We live in the digital age. An explosion of information has made the customers of today wary of marketing messages being relayed to them. They have not only learned to filter out advertisements using ad-blockers but have also been dulled to any messages that may reach them through the digital medium. As such, the print media has re-emerged as the preferred channel for advertisers and is the new non-traditional medium that allows you to reach out to today’s audience.While it is true that email marketing is far from realizing its potential today and offers the lowest cost per acquisition for most brands, the fact remains that the overflowing mailboxes and continuous pings of notifications have forced the audience to mark marketing messages as spam.
Creatively made flyers, brochures, direct mailers, newspaper inserts etc. are fine. But these are being sent to your audience by everyone else who is competing for their attention as well. You need to stand out from the crowd. And one of the effective ways to do it is through an interactive print campaign.
First, let us look at who our readers are. While we know that they are adept at filtering out all the marketing clutter they see online and in the physical world, they are also:
- spending more time online than ever before,
- have an always-on the mobile Internet connection,
- are fragmented across various channels of information,
- and are willing to hear new voices with an open mind.
These factors mean that to truly engage your customers, the printed words and images will have to become something more than what it was a decade back. You can achieve this by using interactive print. Your target audience today is not going to stay on a single medium – they are looking at a traditionally printed copy at home, and switch to their tablet as they leave for their workplace and jump onto a MacBook as soon as they reach there. To reach them, the story you tell needs to be able to move with them, seamlessly.
Yes, I said story. All your campaigns have to be stories. And storytelling today has to be transmedia. Your audience is actively seeking to participate in stories and is present on multiple channels. So, you have to ensure they have access to multiple entry points across various media, digital and print. While some of them will want to dig deeper and figure out more details about your story, most would want short capsules they can share with their friends over the social networks they are part of. Therefore, your story should be both dig-gable and spreadable. In print media, you can achieve this by adding elements of augmented reality to your advertisement.
Once your readers have had a taste of elaborate storytelling that puts them in the center, they are never going back to being a passive consumer. Let them know that their inputs matter and they will stand by you forever.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when designing your print campaign :
Understand and know your audience:
This must be obvious. But we have realized that too many of the marketers today are so caught up in creating something that is “different”, that they forget who the audience is. Before developing your campaign, spend time building the audience persona. Understanding them is the key to your success – you must know not just their likes and dislikes, but also understand their fears and chase after their dreams and hopes. Only after this would you be able to directly address the problem they face, and present a solution they will lap up.
Volkswagen's Print Ad Test Drive
Don't cut back on design and print quality:
One of the reasons print advertisements are as popular as they are is that they are extremely cost-effective to mount. With interactive print, you may feel that the paper itself matters less as the actual interaction will happen on a screen or that you don’t have to worry much about the design as it is but a gateway to the digital world. While this is true, do not skimp on design and print quality! Remember that the first impression is the last impression – a not-so-great gateway will prime the audience to look for what is not up to the mark in the interaction. Therefore, work with a professional wherever possible.
As established earlier, your audience wants to be able to move freely between print and digital media. Help them do this by integrating your campaigns across print and digital worlds. Copies of your print ad should be available on your website and social media handles. More importantly, your interactive print ads should allow for a simple way to visit your other digital properties – be it your website, blog, YouTube channel, order page or social media handles. Remember that this will only work if you can maintain a consistency in the look and core message of your brand across all media.
Engage all the senses:
Multisensory experiences are known to increase the perceived engagement the audience feels and later recall of a brand by up to 70%. Print ads can easily be multisensory. Your reads can feel the paper they are holding – so add physical texture to it. The type of paper you use will also change the impression you leave on your audience.
Interactive print can combine the physical mode with the digital mode. Though a truly unique example that comes to mind is Snoop Dogg’s smokable songbook - read the song, roll the paper, strike a match on the book’s spine and experience smoking poetry. Clearly, he missed a trick – when reading the song, you could sing along by playing a karaoke version on your phone. All Snoop Dogg had to do was to allow the reader to scan a page and automatically be redirected to the music track on his website. Further, he could have allowed the readers to record their versions, and share on social media - and see the sales of the book skyrocket further.