Making Print Social: Interactive Media and Integrated Marketing


info graphics and interactive media

Infographics have become wildly popular both online and in print. Graphic designers create visually inventive ways to convey otherwise confusing, unclear or tedious information that work well in print layouts and also draw readers online. The graphic-as-step-by-step-explanation trend is almost cliché – so much that The Atlantic was able to explore the trend with its article “The Rise of ‘In One Chart’ In One Chart.”

This doesn’t mean you should run away from infographics, though. They rose to ubiquity because they work: people enjoy them and they help explain complex topics quickly and succinctly. But infographics are inherently a one-way street. The designer and client are communicating with their audience, but the audience cannot talk back. This is why interactive media is a great new frontier for marketing. Users often spend more time with interactive media and they remember its message better afterwords. The following are some great examples of ways to take advantage of interactive media within any marketing campaign:


Dish Network has a Netflix quiz that is close to its television-addicted audience’s heart. With a series of questions, it helps determine what type of Netflix binger you are. Test takers answer some of the questions with responses like “I occasionally skip work to finish a season” or “I lost track of days somewhere between starting “Breaking Bad” and finishing “Mad Men.” Similarly, SnapApp created a quiz entitled “DDI: Common Leadership Styles,” and has reported great results with this as well as with many other quizzes it has put together.

This type of content is fun for users, it encourages them to stay on the website for an extended period of time and it prompts them to share the results with their friends on various social platforms. THIS IS GOLD. Quizzes are good investments to get users interested in looking at your content and promoting it for you – for free.


New York’s premier hip hop radio station, Hot 97, has remade itself for the digital era. One recent advancement is a contest to find up-and-coming artists called “Who’s Next.” For this contest, the station identifies local amateurs with potential, and each person or band creates a profile page to upload his or her songs to attract positive votes from listeners. A community has developed around the contest, and now the station has a small army of loyal fans who come to the site regularly to check for new music, watch videos and read the bios of those who hope to be the next big star.

Running contests encourages followers to check your site regularly, which gives you the opportunity to promote your product or services to them.

Visual Storytelling

One of the most beautiful examples of compelling visual storytelling comes from the New York Times. It’s story, “Snow Fall” tells the tale of a skier trapped in an avalanche on the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. From maps and video interviews to incredible photos and informative animations, this story has it all.

Although most companies don’t have anything this poignant to tell, the process helps turn all kinds of stories into captivating content. For example, McDonald’s put together an interactive site for user-generated “100 McDonald’s Moments.” This is designed to “remind people why they love the McDonald’s brand experience and core products,” explains Razorfish. The idea proved to be a success since the collection grew from 20 moments to 100 over a month of marketing. Razorfish also notes that the average visitor spent more than seven minutes on the website.

Stories enable visitors to spend more time on your site and engage with the content. Find or create a story that relates to your target market, and encourage visitors to look around for more interactive content.


Of course, all of this is part of the strategy of integrated marketing – using all the avenues of connection between you and the public in concert to boost the power of your marketing. Print, website, social media, face to face – it just makes sense to coordinate across all these interactions for greater results. For example, here’s a quick link to a story about how Traveler Beer uses social media to drive interest in their new Shandy drinks. Or this link about how Coca-Cola has generated huge buzz with their VDP marketing of personalized drink bottles.

We can all learn some creative ideas from how the big players use integrated marketing to create powerful returns. But the benefits are in no way limited to huge budgets or huge corporations. Even the smaller companies can coordinate their social media, blog and website with their print and direct mail to generate greater results in their marketing. In short, any content that makes your marketing “social” will be more successful for you and more engaging for the people you reach.



Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

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Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.