The most powerful platform is the product

BRAND marketers may be sitting on the most valuable owned-media channel they could hope for – the product itself. The pack is usually left out of the traditional marketing &/or promotion mix.

But to turn a product from a static, lifeless one-way piece of communication to a dynamic & powerful content delivery tool and you get magic, consumer engagement, new data and you can unlock multiple opportunities through the pack – Hirt & Carter Digital Solutions has the answer, thanks to a powerful partnership with EVRYTHNG and its Product Cloud™.

With EVRYTHNG, a global pathfinder in the product-based Internet of Things, powering our Smartcode™ solution we are able to open a new world of consumer engagement for marketers wanting a cost-effective, owned-media channel with great return on investment.

In a nutshell, the Smartcode™ is represented on packaging by a QR code, RFD tag or other on-pack identifier which then triggers content-driven campaigns or data collection when scanned by a smart device, whether it be a scanner or a mobile phone.

But this is not a static code. The power behind the Smartcode™ is its’ contextual awareness.

For example, if scanned by a consumer in a store context the Smartcode™ might serve an on-the-fly voucher while the same scan action back at the consumer’s home might offer up a recipe idea. Should the scan happen in summer or winter, even that recipe offering might be seasonally appropriate.

Because the product is smart, so is the content – and with great content comes great engagement which few, if any other traditional digital channels can hope to offer as such a cost-effective option for brands.

For some these technologies might sound like something from the far future, but remember what we used to think about the roadmap for e-commerce take-up in South Africa? And then the pandemic happened, changing everything almost overnight. People started changing shopping behaviour.

Thanks to watershed moments like the pandemic, technology once on the horizon is now moving rapidly into the mainstream and HCDS’s exclusive sub-Saharan offering can match, and arguably beat, anything available elsewhere on the planet.

To highlight the growth in this area we need only look to a December 2020 study ( “Smart Packaging Market by Packaging Technology”, by Meticulous Market Research. That study estimated that the global smart packaging market was expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% from 2020 to 2027 to reach $43.6 billion by 2027.

The researchers cite significant trends powering such growth like changes in consumer lifestyles and advanced packaging demands from industries like food and pharmaceuticals.

The rapid shift in consumer trends, most notably in the explosion of eCommerce and home delivery creates challenges and opportunities for those who are nimble enough to respond.

This is where Smartcode™ steps up to the plate, unlocking a strategic option for brand marketers which were never really available before.

Active packaging as a digital marketing platform outperforms almost any other competitor. EVRYTHNG data shows:

Scan rates of between 3-10%,
Over a minute dwell time on destination content,
Some 30-40% of scans leading to another action, and;
Between 25-50% registration rates on consumer engagement campaigns.
The consequence is a platform with an unrivalled ability to collect and capture invaluable “gold standard” first-party data.

Data from ( updated July 2020 show the average conversion rate across the Google Ads network was 4.4% and as low as 0.57% in Google display advertising. The average cost per conversion, according to the Wordstream data, was $56.11 across the Google Ads network and as high as $90.80 on the Google display network.

Data from EVRYTHNG case studies shows the product-as-platform can perform significantly better like, in one case, a soft drink manufacturer who recorded a 12% sales lift versus previous years using a smart pack promotion compared to more traditional campaigns.

In another case, a food manufacturer using the pack as a platform recorded a 36% sales lift.

The beauty of Smartcode™ – powered products is that they enable marketers to unleash engagement campaigns perfectly targeted on an owned-media platform.

Since consumer engagement campaigns activate for customers with the product in hand there are few redundant, low-quality actions as the context suggests that audience is already receptive to brand messaging, an outcome which the EVRYTHING engagement data would appear to reinforce.

It’s logical. As Google search advertising outperforms display by tapping into consumer intent and performs at multiples better than display advertising, so too does a Smartcode™ – enabled product.

Thus engagement can focus on high-value outcomes like building loyalty, repeat purchases, more targeted future engagements and trust – all of which flow straight to the bottom line.