Digital watermarks are QR codes without the clunkiness. Here’s why you should put them on your demand generation radar now.
Recently, I wrote about why QR codes are gaining a more prominent place in the B2B marketing toolkit. Now I believe the same drivers apply to a similar but sleeker mobile awareness technology: digital watermarks.
Developed by Digimarc, watermarking technology offers all the benefits of a QR code…without the clunky mark. Unlike QR codes, digital watermarks can be embedded in several places within a page, poster, etc. They’re invisible to the eye but instantly viewable via a smartphone:
“The Digimarc Discover Platform uses multiple content identification technologies — digital watermarking, audio fingerprinting and barcode detection — to give smartphones the ability to “see, hear and recognize” different forms of media.
‘Consumers simply launch an app and point their phone at the item they are interested in. Digimarc Discover then delivers the corresponding choices back to the phone, such as view a video, launch an app, share with a friend, save for later or make a purchase.”
Now, because digital watermarking is not yet widespread, advertisers and marketers will still need to “prompt” the audience to use their phone/app to scan the image in order to connect with great online/mobile content.
However, the power of these digital watermarks is awesome—visually, and in terms of the flexibility of application.
And the watermarks aren’t meant to be the only call to action—they reinforce the CTA. (And that’s not a new phenom in itself—back in the day, having a BRC on a direct mail package often served as response reinforcement, not the only means of response.)
Think that sounds great for consumers but irrelevant for B2B? Well, according to Forbes Insight research, 82% of business executives have a smartphone, and more than half of them use it as their primary communication device. Also, connecting targets to content via a watermark is a great way to track responses.
I believe the main criterion for integrating digital watermarks into your demand generation programs is the same as it is for QR codes: they can deliver high value when developed to support a specific audience’s needs, to meet a clearly defined goal in your demand generation program.
If you or someone on your creative or media teams want to play around with the technology, check out the free beta of the Digimarc Discover Online Services Portal (OSP), available until May 31, 2011.
And let me know what you think in the comments!