with you when you enter the store.

2. They can be used in museums to alert and inform you of the closest display.

3. They can be used by airlines in airports to pull up your mobile boarding pass when you get closer to the gate.

4. Hotels can use them to replace hotel room keys.

5. Stadiums can use them to reach out to their audience and offer them seat upgrades.

6. And in the B2B world, you can expect to see these popping up at trade shows and conferences.

But… what are they?

Beacons, or iBeacon (termed by Apple), simply put, are a class of Bluetooth low energy devices.

 

bigDL-beacon copyHuh? 

A Bluetooth low energy is a wireless personal area network technology that is comparative to Bluetooth Classic, except for that it provides a reduced power consumption and cost, while maintaining a similar communication range.

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Basically, Beacon’s are the enabling technology that will alert an app when you enter a specific, Beacon-activated location.

Many industries can benefit from implementing beacons – however, let’s use retail as an example. In the fall of 2014, Macy’s implemented the retail industry’s largest beacon installation, which allows them to communicate with the shopper via mobile as they enter the store, with personalized department-level deals, discounts, recommendations and rewards.

Alright, what do these things look like?

The beacons themselves are small, Bluetooth transmitters. Apps that are installed on your iPhone listen for the signal sent out by these beacons, and respond when the phone comes into range.

beacons-what-they-are-how-they-work-and-why-apples-ibeacon-technology-is-ahead-of-the-pack copy

Here’s an infographic, courtesy of Gigaom, to help break it down even MORE:

BLE-vs-NFC-infographic[1]


The possibilities are endless. We can make it easy. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you implement beacon technology into your next project!

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.

Want to make sure your QR Code strategy is spot on? Give us a call and let one of our experts talk it through with you.

10 Q’s With Aaron Berman of PaperSpecs & VMA Storyboard

This week’s blog features 10 questions (and one bonus!) with paper and design trend watcher Aaron Berman. He serves as the editor of TWO incredible resources in the print community: PaperSpecs — a website that offers design inspiration and information along with an exclusive database of all things paper and VMA Storyboard — a resource dedicated to promoting cross media marketing projects from all kinds of brands.  Continue reading

PICS: 3D Mechanized Paper Display for Altoids

Expanding upon a carnival-themed campaign that Altoids was using at the time, Structural Graphics created this counter-top exploratory piece for the breath mint maker. Continue reading PICS: 3D Mechanized Paper Display for Altoids