5 Ways to Use Augmented Reality to Elevate Print Marketing
Many of the most popular AR apps, such as the IKEA Place app, use something called markerless AR, meaning the experience is launched from within the app, with no need for a physical marker. Because of this, I’ve found that many marketers are under the false impression that this technology is of no use when it comes to their print marketing goals. On the contrary, AR and print are an ideal pairing for marketers looking to maximize their return on both print and digital channels.
First, for those new to this tech: What is AR? AR uses a device, usually a smartphone or tablet, to augment the real world — to add an extra layer on the viewer’s physical surroundings. That layer could be an animation, a 3D model, a game or any combination of images, sound and video that, together, create an experience for the viewer.
A great thing about AR is that it can be used as a bridge between the physical world and the digital one. When implemented with a marker — usually a print piece — AR acts as a catalyst that moves the viewer from that print piece to a digital channel, where the conversation can continue. It’s what we at Trekk call a “Paper to Pixels” approach to communication.
Here are five examples of how AR can be used to make your print communications more engaging and immersive.
1. Generate Leads with AR
One of the most useful AR applications is lead gen, and I especially love using it for this purpose to engage audiences on mobile at trade shows and events.
Take the Print Guys, a lead-generating AR campaign we created for the International Paper booth at Adobe MAX. These 3D paper characters tell the story of International Paper — literally. Scan a Print Guy using the International Paper app, and he or she will tell you all about their unique CMYK color and how great it looks on International Paper products.
Event attendees interacting with the Print Guys checked into the booth using their event bracelet. This gave International Paper the ability to follow up with leads after the show — and to prioritize the warm leads who returned to the booth five or six times.
Great for: Business Cards, Event Collateral, Leave-Behinds, Direct Mail
2. Teach With AR
The educational potential of AR cannot be overstated, and I predict it will be a standard in classrooms before long. Whether in a K-12 setting, on the job or used for customer education, this technology is superb for showing your audience how to do something and helping them understand new concepts.
Great for: User Manuals, Guidebooks, Training Materials, Student Workbooks
3. Contextualize With AR
With AR, you can deliver more information about your products and services, without crowding your print collateral with copy. Imagine a bag of coffee beans that shares a story about the roasting process or a wine label that talks about the land where the grapes were grown. AR enables you to add more of your story, your brand, and your product information than could typically be printed on traditional packaging.
AR also can save you money by helping you to create evergreen print pieces. Print the information that doesn’t often change in the catalog or on the packaging, and save any content that is frequently updated to the AR experience. Change the experience as often as you’d like, without the need for a new print runevery time.
Great for: Product Catalogs, Marketing Collateral, Brochures, Posters
4. Incentivize With AR
Because AR is still such a new and exciting technology, simply having an AR component on your print piece incentivizes people to interact with your brand’s digital channels. Add incentives, like coupons and promotions, and they’re even more likely to engage.
This application lends itself perfectly to direct mail. Augmented postcards allow the recipient to unlock a personalized promotion, encouraging not only interaction with your brand, but ultimately conversion.
Bonus: You can save money on postage in 2019 when you incorporate AR into your marketing mail, thanks to this year’s USPS promotions.
Great for: Newsletters, Transactional Mail, Postcards, Sell Sheets
5. Delight With AR
AR surprises and delights people, and that’s why it’s also great for loyalty programs or when you just want to send a bit of joy to your customers.
It’s no secret that we love to create AR holiday cards, and it’s for this very reason. It puts a smile on people’s faces — and is irresistibly shareable on social media.
Great for: Cards, Books, Programs, Calendars, Letterhead, Posters
Whether you’re teaching people something new or engaging an audience already familiar with your brand, you can use AR strategically at every step of the customer journey — to acquire new leads, increase loyalty among your existing customers and grow your business.
Sarah Mannone is the Executive Vice President of Trekk, a tech-driven creative services agency. She works with Trekk clients to develop strategic marketing plans and craft measurable programs that that span print, web, social, and mobile. As part of the Trekk management team, Sarah is involved in the decisions and strategy around adopting new technologies and applications to meet the current and future needs of Trekk clients. Sarah is a member of the Forbes Agency Council and a frequent speaker at marketing industry events.