From years of experience within the industry and monitoring new trends and technology, I believe the next step in the evolution of interactive marketing is here. The technology has been around for quite a long time but only now, with the growth in smartphone technology and the increased use of applications on iphone or android devices, are we seeing exciting new developments in interactive engagement.
First came QR Codes, or Quick Response codes: barcodes that can be scanned by smartphones to open a website with more information.
Now digital watermarking has arrived. By embedding the digital information, known as a payload, into the pixels which make up the image marketeers can deliver a vast range of extra online content.
One clear advantage is that you no longer need to have unsightly QR codes on your beautifully designed marketing material. Just scan the images or photographs on the marketing material with your smartphone and it triggers online content to be delivered to the device. So giving your readers a clean, premium interactive experience.
Digital watermarking has other clear advantages over QR codes. Marketeers currently using QR codes want to look like they are delivering new technology, but unfortunately most just deliver disappointment. Research indicates most people don’t know what QR codes are, or how to use them. Adding a QR code to material which points to a website and is not smartphone friendly does not add value.
Added value is about delivering the wow factor. When educating people about digital watermarking it’s the thought that goes behind delivering the final engaging online product that takes precedence. Not just the appearance of doing so.
Interactive engagement can deliver a variety of actions such as a personalised website URL links which go through to YouTube video streaming. It’s a kind of magic, the images which are embedded with the watermark information look no different to the ones without.
You open the app, you view the embedded image in the application, the application then automatically launches links to websites, videos, online forms/applications or even special offers. It’s simple, it’s reactive, it’s fun. An exciting new step in customer interactive engagement.
Author – James Fernando, Managing Director, Central Services