Nearly three quarters of marketers use print to get audiences interested in additional digital content, but many are failing to use the most sophisticated tools to do this, according to a recent study by marketing production specialist, Charterhouse.
printDespite the existence of handy QR codes, which can be used in printed marketing material to direct audiences to online content, most marketers are still printing standard web URLs instead forcing consumers to memorise the web address or enter it manually into their device, or miss out on the digital content.

The study by Charterhouse reveals that the most common objective, stated by 61% of marketers, is to use print to increase traffic to a brand’s website with no respondents reporting that they use print to drive people towards mobile content, and just 2% using it to attract audiences to social media-based content.

While 59% of marketers say at least one in two of their campaigns integrate print and digital, a URL is most commonly employed (used by 83% of marketers). More advanced tools such as QR codes (26%) and augmented reality (5%) are used far less frequently. This appears to be due to a lack of confidence in the value of such tools, with 32% of marketers admitting that they are not sure about the potential of QR codes in enhancing their marketing campaigns; more than half (51%) saying the same about augmented reality; 34% about linking to mobile sites; and 32% about linking directly to social media properties from printed material.
Despite these figures, almost half (46%) still believe that print is vital to driving interest in digital content and campaigns.

“Marketers are clearly thinking about how these technologies can enhance their activities. But they shouldn’t be thought of as the end-result – they are a means to an end,” says Ivan Skoric, head of digital services at Charterhouse. “Simply sticking a QR code or digital watermark on print marketing to drive interest to your homepage is not going to achieve results. The objective of linking print and digital should be to engage audiences with sticky online content as part of a broader experience.”

On a positive note, the study also revealed that marketers are planning to experiment more with integrating print and digital in 2012. More than half (51%) are planning to use QR codes over the next year, and nearly two thirds (59%) plan to link to social media content rather than their own websites. A minority (7%) even indicated that they plan to integrate print and augmented reality in their 2012 marketing campaigns.