Linking Mobile and Digital Technology to Print

In an age where the consumer is inundated with email and constantly glued to mobile devices, cutting through the clutter with direct mail and dimensional mailings has once again gained significant traction. The trick is connecting the online to the offline world and gaining share of screen, especially with younger consumers. Here are two ways to bridge the gap between the online and the offline world.

The QR code is about to be back. Yes, the QR code

We all remember a few years ago when the QR code was the rage. But it provided an awkward link between the online and offline marketing worlds due to different scanners and applications which did not interface seamlessly. But with the announcement that iOS 11 will allow the iPhone camera to natively scan QR codes without a special 3rd party app, it re-opens the door to QR relevancy in direct mail and other printed materials. Additionally, the Chrome browser has QR-scanning functionality that can be used across devices. Native functionality for Android phones is rumored for the near future.

As a marketer, you should start thinking QR strategy now. According to Brafton, in 2017 online video will account for 74% of all web traffic, and 28% of smartphone users watch a video on their devices at least once a day. QR codes provide a great way to connect to a video from a non-digital medium, like displaying movie previews from a poster, food prep steps from a recipe, or a video introduction from a direct mail piece.

Be sure to use QR codes as a “lead magnet” by coming up with something that easy to do and gives the consumer a reason to leave some information with you – a coupon, free information, free evaluation etc.

Augmented Reality and print are… likely bedfellows

A great example of augmented reality that you are probably familiar with is Pokemon Go. A smartphone recognizes locational or environmental cues and overlays digital information to guide the user through an experience. Applications of augmented reality can be as simple as a text-notification or as complicated as an instruction on how to perform a life-threatening surgical procedure.

Another commonplace example of augmented reality is Snapchat filters. They take something that the camera visually parses (in this case, your face) and overlays filters and external graphics. Brands like Home Depot are using AR to let homeowners mock-up paint colors, and L’Oreal is using AR to test out makeup or new hair colors. We’ve seen lenders and retailers test AR applications to show what a new TV or piece of furniture will look like in the customer’s living room.

Take a bank for example. By scanning an Augmented reality code on a magazine or direct mail piece, the bank app can recognize the specific code and then include options for a loan, and even illustrating various repayment amount options. Customers can then complete the payment for the product then and there through their smartphone or tablet. The barrier to augmented reality has traditionally been cost, but with many more players in the market, costs have dropped substantially, and this technology pairs perfectly with targeted direct mail campaigns.

Mail and print have a bright future ahead, largely due to their biggest competition, digital media, and smartphones. Who would have guessed?