The Perfect Marriage of Physical and Digital

HP_YOUNGLION_MAG-6In case you haven't noticed, the widespread adoption of the smartphone has created an avenue for marketers and publishers to bolster their multichannel marketing campaigns with QR codes. Any camera-equipped mobile phone can scan a QR Code. That QR code can be linked to relevant online content, like informational videos or websites, and the scans translate to valuable data for marketers.

As of now, the efficacy of QR code campaigns runs a wide gamut. Marketers and brands are struggling to find the right marriage between the digital and physcial. One marketing and print service provider based in New York City, The Ace Group Inc., is effectively executing QR Code (Quick Response, 2-D bar codes)campaigns in conjunction with HP digital printing technologies to merge the digital and physical.

Marketers and publishers can advance their communications with consumers by using a QR Code to prompt a text message, provide company contact information, prompt a consumer to enter a phone number or other actions. Marketers and publishers can track these actions to provide data on when and where consumers find content compelling.

With HP's portfolio of digital presses, large-format printers and inkjet imprinting technologies, marketers can incorporate QR Codes into most types of short- and medium-run applications -- from magazines to billboards to building wallscapes.

"Consumers want new ways to relate to content and QR Codes offer this interactivity in a way that has never been possible in the past," said Christopher Morgan, senior vice president, Graphics Solutions Business, Imaging and Printing Group, HP. "Combining interactive content with print creates a new level of consumer engagement that increases the value of both online and offline content."

Creative Audience Embraces New Applications

In October, HP received a "Positively Print" Award of Distinction from the Graphic Arts Show Co. for a 2010 Cannes International Advertising Festival campaign that featured extensive QR Code work from The Ace Group, a pioneer in the field.

For the festival, HP worked with The Ace Group to create the 2010 USA Today Young Lions Team USA ROAR magazine. The publication, which focused on the designers selected to represent the United States in the festival's annual Young Lions competition, demonstrated how QR Codes can be used to join the physical and digital worlds in a single, multisensory experience.

ROAR featured profiles of the USA Young Lions teams and HP-branded QR Codes tied to videos of team members discussing their creative process. This connection between the physical magazine and the digital videos produced a vibrant, interactive publication with value greater than either the magazine or videos had individually.

Targeted printed content of this nature would not have been feasible without The Ace Group's HP Indigo press 5500. With the press, the company could quickly and profitably produce a short run of offset-quality publications for a highly creative and discriminating audience, a feat that would have been far too expensive using a traditional analog process.

When HP distributed ROAR at a May 5 party to celebrate the U.S. Young Lions festival competition team, The Ace Group's tracking capabilities revealed great interest in the magazine and its online, QR Code-connected content -- the codes printed and distributed in the magazine registered as many scans as there were attendees to the party. Additional metrics such as what type of device scanned the code and the time of the scan provide the types of details that marketers and publishers can use to understand their customers better.

"QR Codes make it simple for brands to reinvigorate print campaigns by offering their customers access to additional content beyond the printed page," said Val DiGiacinto, vice president, Sales, and partner, The Ace Group. "Much faster and easier than remembering and typing a URL or searching for a video, QR Codes deliver a strong connection point between print and the internet that has not been there before."


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