The best online configurators for audio-in-print are from Voice Express®, the leader in interactive voice-enabled technologies. With audio-in-print, you can reach your audience through a combination of sight, touch, and sound. When an audio brochure or audio card is opened, your message plays through a built-in speaker or headphones that are plugged into an audio jack. Integral pushbuttons let listeners choose what they want to hear while providing access to information that’s reinforced through words and images. This multi-media approach leverages the power of voice for printed A6 brochures and 5” x  5” gift cards.

The VoiceLP™ A6 Audio Brochure from Voice Express

Marketers that are familiar with print-on-demand and custom or short-run digital printing already know something about online product configurators. What’s different about the best ones, however, is their inclusion of voice technology. For example, the VoiceLP™ audio brochure from Voice Express® lets brands program and distribute audio content in a custom-printed A6 brochure (4-1/8” x 5-7-8”). Along with compelling text and attractive graphics, your voice brochure can include audible content that informs, engages, and delights. Moreover, you can tailor your message to the recipient’s interests.

Brands can order the VoiceLP™ A6 audio brochure by using the on-line configurator on the Voice Express website. Choose matte or glossy for the finish, and choose a memory size of 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16 hours. Enter the quantity, add the order to your cart, and upload your custom graphics and audio tracks. You can review the unit pricing and change the order quantity if you’d like. Finally, proceed to the checkout and apply a coupon if you have one. Applications range from local real estate listings to audio detailing, an alternative marketing technique that’s used by the pharmaceutical industry.

VoiceLP™ 5” x 5” Audio Card Now Available on Amazon Custom

Amazon businesses and bulk purchasers that want to customize, personalize, or configure the perfect product can now purchase VoiceLP™ audio cards through Amazon Custom. Like the VoiceLP™ audio brochure, this 5” x 5” digital card lets you record and playback sound through a built-in speaker or by plugging headphones into an audio jack. There are also integral pushbuttons for ease of navigation. The VoiceLP™ digital card can store and playback two hours of content. Applications include podcast recordings and archived sales presentations.

When you purchase this audio card through Amazon Custom, the online configurator there prompts you to upload graphics for the front and back cover as well as the inside left and inside right portion of the card. Select a glossy or matte finish and order a pack of 50, 100, or 250 audio cards. When it’s time to add sound, upload your file-sharing link from Google Drive, Dropbox, or another on-line service. Finally, finish your order and apply any Amazon discounts that you may have.

The Best Online Configurators for the Best Audio-in-Print Products

Thank you for reading this article from Voice Express®, the leader in interactive, voice-enabled technologies. We hope you’ve enjoyed our written content and invite you to read these related articles about the power of voice for brands like yours.

Digital Audio Explodes as Consumers Crave Connection

Emotional Marketing for Amazon Storefronts

Same Day Delivery Loves Personalized Gifts

Customer Engagement After the Sale

Digital audio was the fastest-growing form of digital media in 2020. According to PQ Media, consumer spending on digital audio subscription services rose 40% and reached $30.98 billion worldwide. In the United States alone, podcasting grew 30% and reached more than 100 million listeners. Players like Spotify deserve some of the credit, but the popularity of non-music audio is greater than podcasting. Clubhouse, a social networking app that lets people gather in audio chat rooms, is currently enjoying explosive growth. To leverage these trends, brands need to understand what’s driving them.

COVID and Consumer Behavior

In a recent article, The Washington Post explained how podcasting and social chat are providing consumers with a way to “escape the monotony of pandemic life”. In the case of Clubhouse, listeners have also found “a way to socialize remotely”. Remote workers who spend their days on Zoom may enjoy high-tech features like animated filters, but it’s the low-tech sound of a human voice that provides a sense of emotional connection. Plus, unlike Zoom, Clubhouse is video-free. People can participate fully without being seen. There isn’t any social pressure to participate either.

In the case of podcasts, people who listen with earbuds often report feeling like they know the host. Along with a powerful sense of connection, podcast listeners gain insights from sources they trust and subjects they choose. Podcasts can also provide a substitute for “water cooler conversation”, especially when there’s some banter between guest and host. As a communications professional in Seattle explained, “I’m filling my time – what would usually be my human interactions – with a one-way listening stream of someone else’s human interactions.”

Podcasting and Social Audio

Perhaps the same is true for other forms of entertainment such as radio morning shows, TV sitcoms, and big-screen movies. And maybe that’s why The New York Times recently wondered whether Hollywood would help or hurt podcasting’s future. Yet, COVID-19 lockdowns have changed consumer behavior. Even as vaccines become increasingly available, 62% of the U.S. population age 12 and up now listens to podcasts every week. According to The Infinite Dial, a digital audio survey from Edison Research, these listeners are demographically diverse, too.

Clubhouse, an audio-based smartphone app, proves that the rise of digital audio is about more than the popularity of podcasting or the worst of the pandemic. According to Tech Crunch, Clubhouse topped 8 million global downloads in February 2021. In a 15-day period alone, the social audio channel more than doubled its number of downloads. Today, rivals include Dizhua, Tiya, and Yalla. Now Twitter is building an app for audio chat called Spaces, even as The Verge reports that Twitter could acquire Clubhouse itself.

LinkedIn is also getting into the act. As voicebot.ai reports, the social network for business professionals is testing an audio social feature so that members can interact in a way that is “authentic and engaging”, according to LinkedIn’s chief product officer. Meanwhile, voicebot.ai reports that Facebook is no longer the go-to brand for a majority of social media users. Today, just 47% of social media users say that Facebook is the platform they use most. That’s down from 62% in 2016 and 54% in 2019. Not surprisingly then, Facebook is now testing its own Clubhouse-like app.

What’s Next for Digital Audio?

Will the explosive growth of digital audio continue to create new habits and products? Voice Express, a leader in innovative ways to record and playback short-form audio content, recently launched VoiceLP™. If you’re old enough to remember compact discs (CDs), you’ll notice that this card-like device is about the size of a CD jewel case. VoiceLP™ is available on Amazon and can store and playback over two hours of audio in multiple tracks and is easy-to-program using a standard USB cable. It’s perfect for archiving your brand’s audio content (such as podcasts) so you can easily share it.

Thank you for engaging Voice Express and learning more about the power of voice. We also invite you to read these recent articles.

 

Physical photos like the ones in photo frames, scrapbooks and wedding albums are providing people with emotional support during COVID-19. According to a recent study by Fujifilm Instax, 60% of respondents in the United Kingdom are turning to physical photos instead of digital ones. The Dead Pixel Society, an on-line source of news and information for the photo industry, explains that 37% of the survey’s respondents cited a longing for “the good times” before the pandemic began. An even larger percentage (41%) said that COVID lockdowns have provided time for organizing keepsakes like physical photos.

Emotional Memory and Personal Resilience

Whether it’s to relieve memories or relieve social isolation, this embrace of physical photos is about more than “digital burnout”. These profound feelings of exhaustion, anxiety, and depression result from spending too much time on-line. They are also exacerbated by the pandemic. Dr. Emma Hepburn, a psychologist cited in The Dead Pixel Society article, explains that “research suggests that recalling positive personal memories can help elicit positive emotion” and foster personal resilience. “Having these memories in physical form,” she continues, “can help create positive feelings on a daily basis when we see them.”   

Digital images can help, too, but the results are notably different. According to Dr. Hepburn, 43% of adults reported that their mood improved simply by looking at a physical photo. By contrast, only 12% said the same about digital images. What explains this gap between the digital and physical worlds? Perhaps it’s because sight is only one of the five human senses. Sound, smell, taste, and touch also explain how the human body receives sensory information. This includes sensations that are linked to emotional memory.        

Physical Photo Albums and Voice Technology

David Frohlich, a professor of Interaction Design at the University of Surrey in Britain, studies applications for print and sound and has developed a sound-playing photobook. The former HP Labs research scientist also has a patent on a “smell camera” but is passionate about “audiophotographs” – physical photos that play back sound. In a 2016 interview with Graphic Arts Magazine, Frohlich described various techniques for audiophotography. “People don’t know that they want it,” he said, but “if they see it, they like it”.

Recent market research supports Frohlich’s claim. Earlier this month, Yahoo Finance reported that the global photo printing and merchandising market enjoyed a 7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2015 to 2020. Another study, reported in Business Wire, predicted that this market would register a 5% CAGR between 2020 and 2024. The market is fragmented but there is an opportunity for brands that can combine physical photos with voice technology. The secret is to evoke emotional memory in consumers.

Voice Recorders for Picture Frames and Photo Books

Yet, some of the audiophotography techniques that David Frohlich describes aren’t readily accessible. For example, consumers (and brands) may not have access to specialized printing techniques that can encode sounds on paper. What they can do, however, is as simple as using a Voice Express® Voice-Over® voice recorder to add sound to scrap books, wedding albums, and picture frames. These mini voice recorders let users capture customizable audio and then simply peel-and-stick for attachment.

Since 1997, Voice Express has produced over 60 million self-playing electronic media devices and been a leader in creating printed photos that support audio. We’ve launched successful pilot programs with Snapfish, a web-based photo sharing and photo printing service, and with Shutterlfy, a leading photography and photography products company.

This video shows Chad Munce of the Digital Imaging Association (DIMA) previewing a Voice Express audio-enhanced photo album that became a finalist in the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) Best of Photo Book Competition for 2010.T

This video shows how the Voice-Over® is recorded and applied to a standard photo frame.

Add the Power of Voice to Physical Photos

Thank you for engaging Voice Express. We enable brands and consumers to communicate in a direct, unmediated fashion through self-playing media. Visit our website to learn more about our voice-enabled technologies and how we help brands like Build-A-Bear Workshop, Sony Music, Johnson & Johnson, as well as many others. We also invite you to read these recent articles about the power of voice. 

Customer engagement after the sale can support brand discovery, drive future purchases, and improve the user experience. Brands that build ongoing relationships with consumers can also reduce the cost of customer acquisition. According to Digital Strategy Consulting, acquiring a new customer is five to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. Profitability is at stake, too. Market research in Forbes shows that raising customer retention rates by just 5% can boost profits by 25% to 95%. As brands look ahead to 2021, it’s worth considering these numbers and reflecting upon holiday gift giving.

Brand Discovery and Brand Affinity

During the winter holiday season, many gift recipients discover brands in the form of products they wouldn’t normally purchase. For example*, a wine lover who adores Italian Merlot may receive a Chilean vintage that’s especially appealing. This causes the wine drinker to begin buying bottles of Chilean Merlot during subsequent shopping trips. Yet, these new purchases aren’t of the same brand. The buyer raves about Chilean wines but lacks brand affinity – a preference for the specific brand of wine that was received as a holiday gift. This is a lost opportunity for the vintner as well as for her marketing agency.

Through customer engagement after the sale, consumers like wine buyers can become raving fans of brands – and not just proponents of broad categories of products. Consider the case of 19 Crimes, a brand of wine with labels that contain compelling pictures of long-deceased convicts. These labels aren’t just distinctive; they’re interactive. Buyers who download a smartphone app can scan bottles and listen to recorded versions of the criminals’ stories. Because there are different labels, there are different bottles with different tales. Some wine lovers even play party games with various bottles at events.

Toward a Customer Engagement Strategy   

Of course, not all buyers want technologies like this. Consider the example of an elderly grandparent who receives a new coffee maker for Christmas. The appliance has electronic features that appealed to a younger gift giver but that may frustrate the gift recipient. Providing smartphone-enabled instructions or a link to a YouTube video that requires an Internet connection wouldn’t do much here. What would help, however, is an interactive print media product that talks back to provide instruction.

 

Don't Want To Wait To Hear The Brochure? Try It Now!

 Turn Voice Off

This voice-enabled technology, an example of Connect™ after-sale engagement from Voice Express, doesn’t require a smartphone, an Internet connection, or a computer. With the example of our wine drinker, the power of voice could also increase customer engagement after the sale. If the gift our wine lover received came with a voice interactive brochure, the recipient might have learned why this brand of Chilean wine is distinctive. A smartphone app for wines may seem novel, but many other brands are now using this technique. To stand out from the crowd, brands will need to be different in 2021.

Increase Customer Engagement After the Sale

Whether you’re still unwrapping presents or polishing your branding strategy for 2021, Voice Express invites you to read these recent articles about voice-enabled technologies.

Thank you for engaging Voice Express, where we enable brands and consumers to communicate in a direct and unmediated fashion through self-playing media. If you’re looking for a way to provide a high-impact experience, we’re here to help. Contact Voice Express to get started.

*The featured image for this blog entry is a liquor delivery use case suggestion. The Drizly logo is shown as a suggested use case only, and does not imply an actual campaign or license with or from Drizly.

Direct marketing presents information about your company or product to a targeted group of potential buyers without the use of an intermediary. It’s different than mass marketing, which seeks to appeal to the largest number of people without regard to differences in demographics or consumer preferences. Direct marketing, or direct response marketing, also differs from approaches that rely on retailers or other third-parties to promote your company or product.

If you’re looking for a direct marketing definition or just wondering “what is direct marketing?”, it’s important to think about goals. Indirect marketing efforts such as press releases or online reviews seek to build awareness. By contrast, direct marketers seek to persuade the recipient of a communication to take a specific action. Examples include getting the recipient to visit a website, scan a QR code, send a text for product information, book an appointment, or share contact details.

Related Article: In-Store Audio Marketing for Sampling Music at the Point-of-Sale   

Direct Response Marketing and the Buyer’s Journey

In any marketing campaign, getting the sale remains the ultimate goal. However, direct marketers understand that potential buyers might not be ready to make an immediate purchase. For example, even in a hot real estate market, most home buyers won’t purchase a property sight unseen. Instead, buyers may read a listing, view pictures, participate in an open house, ask the realtor for a private showing, and research the local schools and tax rate.

Similarly, a doctor who hears about a new medication is unlikely to prescribe it without examining the indications and speaking with a pharmaceutical company representative. Regardless of the industry, direct response marketing aims to start the buyer’s journey. In particular, by compelling the recipient to take a specific action. Based on information gathered about the recipient, such as demographic or occupational information, there’s also a greater likelihood of interest in the message.

direct mail

Figure 1: Connect Brochure for Pharma – designed by Structural Graphics

Direct Mail: Then and Now

If you’re looking for some direct marketing examples, start with direct mail marketing. Whether it’s a glossy printed piece or an interactive brochure with audio or video, direct mail supports personalization. For example, a nationwide real estate company can send different listings to house hunters in Portland, Maine and Portland, Oregon. By determining the respective response rates, marketers can also calculate the return on investment (ROI) for each campaign.

Traditionally, direct marketers have snail mailed printed pieces such as brochures, catalogs, fliers, post cards, and coupons. Today, many marketers send email or pay for targeted on-line display ads instead. Phone calls and text messages are also popular. Yet, there are disadvantages to these methods. For example, email marketers and telemarketers are both subject to increasing regulations. It’s also harder to gain a recipient’s attention when so many marketers are all using the same techniques. 

interactive print media

Figure 2: No need for an app, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth connection

The Future of Direct Marketing

Interactive print media (IPM) provides a powerful way to capture and hold a potential customer’s attention. Direct marketers who send IPM products such as voice activated brochures can inform and engage target audiences while prompting the recipients of a message  to take a specific action. By pressing a button, turning a page, or opening a panel, a user can play a personalized audio or video message that’s powered by an internal battery and that doesn’t depend on an external device or an on-line connection.

Voice Express Connect™, the future of direct mail, is also the future of direct response marketing. To learn more about this state-of-the-art technology, contact us.

Audio detailing is a form of alternative marketing with demonstrated applications in the pharmaceutical industry. By using Voice Express Connect™, marketers can reach target audiences on behalf of sales representatives who are struggling to get meetings. In the past, audio chip technology transformed pharmaceutical industry marketing in a way that surpassed even Internet-enabled technologies. As today’s marketers struggle for attention, this case study provides lessons for the age of COVID-19.

The Demise of Detailing

Sales representatives from pharmaceutical companies have always wanted to visit physicians in their offices to present product information. Known as detailing, these meetings were not designed to sell a product directly. Instead, the purpose was to provide doctors with enough information so that they will prescribe a product to patients. Mini-detailing, as this process was known, involved explaining how a drug works and sharing indications and safety information. This typically occurred in conjunction with printed material.

Business, regulatory, as well as technology changes disrupted the detailing model. Pharmaceutical companies have large sales forces, but time-strapped physicians don’t have time to meet with them. Regulations under the Physicians Payment Sunshine Act ban giving gifts to doctors in exchange for viewing product information. Pharmaceutical marketers learned how to reach physicians through the Internet, but early e-detailing efforts faced obstacles. Doctors needed to be in front of a computer, and dial-up speeds were painfully slow.

Internet speeds have improved and computers are now commonplace, but e-detailing has also lost some of its appeal. Today, many pharma companies still want doctors to go on-line and participate in interactive presentations. There’s little that’s novel about this, and salespeople who can no longer provide physicians with anything of value or sponsor a meal, outing or conference struggle to gain a busy physician’s attention. Audio detailing, a form of alternative marketing, enables pharma as well as other types of companies to communicate through voice in a direct and unmediated fashion.

Related Article: In-Store Audio Marketing for Sampling Music at the Point-of-Sale 

From E-Detailing to Audio Detailing

Dan Steel is an e-detailing pioneer who understood these challenges and seized an alternative marketing opportunity. Steel wanted his employer, Advanstar Communications, to cut through the noise created by an overload of digital communications and competing digital platforms. As a business-to-business publishing and marketing services company, Advanstar worked with pharma marketers who enjoyed strong relationships with the product managers. Especially those who wanted to help salespeople earn more appointments.

Steel contacted Geoffrey Stern, the founder and CEO of Voice Express, and asked if the Connecticut-based company could create an audio card with five minutes of voice content. Together, they developed an audio brochure with a red button as well as a bold title: “Introducing the button that’s worth 1000 words”. Doctors who pressed this button could listen to product information immediately and also without having to connect to the Internet or take any other action. This became the first of several successful projects.

(Click any image below to hear audio. Click again to pause.)


Audio Detail Cards

Steel’s boss, the Vice President of Marketing and Sales, remained skeptical. In addition, some product managers complained that the audio brochure seemed like a kids’ toy. However, the data that Steel gathered proved that most doctors were pressing the button and listening to the message. Since its inception, close to half a million Audio Detail cards were mailed or inserted into medical trade magazines. Finally, the benefits were clear. Doctors were listening to the messaging, reading the fine print on the inserts, as well as ultimately writing more scripts.

In addition, the Audio Detail engaged its target audience in a way that traditional direct mail and cutting-edge e-detailing could not. Brands such as Levaquin even ran multiple Audio Detail campaigns that increased interaction with the health care provider (HCP) and included a Fax Back card. For example, one notable campaign included an interactive quiz.

Click the links to hear the answers (click again to pause):
Question 1  |  Question 2  | Question 3

Audio Detailing and the Age of COVID-19

Today, salespeople in many industries are struggling to connect with prospective clients simply because they can’t visit them. Also, Zoom calls and video presentations that seemed novel at the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic now serves commonplace and a necessity. Especially since most marketers use the same techniques to appeal to audiences who are already overloaded on-line. Like Dan Steel, however, you can cut through the noise with Voice Express technology. Contact us to learn more.

Fairfield, CT, November 19, 2017 – Voice Express Corp. introduced Voice Express Connect; the first self-playing print brochure with built-in speech recognition.

Voice Express has been at the forefront of providing self-playing media products in the toy, packaging, display and marketing spaces.  For direct-mail and trade magazine publishers, Voice Express has produced printed audio and video brochures which enabled brands to deliver self-playing audio and video to targeted audiences such as Doctors and Financial advisers.  With Voice Express Connect, such printed cards will not only play media when they are opened but will also “listen” for spoken prompts and play media personalized to the interests and needs of the recipient.

Unlike audio and video cards of the past, the media contained on these brochures is not limited by a finite number of PLAY buttons or mediated by a cumbersome interface using Fast-Forward or Next to navigate. Voice Express Connect can store and play-back a limitless amount of media covering diverse subjects and addressing a multiplicity of interests. The only tool necessary to access relevant content is the user’s own voice.

“Amazon Alexa and Google Home have forever changed user expectations and are found in more and more homes because of the way they engage consumers. Now Voice Express Connect will become the optimal way for brands to engage high-value prospects and re-connect with existing customers.” said Geoffrey Stern, CEO and Founder of Voice Express.  “Speech is the most direct form of communication and the most natural interface.  With Voice Express Connect, brands will be able to deliver their media message and at the same time listen to users and provide information personalized to their interests.”

Voice Express Connect™ is perfect for brands wishing to engage with upper management and other high value prospects that are hard to reach through traditional media, e-mail, social media or text.

For media inquires or to create a Voice Express Connect™ campaign contact info@voice-express.com