Tag Archives: Virtual reality

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.

Let’s Get ‘Phygital’

Print and digital. Digital and print.

These two forms of marketing, once separate, are now (combined) the key to what could be a powerful integrated marketing strategy, especially as postal rates and paper costs continue to drive up companies’ budgets. While it’s instinctive that organizations looking to slash operational spend decrease print and postage costs, print is still preferred by 60 percent of customers.

How do you find perfect harmony between managing rising print and mail costs while still maintaining an excellent experience for the consumer?

The answer, according to Matt Swain from Broadridge, is choice.

He posits in this article that organizations are “in a position to create a more strategic alignment between their print and digital communications” by going “phygital” – combining print with digital.

 

As businesses look more favorably at incorporating integrated marketing campaigns into their strategic plans, many are redesigning their print communications in order for them to complement their digital counterparts. Part of this move includes bridging the gap with technology.

QR, AR, VR and more allow businesses to introduce themselves and their products in a “paperless” way. We’re seeing these technologies drive customer engagement and strengthen customer-business relationships. Plus, the use of this technology may qualify your business for an upfront 2 percent USPS postage promotion discount that is in effect for 2019. Not to mention, combined with a high-impact dimensional printed format, the engagement level of each marketing campaign which includes these technologies increases.

Entering 2019: Our Marketing Predictions for the Year Ahead

In the lead up to the New Year, we put our heads together to share our vision for the year ahead. Here are a few trends we think will be shaping our marketing in 2019.

Video Marketing

Let’s face it: humans are visual creatures. Colors, graphics, movement and story lines capture our attention, especially when it comes to marketing. Take Facebook, for example. With the unveiling of their new Facebook Portal, we’re seeing commercials and ads that showcase the product as a small, but essential, character in people’s lives. And it isn’t the only one. Brands like HP, Google, Airbnb, Nike and Everlane, to name a few, have all jumped on the bandwagon that is authentic video storytelling.

But video creation is no longer only for brands with big budgets. Any good marketing campaign should be designed to trigger an emotional response, and video has consistently proven itself as an effective way to do this. According to this report by Cisco, video will make up more than 85% of all consumer internet traffic in the USA by 2020. What’s more, video marketing has zero signs of slowing down.

So what’s a brand to do? Whether you’re just getting started with video marketing or you want to up your video marketing’s “wow factor”, give our Video-in-Print Brochure a try.

The Netflix Effect

OK, so this may not be a real thing (yet), but what we’ve dubbed “The Netflix Effect” will continue to inform content and brand marketing into 2019. Four parts. Ten episodes. What’s working for streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu will work just as effectively for branded content if done right.

Strategically planning out and delivering your brand’s story in a way that plays to consumers’ interests and attention spans isn’t just great for them, it’s great for your company’s bottom line. To do this, leverage micro-targeting and new content delivery platforms and technologies.

Artificial Intelligence

Content will be more and more automated. Text aside, brands like Sephora, Starbucks and Apple are already automating their marketing using mapping, facial recognition and chatbots to aide in handling customer service interactions. As consumers crave increasingly more personalized and contextual messaging from the brands, publications and companies they support, this trend will continue to extend beyond marketing into automated news reporting, customer service, business intelligence, etc.

Engaging Audiences

We’ve really loved to see the evolution of how brands are engaging with their audiences. From Audi to the US Postal Service, virtual reality and augmented reality have proven themselves as important tools that bridge traditional print with evolving forms of media and technology. They’re so effective, in part, because of their immersive qualities – AR and VR have a unique ability to involve consumers in brand’s storytelling, creating a faster (and often stronger) sense of connection between the two.

Merging Old School + New School

Believe it or not, what’s tried and true are staples for a reason. That’s why direct mail still has value.

Here’s the thing: everyone likes getting mail. That is, when it’s personalized, unique, relevant and valuable to the recipient (not a bill…). With all of the technological advancements in automation and digital marketing, direct mail has actually proven to be more valuable if done right. In fact, response rates for direct mailers have risen to as high as 5%, more than four times that of digital.

So, don’t shy away from old school marketing like postcards, brochures and catalogs. Rather, use these formats (if they work for your brand) in an intentional way that is both relevant and valuable to the recipient. Use data to inform your content and think outside the box when it comes to choosing a design.

Don’t know where to start? We recommend taking a look at our Flapper, Pop Up Cube and Extendo.

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!