The Next Wave of Cross-Media Communications: A Perfect Storm

Chris Bondy is Group Director of Cross-Media Workflow Solutions at InfoTrends. With over 3 decades of industry experience, Chris has an extensive background in strategy, business development, product planning, process reengineering and sales/marketing for commercial printing, publishing and in-plant printing companies, and manufacturers of graphic arts and marketing communication products and services. (

The recent recession, technological advances and the rapid cultural shift to real-time communications have created the perfect situation for change in marketing strategies, priorities and services. Smartphones are enabling “always-on” consumers and knowledge workers to consume more electronic media and to proactively participate in social media with photos, videos and real-time messaging. The wholesale shift in how consumers and knowledge workers communicate and respond to various offers has prompted marketers and advertisers to react by delivering more integrated campaigns across a variety of different media—including Web, mobile, social and print channels.

Figure: U.S. Mobile Phone Penetration, 1981-2009

InfoTrends chart

How will this shift affect the way that consumers and knowledge workers expect to be communicated with, and how will it affect marketers, publishers and service providers? The dominoes have been set in motion, and marketers are hustling to respond to the changing needs of customers with personalized offers that address where, when and how they want to be reached. For example, marketers at Ralf Lauren are using mobile bar codes, or quick response codes (QR codes), on printed materials to automatically link consumers to a personalized Web landing page after they take a picture of the QR code with their mobile phones.

Marketing and advertising professionals are under heavy scrutiny as a result of the economic downturn, and they must find a way to meet these shifting communications needs while also measuring the results of these new integrated cross-media campaigns. Solutions from companies like EasyPurl and MindFire provide the capability to develop personalized URLs/Web landing pages and e-mail blasts, as well as reports on response activities. These next-generation cross-media solutions provide a marketing analytics dashboard that enables marketers to track and analyze direct marketing campaigns to an individual across multiple data points. Marketers now have the ability to deploy a cross-media campaign and discover campaign results in real-time and in an easy-to-use dashboard experience.

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