5 Ways to Combine Print and Technology for Better Results
Our world is becoming more and more digitally driven every day. 64% of American adults use smart phones and 85% of young adults own them (Pew Research Center). According to Ad Week, the average American adult spends 10 hours and 39 minutes a day consuming digital content, and that number is growing every year. So how can companies leverage print content to connect with consumers effectively?
The answer? Integrate print and technology.
As technologies advance there are more and more ways to integrate print and technology. QR codes are the most recognized but there is also NFC or near field communication, image recognition, augmented reality, and digital publishing.
QR codes have the advantage of being easily recognizable and customizable. QR codes can be any color to easily integrate with a printed piece of collateral and some services even allow logos or images to be placed inside the code, allowing a unique company branded QR code. When the user scans the QR code it will automatically direct them to a url of the creators choice. This is an effective way to move people along the content funnel. Send a piece of direct mail, give them branded collateral, or hand them a business card, and they can access a landing page or website directly from that piece. Conversion rates can also be tracked when the printed piece is integrated into an automated marketing platform. Most marketing automation software provides real time statistics and reports on user traffic, quality of leads, click through rates, and more. Implementing QR codes into printed content will direct the end user to a landing page where the marketing automation software kicks in and offers real insights into how well your print content is performing.
Near field communication is a very cool technology based on thin chips that can fit inside of a business card or a sticker that is placed on printed pieces. NFC is the technology that Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Disney’s Magic Bands use to trigger payment or room access. When an NFC enabled smartphone is touched against the chip, an automatic response is triggered on the device. NFC chips can trigger a pop up screen that can offer options either to visit a website, social profile, or digitally published content. This technology is a great way for businesses to show their customers that they are keeping up and being proactive with trends in the technology industry. While NFC isn’t as easily recognizable as QR codes, they can be inserted inside of the print pieces and are much less intrusive on the design of the printed piece, allowing a more natural look.
This software allows mobile devices to recognize certain images and trigger actions much in the same way that NFC does. However, the actions that image recognition software allow are much more complex. Image recognition is basically a blending of QR Codes and NFC. Image recognition can direct users to websites, social profiles, and digitally published content, but it can also direct them to user reviews, pricing information, or an eCommerce storefront. Image recognition is a technology that is growing quickly and adding more features regularly. With image recognition, the possibilities for print marketing are endless.
Augmented reality is a technology that allows mobile devices to overlay digital content on top of existing things. Augmented reality can work in tandem with image recognition to enable a fully interactive piece of print. This graphic shows a concept of what augmented reality can do.
Basically augmented reality creates a digital overlay of the image or object that it’s scanning and allows the user to interact with it digitally. Whether it’s providing the opportunity to explore more about a product or service, take them to a webpage, or enable virtual interaction with the piece, augmented reality is able to create engagement with print marketing content.
Because so many people prefer to consume content digitally, digital publishing is a great way to reach an audience that wouldn’t otherwise interact with printed content. Digital publishing converts printed content into a digital version that can be viewed on phones, tablets, and computers.
Digitally publishing printed collateral or other marketing pieces allows customers to interact with brands in the way that is most convenient for them, which is a staple of an integrated marketing strategy. Meeting customers where they are and in the way they consume content is the best way for companies to engage with their customers.
These five technologies are unique ways to combine print and technology to get better results. Integrating print and technology is more important than ever in order to communicate with customers in the way they want to be engaged. Ultimately when customers are happy and engaged with your brand, they will come to you as the answer to their problems resulting in more revenue for your company.