Print is dead. Well, that’s what some people would have you believe. Since the arrival of the digital age, many have been quick to declare print over. In reality, the opposite is true. What digital can deliver is the speedy distribution of throwaway information. So, whilst it may have killed off low quality print, it has also paved the way for much more interesting, much more effective targeted printed communications.

All too often, digital and print communications tend to exist in separate silos within a business. They both work towards the same goals but their efforts are widely kept singular and distinct, even handled by different people within the business. Undoubtedly, the continuing rapid growth in the use of digital communication channels is changing the way companies reach and engage their audiences. However, who said the two should not mix? In fact, as technology advances, the opportunities for making print more exciting and optimising your return become boundless.

Interactive print can be incorporated into any printed campaign, be it flyers, posters, banners, signage, door drops, direct mail… even clothing. Instead of needing QR codes the technology recognises your print design (or any element within it) when scanned by a mobile phone. Some systems then redirect the user to the relevant landing page or pURL which can, in turn, be jam packed full of time critical offers or vouchers.

From a consumer’s perspective, it could not be simpler. All the user has to do is download the app to their mobile, scan the image on the print and they’ve got instant access to extra offers. This is particularly clever in a PoS environment where shoppers, or event attendees, can scan posters and t-shirts for extra benefits. Plus you, as the marketer, get the opportunity to collect more data to further refine your offering.

Good interactive print can incorporate geo location and time collection tools to identify where the user is when they scan the print, creating a unique customer journey which takes the user from print, to mobile, to web in the touch of a few buttons. As people use and reuse the technology the database builds to allow you to reflect known preferences and purchasing behaviour to increase the relevancy of your offers.

The key is not to do away with print materials, nor to separate different channels into distinct silos, but to integrate the two for maximum effect. Direct mail’s ability to be personalised and targeted makes it a powerful tool for any marketer. Combined with digital, its power to engage is vastly increased.

Clare Mylan

Clare Mylan


Clare Mylan, Head of Sales, Gecko.