Have Packaging Designers been left out of the digital marketing revolution?

Spend any substantive amount of time in ad agency’s, web dev firms or media companies and you will recognize the close knit relationship they have with “digital”. Mobile, social campaigns, apps, SEO and talk of programmatic media buying, even Slack are all the latest in terms of marketing innovation, collaboration and opportunity.

Visit any of those types of marketing services companies and you will find a frenetic energy level, young faces and high turnover, maybe a Foosball table or a Kegerator. The nature of the marketing discipline dictates the nature of the agency’s culture. To paint with a broad brush, Digital skews young.

You don’t hear much talk in terms of digital packaging innovation, beyond maybe an elaborately shaped 3D can. To the Packaging Designer, It seems that Digital (still the shiny new thing) has captured our client’s attention, almost completely.

Honestly, not only has the Digital marketing monster captured our client’s attention and affection, its also captured a good percentage of their marketing budget.

Packaging Design for the most part has gotten a little overshadowed by all of the sexy digital tactics, techniques and channels at the brand marketer’s disposal. If a packaging design firm has stayed close to its specialty, chances are, in terms of culture it’s a little quieter, a little more senior, a little more studied and very purposeful – there isn’t very much freewheeling in Packaging Design. Packaging design for the most part is the art and science of subtlety, study and nuance.

So how do Packaging Designers get to participate in the ongoing digital marketing revolution? Technology does exist, chipsets and active sensor tags may be readily available and the technology vetted, but the cost is prohibitive for supermarket/consumer packaged goods at this time. QR codes were a failure, for the most part.

That can’t be the limit to digital technologies contribution to packaging design, applying a device or thing to a container structure… can it?

So, what’s a packaging designer to do?

We live where decisions are made – at POS

The widely quoted statistic “70 percent of shopper purchase decisions are made in store” is not very insightful. What brand marketers need is to understand the different types of decisions shoppers make in store, and then be able to leverage those insights that help them develop smarter and more targeted communications to activate their brands in store, on shelf.

We know that many purchasing decisions are made while the consumer is shopping the category, so the questions begs, how do we stop them in aisle and get them to shake hands with our brand? Personalization has been shown to work. Leveraging the capability of digital technology, we have personalized Coke products with first names, delivered courtesy of Intervino, (the company that manages these personalization campaigns).

The future of digital packaging?

But is having our name on a can of Coke a parlor trick or the full extent of digital integration in terms of packaging? What new technologies are in development that will allow a package to interact with the digital channels marketers have already embraced? More to the point and of greater interest, how will we use these technologies to not only sell and personalize product, but to make the consumers life easier.

As brands look to personalize and differentiate, no doubt, we will some day enjoy products designed specifically for us individually.

But for now, its pretty cool to have your name on a Coke bottle, no?