Tag Archives: Virtual reality

5 Ways to Incorporate Tech Into Your Direct Mail

Do you ever feel like a print marketer in a digital world?

Well, you’re not wrong. But you’re not exactly right in feeling this way, either.

From Facebook ads to targeted email campaigns, it’s evident that technology plays a crucial role in influencing the purchasing decisions of customers. However, even despite the ongoing wave of technological advancements, customers are embracing direct mail, too.

Here’s how you can combine both technology and print, and use them to your advantage:

Video Brochures: By taking the best parts of video (sound and image) and merging it with the best part of print (context), Video Brochures are a win-win. Instead of sending another flat postcard with copy and graphics, these brochures allow brands a greater opportunity to connect with and capture the attention of their recipients. With a variety of sizes to choose from and the ability to customize not only the video, but the brochure as well, this is a format that is sure to take your business’ printed communication to the next level. Not to mention, marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t. Click here to read about how combining video with a high-impact printed solution is such an effective marketing tool.

Audio in Print: Why settle for plain text when you can make it pop with sound? Print plays to the human senses in ways that digital tech is hard-pressed to match. Add sound and you’re able to deliver your customers and/ or prospects the ultimate sensory experience. Start by adding your jingle to your print communications or include a personalized video message from your sales representative or CEO. Now, that’s sure to capture their attention.

Near Field Communications: NFC technology uses tiny, radio frequency emitting tags to connect with digital devices like smartphones. When a smartphone comes within range of the signal, its web browser displays the content the signal steers it to – no apps necessary. What’s especially great about NFC is that it can be used on just about any printed material: brochures, in-store signage, posters, flyers, coupons, business cards and more.

Virtual Reality: Have you been considering incorporating VR into your marketing? New, inexpensive VR headsets like our SleekPeeks® have made it possible for brands of all sizes and budgets to deliver this immersive experience to their customers. Ours ship flat, assemble in seconds and are fully customizable.

Augmented Reality: Unlike VR, AR invites people into an interactive experience that doesn’t require the need for a headset. Customers, prospects and other members of the public are able to experience computer-generated information in a real-world setting. Combine AR with a brochure, magazine insert, invitation, or other printed collateral and deliver a larger-than-life experience to your customers.

Interested in incorporating technology into your next print campaign? Let’s talk.

How to Acquire, Retain, And Re-Engage Using Direct Mail

Believe it or not, many businesses can benefit from integrating direct mail into their overall marketing strategy. As brands look to gain new customers (and keep them), an omnichannel approach to how you’re delivering your message can help you drive more business and convert customers, regardless of what stage in the marketing cycle they’re at.

In fact, 9% of recipients from a house list and 5% from a prospect list respond to direct mail, according to the 2018 ANA/DMA Response Rate Report. That’s in comparison to 5.1% and 2.9%, respectively, shown in the organization’s 2017 report.

Here are some other key takeaways that relate specifically to direct mail response:

  • Letter-sized direct mail performed best for lead generation with 15.1% response rate.
  • The industries that used direct mail the most were Travel or Hospitality (80%), Nonprofit (75%), Publishing or Media (71%), Financial Services-Banks/Credit (67%), and Healthcare (63%).
  • The most popular methods of measuring response rates include online tracking (53%), code or coupon (45%), and call center or telephone (41%).

How can we continue to acquire new customers?

Don’t overlook what – and who – you already know. This is your opportunity to bring in other departments – your sales reps, social media manager, guest relations team, etc. – and analyze your current customer base. Glean information from your colleagues to determine your target audience’s demographics, geographic locations, interests and other relevant information. With a deeper understanding of your current customers, you can then better target your mailings to reach people like them.

When developing your messaging, use a call-to-action (CTA) in your mailings to keep a pulse on the campaign and each recipient who engages with it. Some ideas are QR codes, developing a personalized URL via a format like a Web Key or integrating voice recognition software like Structural Graphics Connect.

What’s the best way to effectively retain them?

As your brand seeks to expand its current customer base, it’s important not to forget about the ones who are already purchasing from and/ or interacting with you. Keeping these customers happy not only helps your business’ bottom line, but it also creates brand advocates in the process. Loyalty programs are a great way to encourage customer retention – and direct mail should be a part of it.

How can we win former customers back?

While direct mail can be helpful in retaining or enticing new customers, it’s also a powerful tool to re-engage with customers who may have lapsed. Seeking insight into when a customer left or stopped engaging with your brand can prove to be extremely helpful data, and direct mail can help with that. Surveys with incentives (think a 25% off coupon) or customized postcards with helpful products or services tailored to that individual can help customers feel valued and connected to your brand again.

Another option is dimensional print. While designs like Pop Up Cubes, SleekPeeks® or The Flapper® mail flat, they also possess that unique “wow factor” that encourages discussion, sharing and longevity to keep your brand top-of-mind for days, weeks or even years to come.

3 Unique (and Budget-Friendly) Ways to Thank Your Customers This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season of giving and there’s no better time to reflect on your most loyal customers past and present. Here are a few ways to thank them for their support (and keep them around well into the future).

Say it in print.
Any time of the year, cards can make a huge impact, but even more so when you’re looking to send a little holiday cheer. However, we’ve got something a bit more special than your average holiday card in mind this season. Red Paper Plane has our most popular holiday card designs available to order online. Even better? They are fully customizable, dimensional and ship in as little as 7 days.

Say it with video.
Have you heard that saying, “show, don’t tell”? What better way to tell your customers how much you appreciate them by showing what they’ve helped your business achieve! Videos are some of the most powerful marketing tools; they have the potential to increase people’s understanding of a product or service by 74%. Why not use this to your advantage and include it in a Video in Print brochure or turn it into a virtual reality your customers can experience through our SleekPeeks® VR Viewers?

Say it with a gift.

This time of year isn’t known as the giving season for nothing. And what better way to show customers how grateful you are for their business than with a little treat. Some of our clients have sent packages of hot cocoa. Others have included lanyards or sample sizes of the products they sell. Not only is this a great time to say thank you, it’s also a great opportunity to give a sneak peak at your products or services. Package them into one of our Well Boxes or design something entirely your own with our custom luxury packing solutions.

Now, that’s the holiday spirit!

Structural Graphics Wins Big at 2019 MarCom Awards!

Over our 43 years in business, Structural Graphics has had the honor of receiving top industry accolades in the Marketing, Print, and Design industries, and 2019 is no exception.

We are very proud to announce that, combined with our sister company The Lift Factor, we have taken home (6) 2019 MarCom Awards!

The MarCom Awards have been a prestigious industry honor since 2004. Today, with roughly 6,000 print and digital entries from dozens of countries, it is one of the largest and highly esteemed creative competitions in the world. The categories include Print Media, Strategic Communications, Digital Media, and Audio/Video.

Administered by the international organization, Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals (AMCP), the MarCom awards recognizes creativity and greatness in the Marketing and Communications industry.

Not to mention, the MarCom Awards prides itself in giving back to the community. The AMCP has donated over $250,000 to charitable causes, in just the past few years alone.

Below is a list of the (6) accolades Structural Graphics has received in the 2019 MarCom Awards:

It’s an absolute honor to be recognized by such a prestigious organization, and we are so happy that our submissions are helping contribute to a greater cause through the charitable donations the AMCP makes each year. Thank you to the AMCP and the MarCom Awards for this incredible acknowledgement!

To learn more about the MarCom Awards and their mission, visit: https://marcomawards.com/

 

 

Kellogg’s & Keebler Limited Edition Jurassic World Video Boxes 

 

Brighthouse Financial FlexChoice Planter Mailer

 

U.S. ARMY SleekPeeks® VR Viewers 

 

2019 Audi A8 Magazine Insert with LEDs

 

2018 Toyota Camry Magazine Insert 

 

2019 Audi A8 Video Mailer

How to Reach the 4 Kinds of Holiday Shoppers

It may only be fall, but already we’ve got the holidays on the brain.

Year after year, it seems the holiday shopping period grows, giving brands greater opportunities to take advantage of consumers’ willingness to purchase products, services and more. But don’t be tempted to allocate the majority of your marketing resources to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

New U.S. research has revealed key information about holiday shoppers’ behavior. Not only are they shopping earlier, but they’re also researching a product, brand or service before making any financial investment. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to be there for them consistently and earlier in the season.

In this recent Think with Google article, they break down the four different types of holiday shoppers – Evergreen, Early Bird, Deal Seeker and Last-Minute – and provide insights into how they shop. We’ve gone one step further to suggest ways to market to them based upon those habits and give you the best chance to connect with them during the holiday season.

Here’s how to make the most of the most wonderful time of the year.

THE EVERGREEN SHOPPER

  • Who: Making up the largest portion of holiday consumers, the Evergreen Shopper is likely a Baby Boomer seeking convenience, simplicity and exemplary customer service. This audience generally offers brands more loyalty when compared with other holiday shopper groups.
  • When: Late October through January 1
  • Where: The Evergreen Shopper typically conducts their research online, including on social media and video sharing platforms, but makes their purchases in-store.
  • How: To ensure you’re meeting the Evergreen Shopper’s needs, consider really playing up your customer service. Things like 24/7 call centers, in-store pick ups and no-hassle returns can really go far with this group. Because they’re receptive to both online and offline research and shopping, consider incorporating direct mail pieces like web keys, which can link both in a seamless way.

THE EARLY BIRD

  • Who: making up slightly more than a quarter of total holiday consumers, the Early Bird Shopper is also likely a Baby Boomer who strategically plans ahead, hoping to avoid the holiday rush.
  • When: October (or earlier) through November 26
  • Where: About 40 percent of the Early Bird’s time spent shopping for the holidays is spent online. However, about 65 percent make their holiday purchases in-store.
  • How: To get the attention of Early Bird Shoppers, it’s essential to develop an omnichannel solution that’s both engaging and valuable. Consider incorporating QR codes, web keys and video brochures into your holiday marketing campaigns. But, above all, keep your messaging consistent and send it early.

THE DEAL SEEKER

  • Who: The Deal Seekers make up the smallest group of holiday shoppers. These are mostly Millennials and a small percentage of Gen Xers who are searching for the steepest discounts and during days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They are likely shopping for partners, children (their own or their friends’) and aging relatives who live within their households.
  • When: November 23-26
  • Where: This digital savvy group of holiday shoppers conducts online research across a variety of websites and rely heavily on social media influencers’ recommendations. Deal Seekers actively look for real consumers offering their authentic opinions on products.
  • How: With 82 percent of Deal Seekers admitting that word-of-mouth recommendations greatly influence their purchasing decisions, it’s crucial to incorporate testimonials and/ or social media influencers into your holiday marketing campaigns. Another way to take advantage of Deal Seekers’ shopping behavior is to turn them into brand advocates through shareable elements in and out of a brick-and-mortar store. Incorporate virtual reality, digital signage or pop ups to create experiences this group of holiday shoppers will want to share online and with their friends.

THE LAST-MINUTE SHOPPER

  • Who: The Last-Minute Shopper group is equally split between Millennials and Gen Xers. Like the Deal Seekers, these procrastinators actively seek out comparison sites to ensure they receive the best value for their money, but are willing to splurge on items they view as worth the cost. They procrastinate because they have decision paralysis, are too busy or are unsure of where to buy certain products.
  • When: December 21-25
  • Where: Nearly 70 percent of Last-Minute Shoppers purchase their holiday gifts in store.
  • How: More than half of Last-Minute Shoppers indicated an openness to multiple retailers or an uncertainty regarding where to buy products. This creates an opportunity for brands to position themselves as industry experts. Blog posts, a solid SEO strategy, social media buzz and consistent online and offline marketing will help position your business as a knowledgeable leader in your industry and help you rank higher in search rankings, keeping you top-of-mind.

Ready to get started on your holiday campaign? We have a few tricks up our sleeves that will help you stand out from the pack and keep you top of mind, no matter what kind of holiday shopper you’re after. Let’s chat.

Introducing: NEW SleekPeeks® Cardboard VR Viewers

Three years ago we introduced SleekPeeks®, a simple, affordable, easy-to-use Virtual Reality (VR) viewer that ships flat and can be fully customized to suit your brand and your audience’s needs. Now, we’re excited to share another version of the viewers our customers have come to love: SleekPeeks® Cardboard VR Viewers available on our online ordering division, Red Paper Plane.

Like our original SleekPeeks® design, these viewers can transport users to faraway places, strengthen experiential marketing or aid in teaching through demonstration. All a user needs to get started is a smartphone, and then they are able to engage in a 360-degree immersive experience.

Already, U.S. Army recruits, big kids and car lovers have been able to enjoy VR – often for the very first time – with our viewers.

Our new SleekPeeks® Cardboard Viewer features a sturdier construction, allowing your device to fit firmly and snugly in place. They also come with high-quality, Google-certified lenses and beautiful four-color printing.

Once the viewers are customized to fit your brand’s unique identity, they mail in an outer sleeve and assemble in seconds. First, slide the viewer out of the sleeve. Next, open the flap and unfold the side panels. Then, lift the side panels over the top and connect the velcro dots. Scan the QR code to download the Google Cardboard app. Rotate your smartphone horizontally and insert into the viewer. Close the flap to secure the viewer using the velcro tab. Enjoy! Here is a video to show the process in more detail.

Standard Pricing Includes:

  • Coated Top Sheet to Corrugate
  • Printing 4cp + Semi Gloss UV Coating
  • Hand Assemble and Insert Lenses
  • Bulk Packing for Shipment

Dimensions
Finished Size: 5.75″ x 3.625″ x 2.25″

Weight
5.00 oz each

Mailing Services/ Postage:
Note: Postage is additional charge and will be calculated once your mailing list is processed. Final payment is due prior to mailing.
First Class Parcel Rate: $3.18 – $3.83

For more information, visit redpaperplane.com.

The Value of Direct Mail in the Digital Age

As newer technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), chatbots and voice recognition software increasingly enter our everyday, today’s hyper-connected marketing landscape begs one important question: is there still a place for direct mail?

In a word, yes.

Direct mail has come a long way since the catalogs and postcards of yore. Today’s direct mail, as seen by Structural Graphics’ customer spotlights, can be dimensional, incorporate technology and video alongside print, and successfully engage your target audience.

However, it’s important to remember that direct mail should be one part of a larger, integrated overall marketing strategy, as consumers prove again and again that they interact with a variety of media formats when it’s most convenient for them. Even in this digital-first age, it’s important to take a holistic approach when it comes to developing marketing campaigns and root them in success metrics.

Here are three reasons to keep print top-of-mind:

It drives ROI. Although many may think direct mail is a tool of the past, consumers are actually often reading, and more importantly reacting, to the mail sent to them more than they are email. According to a recent response rate report by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), direct mail achieves a 5.1 percent response rate compared to 0.6 percent for email, 0.6 percent for paid search, 0.2 percent for online display and 0.4 percent for social media.

It goes straight to the source. Sending marketing materials straight to a consumer’s mailbox is perhaps the most direct path to communicate a brand’s message. Although digital platforms like paid ads and social media provide marketers with a unique opportunity to reach their target audience at any time, print remains a critical means to reach them at home and tailor each piece accordingly. In fact, tech-savvy consumers aged 18-21 years old had a direct mail response rate of 12.4 percent, according to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

It integrates seamlessly with digital. 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, it has the capability to not only gain consumers’ attention, but also to hold it. Consider this: 76% of companies who have used videos in the past year report a direct business impact (AdWeek) and 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions (HubSpot).

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. Video is highly visual and auditory, which means it’s easier for many 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.

Clever Ways to Incorporate VR Into Your Next Marketing Campaign

Take a moment and think back to your last vacation. Where was it? How was the weather? What did you see? But most importantly, how did it make you feel?

What if you could relive that vacation, or the feeling of driving a new car, or perhaps learn an entirely new skill? With Virtual Reality (VR), you can. Whether that’s traveling across the world or participating in a product demonstration remotely, this technology can be a great asset for any brand or marketing team.

While VR has existed for decades (think video gamers in their parents’ basement), it’s only recently made its way into consumers’ homes. Why? The barrier to entry has been so high. Traditional VR viewers were cumbersome and very expensive. However, the introduction of customizable, low-cost, easy-to-assemble viewers like our SleekPeeks® have made it easier than ever to interact with consumers in an entirely new way.

Take the U.S. ARMY, for example. They were looking to create a unique recruitment tool that could be customized to three themes: Sniper, Tank Commander and Bomb Tech. Our SleekPeeks® VR Viewers hit the mark.

MRM/McCann created “In Our Boots”, the VR app that would be used and directions were printed on the viewer detailing where the recipient could download it. Depending upon which soldier the viewer chose to hover over in the VR app, he or she was taken into an immersive experience that simulated the role of a Sniper, Tank Commander or Bomb Tech, allowing the viewer to assess whether or not the U.S. ARMY was for him or her.

Another unique use of our SleekPeeks® came in the form of a test drive. Hyundai was seeking to deliver the ultimate driving experience to prospective customers and sought out Structural Graphics with the help of Blanks Printing to bring their vision to reality. Users were easily able to pop the viewer into place, download the app and try the vehicle out in a safe environment.

Interested in incorporating virtual reality into your next marketing campaign? Contact us or start designing your own viewer here.

5 Marketing Trends & How They Impact the Health Industry

When it comes to healthcare, unlike other industries, many companies are notoriously hesitant to jump on marketing trends, instead, choosing to rely on what’s been effective in the past. But as the healthcare sector evolves, marketers who analyze the trends and prepare for the future have the best chances of setting up their companies for success.

Below are a few marketing trends sure to impact the healthcare industry in Q3 + Q4 of 2019:

  1. Advertising is getting increasingly intelligent.Virtual reality. Native advertising. NFC. Promoted posts. With the wealth of data at our fingertips, targeting specific groups of people – whether it’s by age range, annual salary or shopping preferences – has never been easier for a marketer. With new technologies and a little creative thought, you can use precision targeting to put hyper-relevant content in front of key individuals like the head of supply for a pharmacy chain or a physician at a local hospital. Be sure to use relevant content aimed at how your company, service or product can help them solve or deal with a specific problem you know they have.
  2. We’re relying on the thoughts and feelings of others. Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly revolutionary since we’ve been relying on online recommendations, Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews for years. However, what makes this worth paying attention to now is that these online reviewers, now called influencers, are representing brands and marketing their products and services to tens or hundreds of thousands of highly engaged consumers.  Partnering with these influencers often gives companies unparalleled access to groups of people they wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to target. Another benefit? These influencers are often conceptualizing and creating the content, then reporting on ROI.   
  3. Video is king. Maybe you’ve noticed; video is taking over the world. From YouTube and Instagram Live to Netflix sweeping last year’s Emmy awards with a record-breaking 112 nominations, it’s clear that video is a mechanism to reach your target audience directly. Not only is it highly sensory, but, when combined with a high-impact printed format, the results are even more effective. Video in Print is a force to be reckoned with. 
  4. Online and offline worlds: you can’t have one without the other.Roughly three quarters of Americans currently own smartphones, according to a 2017 study by the Pew Research Center. They don’t predict this will be slowing down anytime soon. As a marketer, it’s becoming increasingly important to build more integrated customer experiences that can bridge the virtual and physical worlds in a way that fits buyers’ lifestyles and captures their attention. Try our SleekPeeks® Virtual Reality Viewers or NFC technology, for example.

Looking to Take Advantage of USPS’ 2019 Promotions? Here’s How.

Earlier in the year, the U.S. Postal Service re-introduced the first of six new promotions on direct mail for business. Although these promotions could provide substantial discounts on postage for businesses looking to send direct mail, meeting the requirements will entail some work. Here, we’ve broken down two of the six promotions the USPS is offering in 2019.

  1. The Tactile, Sensory and Interactive (TSI) promotion is for mailers who enhance their customers’ experience through direct mail via the use of advanced print innovations in paper, specialty inks and interactive elements like pop-ups or folds. Mailers can register for this promotion through July 31, 2019 upon which they’ll be eligible for an upfront two percent postage discount during the promotional period on qualified marketing mail, non-profit letters and flats.
  2. The USPS’ second promotion, for Emerging and Advanced Technology, encourages mailers to incorporate emerging technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Near Field Communications (NFC), Virtual Reality (VR), and Video In Print into their direct mail pieces. The idea here is to make the physical direct mail piece more effective by incorporating it into a cohesive and multi-channel campaign. Registration is open through August 31, 2019 and the promotion runs from March 1 through August 31. Like the TSI promotion, the Emerging and Advanced Technology promotion gives an upfront two percent postage discount at the time of mailing. 

For more information and guidance on how to create a campaign that meets the USPS requirements, click here.