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Printing Industry Exchange (printindustry.com) is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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Commercial Printing: LCD Video Books and Brochures Touch 3 of 5 Senses

Wow. I think I’ve just seen a major development in marketing. It’s called the LCD video book. A colleague of mine came up to me at a party and asked to show it to me. We sat down and as I opened this little book, a 4.3” diagonal screen started to play a promotional video through a crisp little sound system.

So I went home and looked up LCD video books online. I found other promotional pieces with embedded LCD screens. Most of them were thin, brochure-like items. But I also found a high-end Metal Gear Rising book. It seemed to be about 7” x 10” (given the size of the hand opening the book in the video). On the left was a glossy, four-color book with pages that opened out displaying drawings from this Japanese action adventure game. On the right was the horizontal LCD screen imbedded in the book and surrounded by more artwork.

I thought about the two products and realized that both were essentially marketing pieces: one more of a book and one more of a brochure. But both did a superior job of selling their product or service.

Why? I thought further. Because they were dramatic, tactile, and totally beyond anything I had experienced before. They also captivated three of my five senses.

Marketing Book Identifies Qualities That Make Such a Promotion Memorable

A 2007 book on effective marketing, Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, identifies two qualities (among many others) that make an idea memorable. These are “the unexpected” and “credibility.” And these qualities came together to make the LCD video book and brochure memorable.

The minute I opened my colleague’s LCD video brochure, which was about 6” x 9” in size with an oblong format and a spine, as well as a nice satin aqueous coating on the crisp 4-color cover artwork, I was faced with “the unexpected.” I expected text, but instead I experienced video and sound.

Regarding the other point the marketing book, Made to Stick, identifies–credibility–I found a few sobering statistics about video in Mushroom Networks’ YouTube infographic:

  1. YouTube is the “2nd largest search engine.”
  2. “Nearly 1 out of every 2 internet users [is] on YouTube.”
  3. “6 billion hours of video are viewed every month (a 50% increase in one year)”

These statistics clearly demonstrate that as a culture we are becoming increasingly open to (and dependent on) absorbing content through the movement and sound of video. This in no way diminishes reading or printed material, but when you consider that the first largest search engine is Google, video in general is a robust competitor. And it’s growing.

I think these statistics lend credibility to the LCD video book’s effectiveness in delivering memorable promotional material.

Why I Personally Think the LCD Video Book and Brochure Are Effective Marketing Tools

As a custom printing broker, I have a slightly different view as to why my colleague’s LCD promotional brochure and the Metal Gear Rising LCD video book have made such an impression on me.

Video presented on a computer or even a tablet engages the viewer’s senses of hearing and sight. However, it has no tactile presence. It exists only in the moment.

In contrast, an LCD screen placed within a print book engages a third sense–touch. All of the qualities I have been touting in these blog articles regarding the tactile nature of custom printing–its permanence and its craftsmanship–can be combined with the immersive experience of video in these little LCD video books.

I have seen videos online showing the detail of the printed portion of these items. Print is not an afterthought in these cases. No expense has been spared in some of the books and brochures in which the LCD video screen has been imbedded. Here print is working in tandem with the video experience.

I would go even further. When you hand an LCD video book to someone, the uniqueness of the product makes the viewer more open to the multi-sensory experience. The video can be set to start automatically, and I think that very few people will shut the book when viewing a short promotional video.

What Can You Do with an LCD Video Book or Brochure?

Clients who buy such LCD products are making a commitment to their prospects. These are not cheap, ranging from $40 to $60 each, with minimum print runs required. A lot of money must go into creating the video content as well as the print book component.

One might hand off an LCD video book to a prospective sponsor considering a major donation, or a potential buyer of a high-end automobile. In the case of Metal Gear Rising, the book combines a graphic novel and a video screen to sell an online gaming product.

It’s a “leave-behind” item, in marketing jargon, and this catch phrase actually highlights its value. If you can leave behind an item that can recreate the initial sensory experience a prospective client has had with your product or service, you can reinforce this in his or her mind—and make the sale.

You can make a more lasting impression with a video than with a brochure, but you can make an even more lasting impression with an LCD screen embedded in a print book or brochure. That’s because it’s more tangible, unique, and permanent than an Internet video, banner ad, or email. Your client walks away with one of these well-crafted multimedia products, which will capture his or her interest far more than the 100 emails he or she receives in a day.

The Technical Specifications of the LCD Video Book

As a start in your research, here are some general technical specifications for the LCD video book or brochure:

  1. The starting memory is 256K, but memory chips are available holding up to 2GB of data. This means your promotional videos can be longer, or you can provide multiple videos to your prospective clients.
  2. Screen sizes range from 2.8” to 7” diagonal, so you can control the visual impact of the product.
  3. The format of the print book that encases the video screen can range from 8.3” x 5.8” up to 8.3” x 11.7” (upright or oblong). Or you can select a custom size. By making the print book (or brochure) component of the product larger or smaller, you can also control the visual impact of the piece.
  4. The LCD monitor, amplifier, and speakers are powered by Lithium-ion batteries, which can be recharged through the USB port on your computer.
  5. You can control the volume, pause the video, or skip from video to video. The video can also be set to start automatically when you open the cover of the print book or brochure.

I was intrigued. I think they’ve got something here.

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