Interactive Print & Direct Mail – The New Hero in Omnichannel Marketing

Interactive-Print at America Litho, Carol Stream, IL


Interactive Print (AR) brings together the power of print and the versatility of digital to provide marketers with one of the most effective integrated marketing tools available today.

Interactive Print by nature of its name could be a simple QR code solution that links to a predetermined web URL or, as we’ll be referring to in this article, it could be a more innovative solution like Augmented Reality which provides higher levels of engagement for consumers, a greater control over their campaign journey and more enhanced insights into their activity. Interactive Print (AR), unlike “old school” QR codes, layers digital content over printed material to literally bring the print to life, providing consumers with a greatly enhanced customer experience, delivered seamlessly on their mobile device. Interactive Print (AR) also provides marketers the ability to measure numerous metrics on consumer engagement and the performance of print to digital campaigns as well as integrate additional tracking codes for use across other channels. Print has evolved!

Examples of print that can be brought to life as Interactive Print include, direct mail, magazines, publications, calendars, posters, signage, banners and even packaging & labels. If it can be printed and scanned with a mobile device, then it can most likely be augmented or enhanced to become Interactive Print.



First and foremost, Interactive Print is not so much the future of print in that it is available here and now, and growing in popularity – very quickly. Here’s why.

In an increasingly “noisy” market, print is re-emerging as a powerful medium for cutting through digital fatigue whilst establishing trust and brand awareness with consumers. A study by CPC (Canadian Post Corporation) showed that consumers were 70% more likely to remember a brand if seen through print than digital while Business 2 Community share that 56% of customers deem print marketing to be the most trustworthy marketing medium. Print is also an essential means to effective local area marketing, has greater longevity than some digital and delivers an immersive tactile experience.

Digital on the other hand shines when it comes to delivering seamless customer journeys that have great potential for reach and virality. Digital is also well known for its ability to deliver powerful low-cost campaigns that generate powerful performance metrics and be easily integrated across multiple channels. Digital can also, more often than not, be easily modified and enhanced mid campaign or “on the fly”.

With this in mind, it is easy to understand why some businesses question where their marketing budget or attention is best invested; is it in print for the cut through and trust/brand building, or is it digital for its lower costs, reach and versatility?

Interactive Print solves this dilemma by providing marketers the ability to make the most of both worlds by seamlessly integrating print and digital to work together in unison on the same marketing goal.

The saying “The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts” is never truer when referring to Interactive Print (Print & Digital), in fact a 2016 review into the effect that AR had on direct mail by USPS showed interactive direct mail campaigns that were enhanced by AR delivered an increase in response rates from 2-3% to a massive 35% (Printing Impressions).

In a world where the average consumer uses up to six touchpoints on their journey to purchase a product and up to 50% of these using more than four (Marketing Week), it’s easy to see that omnichannel marketing, or marketing designed to help consumers seamlessly navigate across these touchpoints is essential to successfully engaging the market.

In the past, omnichannel marketing has been predominantly structured around integrated digital content however Interactive Print now changes this – Omnichannel marketing driven from Print and Direct Mail.

Interactive Print is and should be considered as a key component to any omnichannel marketing campaign and even more so, and everyday marketing strategy.



Interactive Print can take branding materials like direct mail, brochures, press adverts, booklets or signage to the next level by adding immersive, interactive content.

Consumers are able to scan printed material with their mobile devices to access more information on products or services and ways to connect with the brand, the interaction can even drive the consumer seamlessly through to a purchase or to associated social media channels to share the experience. The digital component to Interactive Print can also be embedded with tracking tags making it easy to monitor the consumers journey across all channels and automatically retarget with relevant content on other digital platforms or even targeted print where required.

Interactive Print also has the potential to reduce some marketing costs by not only providing marketers with the ability to deliver more content from a smaller print piece but also change out or modify interactive content on longer lasting campaigns without the need to reprint material.

While easily recognized as beneficial for almost any industry, Interactive Print stands out as an extremely powerful tool in education, not only for marketing and communications but also in the delivery of educational content from various printed resources and guides as well as the positioning of the educator as an innovative leader in the space, a position most educators strive to attain.

High schools and colleges, like Sheldon College and John Paul College, have implemented Interactive Print into their marketing and communications as they deliver informative and interactive video content to potential students about the school and campus from their prospectus. Potential students could even register their attendance for an open day through a webform that could be accessed via an automated call to action.

John Paul College has even implemented AR enabled posters of notable alumni around their campus, which when scanned by students or visitors delivers a personal video narrative from the alumni providing background on their experience at the school and how it was pivotal in shaping the person they became.

Interactive Print has also become a formidable marketing solution in the property space as it allows marketers to immerse customers into the buying experience with highly engaging, interactive property content delivered from brochures, magazines, street signs or magazine adverts. This is especially vital for properties that are yet to be built and realtors need to find a way to show the property to buyers and help them visualize it as their dream property.

As with other forms of Interactive Print, a key feature that is of significant benefit to the consumer is the ability to access engaging, interactive and informative content when and where best suits them, for example additional property information off street signage when walking the dog or 3D floor plans and models or interactive virtual tours in the comfort and safety of their own home.

Early adopters of Interactive Print in the property space, Harcourts Stafford and McGrath Estate Agents Mooloolaba, created AR-enabled property advertisements in local publications and property magazines. Each AR enabled advertisement delivered a video of a property and upon completion of the video consumers were prompted to visit the website for more information or redirected to a virtual tour—seamlessly done with a powerful call-to-action straight from print.

Consumers could also connect directly with the agent from the property video or tour. Engaging, seamless and convenient.



Like print collateral, Interactive Print has the ability to take product packaging, labels and product brochures to the next level, enabling consumers to access additional information about a product, then and there, and again, often in the comfort and safety of their own home using their mobile device.

Whilst there have been a number of big brand examples like Jack Daniels and Bombay Sapphire delivering interactive experiences directly from their packaging, labels and brochures there is also a growing interest from many smaller brands to leverage existing video footage and share their story and brand messaging from product packaging and labels.

A bag of coffee beans that shares a story about the roasting process. A wine label that talks about the land where the grapes were grown, and the process undertaken to produce the wine. Or a food ingredient packet or product card that delivers inspiration through engaging recipe videos.

In a competitive market, leveraging existing assets to create an immersive experience can be the differentiator that allows a brand to stand out from its competitors and create sustained recognition.



If it can be easily viewed and identified by a mobile device then it can be made interactive, this also goes for signage and banners with a number of marketers now enabling traditional outdoor advertising material with engaging interactive content.

For example, Tourism and Events Queensland launched the first ever Curiocity Brisbane event, an immersive and interactive series of science, art and technology experiences spanning the Brisbane River, with a series of AR enabled event wayfinders. Each way finder when scanned delivered either an interactive video or 3D experience that celebrated the work of a local artist.

Harcourts Stafford created AR-enabled street signage to stand out from the crowd, enabling passers-by to view an interactive video overview of the property. Interested parties could connect with the managing agent for more information or book a private viewing directly from the property street signage.

Interactive Print is not a fad … it is here to stay and adds real value to functional omnichannel marketing campaigns. In years to come Interactive Print will be as common as email marketing and SEO so now is the time to adopt if you want to stand out from the crowd.

Your customers deserve the best experience possible.

Contact us now for more information on how we can help you make Interactive Print a part of your everyday performance marketing.

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