Will Linear Marketing Die in 2010?

Filed Under Mindjet

Michael Deutch

July 22, 2009

Why do firms continue to create linear marketing collaterals?

What would it be like if web sites always forced you into a predefined path? It would be pretty lousy, no? So, why should the rest of your marketing materials do so?  

Recently, I’ve started to see some new examples of interactive PDF files being leveraged by organizations and individuals for marketing purposes. This caught my eye as Mindjet offers its own version of interactive PDF files.

MindManager, if you’re new to the blog, is about working individually or collaborating with teams to work with ideas, information, and others in a non-linear fashion. When we launched MindManager 8, it included the ability to save your work in an interactive Adobe PDF file or Flash file which can be emailed or embedded into websites and blogs. This capability, called the Mindjet Player, makes it easier to share information with others in a dynamic, non-linear format. 


Interactive Marketing Collaterals

Marketing with dynamic PDF files dramatically improves the user experience. I’ve seen it used to enhance navigation and the overall experience. Scrolling down a multi-page brochure is tedious when you could have just clicked into a section more meaningful immediately.

Most hardware & some software vendors take this into serious consideration before releasing products. What if Apple decided to make the iPod play songs in the same, linear order every time you wanted to listen to music? It’s obvious that the iPod would not have been successful. Instead, they provided easy ways to find and listen to songs that will inspire you in the moment.

Isn’t it time that marketing took a similar approach?

Here are a few examples of portable interactive marketing collaterals that could be viewed, perhaps used or experienced are better terms, in a browser or via Adobe’s Reader. 


HP’s Interactive Brochure

HP, with the help of XPLANE, launched a campaign that used an interactive PDF file to create excitement around its next generation server, the ProLiant G6. Working with XPLANE to visualize their story in this interactive format, they were able complex and technical messaging and transform it into easy to understand and engaging pieces to be incorporated throughout their marketing deliverables. 

View HP’s Interactive PDF


A Great Day for Freedom

"And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon."

Are you a fan of the Dark Side of the Moon? It’s the third most successful album of all time! David Gilmour was a major factor in its success through his distinctive song writing and guitar playing. Here’s a glimpse of David’s more recent work of art, an interactive PDF which includes photos, audio, and images of "A Great Day for Freedom" from ‘Live in Gdansk’.

View David Gilmore’s Interactive PDF


The Business Week 2009 Conference

Here’s a very basic example where navigation has been added into a brochure to let you jump around and explore what’s happening at this event.

View Interactive Event Brochure


Signs of a More Dynamic Future

These examples are transforming what used to be linear documents into interactive experiences. Viewers navigate to the information they desire to see and use without having to wade through unnecessary content.

What kind of experience are you trying to create with your brand?

It’s time to break from the limited linear past and move into an expanding dynamic future.

Share your thoughts below. Technology fad or marketing trend of the future?

3 Responses to “Will Linear Marketing Die in 2010?”

  1. Michael Deutch

    Cliff – that’s a real challenge, isn’t it. Building a design to accommodate the different types of users. The more an organization understands its users, the easier the design process becomes.

  2. Cliff Allen

    Some people (like me) really like highly interactive Web sites because it allows them to create their own path through the buffet of information available for them.

    However, I’ve been surprised at how few users take advantage of highly interactive and personalized Web sites. Many times users ask that a site allow then to just choose a path that they can follow through the information.

    This makes it a real challenge to design interactive Web sites (and interaction PDFs) so both types of users can benefit.

    I’m using mind maps to show marketing teams how to turn their marketing strategy into day-to-day marketing plans and projects. I’m hopeful that the interactivity of mind maps can help all types of people on a marketing team understand each other so they improve how they collaborate and manage projects.

  3. Catherine Franz

    What a fantastic idea. I can’t think of how to do this as PDF file, but I know how to set it up on a web site using tables and graphics.