As a print marketer, you’ll know just how much noise has been made over the years about digitally-enabled print.
First there were various scannable codes including the data matrix code, the Microsoft TAG and the good ole QR code.
They had their uses of course. But the main problem was that it took ages for customers to really understand what they were for, never mind actually use them.
And even if you could persuade your customer to download a scanning app and scan the code, as a designer or brand guardian, they’re probably THE last thing you want to stick on your lovingly crafted artwork. With the best will in the world, they’re a bit of a carbuncle!
That’s aside from the fact that your customer has to grab a 3rd party app to do it, so the whole customer experience wasn’t exactly integrated.
But the main problem was, most customers just didn’t ‘get’ them.
Like most early technologies, there wasn’t enough customer need or reward to entice them, and so it’s kinda died a death.
And that means the scene is set for the next gen of technology to come along – one that’s more sophisticated and without the drawbacks of QR.
So what’s next?
Another great feature is that unlike QR codes where they had to be created and embedded in the print, all content creation is done at the digital end (i.e. not within the print), so you can print and THEN digitally enable it – or change the functionality – later.
So unlike QR, you can add new offers, vouchers, uploads, videos, landing pages, forms or whatever – after you’ve created the artwork.
There’s also a host of customer data capture options and dashboards available to help brands further inform their future marketing and promotions – and of course make the user experience more and more relevant and valuable.
Of course, we all need a data dashboard these days – and a way to integrate with CRMs and other systems.
As you’d expect, we get interaction data, usage heatmaps and all the other goodies most marketers are used to. It also works with other software through an API so you can import the data into your CRM or marketing automation systems.
The system’s called IOT (Internet on Things) and here’s some key points, at-a-glance:
• Digitally enables all visual material – including print
• Material is scanned in YOUR app
• For the first time, it allows Interaction reporting and analytics on your print
• Gather custom insight – as well as GPS, time, weather, device, orientation, etc.
• Artwork isn’t adjusted or compromised
• Update offers/links/content at the digital end
• It works across print, digital, TV, outdoor – on all visual material
Go into the App/Play store on your phone and download the free Webmart IOT app. Then scan any of the three pictures on your monitor (the app takes a photo before scanning).
As you’ll see, you can app-enable anywhere on a page to deliver any content you like.
Scan the top picture (above) and it’ll take you one place, scan either of the images below and they’ll take you somewhere else.
This page works with the Webmart app, but the technology can create your own app or sit invisibly inside your own app if you have one.
Of course, IOT is designed for non-digital formats such as print, but this should give you a good idea of how it works on those formats too.
This new technology doesn’t need a code, watermark or anything special on the print. As you can see, it works with computer screens, but it also works with video, TV – in fact any visual material at all.
And because it resides on the brand’s app, not a 3rdparty’s, brand owners can maintain a seamless presence across channels.
Here’s a couple of examples of how it works:
You can turn a printed greeting card into a super-personalised, two-way video greetings card using IOT.
How one gift card manufacturer allows users to embed their own videos, photos and text into all their gift cards.