Don’t Give Up the Print! (Digital Nirvana)

Next time you’re having a conversation with a client about the value of continuing to use print in their media mix, you might want to throw in some data from Harris Interactive. Its Harris Poll, conducted of 2056 adults in February 6-13 2012, found that while smartphones could be used to replace many print-related activities, such as carrying airline tickets or using printed coupon, they aren’t.

Only 5% of Americans say that they have scanned their phone for admission to a movie or as an airline ticket, and fewer say they have done so to pay for clothing or electronics (3%), admission to a concert, live theater or performance (3%), to pay for a convenience item such as coffee (3%) or something else (7%). Two in five say they have never scanned their mobile or smart phone for any reason (40%) and slightly more say they do not have a mobile or smart phone with this capability (45%). Although Echo Boomers, aged 18-35, are most likely to have scanned their phone for all of the items listed, even they are not doing this at remarkable rates (between 5% and 10% for each item). [1]

Harris Interactive also asked these adults, not just what behaviors they were willing to engage in with their smartphones, but also their comfort levels with using their phones this way (whether they had actually done so or not). Levels of discomfort using phones for purchases, scanning tickets, and a variety of other activities remains quite high.

When the research firm looked at those who are comfortable with the various items, it noticed several trends:

  • There is comfort in youth – younger adults are more comfortable than those older with each item listed;
  • Men are more comfortable with each item than are women; and
  • Those who have scanned their smart phone for any one of a number of reasons are more comfortable with each capability than are those who have never scanned their phone, or do not have a phone with that technology.

The last one is particularly interesting for those pushing QR Codes and other 2d mobile barcodes, especially to boost the relevance and interest in print. If you can get them to scan the code just once, people are much more likely to continue to do it. That means really focusing on the incentive and call to action, especially the first time out.

Heidi Tolliver-Walker Heidi is an industry analyst specializing in digital, one-to-one, personalized URL, and Web-to-print applications.

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