Tag Archives: Virtual reality

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!

The Continued Rise of VR in 2017 – And What it Means for You

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If you haven’t heard about VR by now, there’s a good chance you’re living under a rock.

The new technology seemed to really gain traction in 2016 with videos of Lil Wayne and LeBron James wearing Samsung’s Gear VR headsets and this emotional video released by Excedrin, which shows how it feels to experience a migraine — in real time.

But as VR and AR technology continue to gain traction in the new year, what are the implications of these products on marketers, businesses and the public?

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-11-58-02-amHow are Virtual Reality Headsets Different Today?

Many of you might consider VR headsets to be the latest breakthrough in modern technology. Not exactly. Rather, it’s more like an upgraded gaming system with its 360-degree views and human-like avatars.

And while the original headsets were extremely clunky and not exactly wireless, they also carried a hefty price tag. This had two implications: 1. Developers had no desire to create headsets outside of gaming and 2. They didn’t make sense for businesses or consumers.

Now, nearly two decades later, these bulky, expensive products have evolved. Companies like Samsung and Google now offer their own versions of VR headsets and, here at Structural Graphics, we’ve created cost-effective versions called SleekPeeks that you’re able to customize to fit your business’ logo, color scheme and unique messaging. Plus they ship flat.

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So, How Exactly are Businesses Using VR to Market Their Products?

For everything from virtual product demonstrations and 360 video tours to training and prototyping. Here are a few examples:

  • Psychiatrists at the University of Louisville use VR to treat patients with social anxieties or phobias during cognitive behavior therapy. Because the patients are in a controlled environment, doctors are able to simulate the patient’s fear of, say, flying, and direct them on how to cope with that fear.
  • Ford currently uses VR in its Immersion Lab to get a better sense of how their customers experience their cars. Using headsets, they view high-def renderings of the interiors and exteriors of the cars before a prototype has been made available. To make this even more realistic, the company has developed prop-like tools like a flashlight that help their employees’ experience feel natural.
  • In an effort to increase bookings, Marriott Hotels created a “teleporter” which encouraged users to step inside a booth, put on a VR headset and visit a dream location. Not only could the wearer see a beach in Hawaii or the London Eye, but they could also feel the wind in their hair and the sun on their faces.
  • The US Postal Service used our SleekPeeks for their “Emerging & Advanced Technology” discount incentive program at the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) “Masters of Marketing” Conference. This piece delivered a powerful, yet lightweight virtual reality experience to conference attendees.

Interested in discovering how virtual reality can work for your business? Click here to request your FREE SleekPeeks sample.

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.