People Like to Be Interactive: Top 2 Case Studies on Interactive Marketing Brochures

From the day we’re born, we like to interact with stuff.  When we engage with something using multiple senses, we tend to understand it better. That’s the power of interactive marketing communications.

But interactive marketing communications can mean different things to different people. In this blog, I’m specifically talking about interactive brochures for B2B marketing.

At Hoffman, we define an interactive brochure as an online piece of marketing collateral or content marketing material that enables the user to navigate a path of their choosing and learn what they want to learn. To us, an interactive brochure also means use of multimedia (e.g., video), interactive graphics, and other media to stimulate as many senses as possible.

A Key Attribute: Device Independence and No Readers or Apps

Another important aspect of interactive brochures is their ability to seamlessly run on any device. This incorporates another sensory experience – touching the tablet and smartphone screens. But it’s important to enable this feature without the user needing to update any readers or players, download and install any viewers or apps, or any of that shenanigans. Leading adopters in this area tell us that’s a big deal because apps, readers, viewers, and players limit the ability to customize the interactive brochure, tethers companies to certain vendors, and forces users to download and install stuff before they can view the brochure.

But how is an interactive brochure different than a website viewed on a touchscreen device? The difference is that a website, by its nature, provides unguided information to visitors. A reader can browse anywhere, and potentially leave the site without “getting the story” companies want to tell.  By contrast, an interactive brochure uses web technology (HTML5) to provide a guided “adventure” (with choices along the journey) to make sure the reader gets the story. This makes an interactive brochure an engaging complement to a website and “static” collateral.

Interactive Brochure Case Study 1: Marketing for a Marketing Association

For example, the American Marketing Association uses an interactive brochure we created to explain the benefits of AMA membership to prospects. It incorporates multimedia – videos of its executives and video testimonials from current members. It also incorporates an interactive U.S. map so prospective members can click on pushpins to visit the websites of local AMA chapters.  AMA Marketing Director Jen Billings calls this package “a highly engaging cost-effective way to make your marketing stand out.”  We figure that if we can inspire a prestigious marketing association with this approach, there must be something to this. (View the AMA interactive brochure and the AMA interactive map within the package. Try viewing them on a tablet or smartphone.)  We have since developed a second interactive brochure for AMA to help retain existing members.

Interactive Brochure Case Study 2: Content Marketing

An interactive brochure can also be used to explain a complex topic (and ways to address it). Bit9 + Carbon Black is an endpoint security company that provides solutions in a variety of industries. In the electric power industry, utilities must comply with a security standard established by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) called NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP). We developed an interactive brochure for Bit9 + Carbon Black that explains Version 5 of this complicated security standard and then shows how the Bit9 + Carbon Black platform helps unify security and organize compliance in accordance with many of the NERC CIP5 requirements.

Videos, animation, pop-up graphics, and other media guide the reader through the client story. Interactive menus enable readers to choose select aspects of NERC CIP5 of interest. Bit9 + Carbon Black Solutions Marketing Manager Jim DeLorenzo says the brochure “demonstrates our leadership in a particular vertical and gives us an effective new form of content marketing.” (View the Bit9 + Carbon Black interactive brochure and animation.)

On these projects, the clients appreciated our turnkey approach, enabling them to work with only one vendor for the custom design, copy, video integration, graphics, and HTML5 programming.

We welcome your feedback. How would you use interactive brochures in your marketing?

For the last 30 years, Hoffman Marketing Communications has created white papers, collateral, and more recently multimedia, on complex business issues and technologies. Sign up here to get your free copy of our White Paper on White Papers to learn the ten best practices for creating effective white papers.