I (virtually) met Scott Manduck of Video Plus Print a year or so ago. I was exploring the prospect of using video brochures in a campaign. He noticed my interest and sent me a LinkedIn message. We kept in touch and recently I received an email from his company that included a video of a new product that combines print, video, and a hologram effect. I thought it was cool and I wanted to share it with our integrated marketing community. I gave Scott a call and he agreed to join me for the interview presented below. A condensed version of this interview appears on Print Media Centr and was published in News From The Printerverse.
Andy: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Before we get into holograms and print, can you tell us a little about yourself and your role at Video Plus Print?
Scott: I've been in the printing industry for over twenty years. I have worked with many clients in Canada and across the US over the years when it comes to digital, variable print, offset and web printing. I have worked with many clients big and small and have had the opportunity to work very closely and do a lot of the printing and direct mail for clients like Google, Canadian Tire, Sporting Life, Nike, etc.
When I became involved in adding video screens into custom printed products six years ago, I was amazed that you could even add video screens into print! It seemed impossible and almost dreamlike, and I said to myself, “we can't be there yet.” I didn't think this would be real or even possible in my lifetime, so I was getting a bit excited to say the least.
When I did my first project with Google, I said to myself that this is the “next big thing” in print without a question. This is the new way of marketing and standing out in the crowded mailbox, or of even just getting into a meeting.
At the time, six years ago, YouTube was the biggest video platform in the world. Smartphones were just getting started and with the iPhone coming out I was thinking about the possibilities of this new industry: “if everyone has all these cool smartphones and the video on these smartphones is going to be equivalent to DSLR cameras,” I said to myself “this is going to go viral.” We would have the digital world meet the print world with a portable medium that will change the way people print and market forever.
I had to get myself in a position and partner with somebody that was doing this sort of thing, and quick! In 2012 I started searching around for direct manufacturers of this product and had a very hard time finding the right fit. I was looking for someone that could relate to the North American on-demand mind set and understood quality and customer service just as much as I did. I finally came across Vijay Mahbubani, who is the Founder and CEO of Video Plus Print since 2009, and is based in Hong Kong with his factory located in China. It took me almost a year to find my partner Vijay who is now a close friend. Since then we have grown many different locations and added our newest partner Hussain Manjee to VPP USA in 2016. Hussain has many years of experience with video brochures and runs the video production side of the business out of our Dallas office and has been an amazing addition to the team.
Together over the past few years we have grown the VPP Global Team to what it is today. We now have some amazing people running each division, which has made our team that much stronger worldwide.
My background is in printing, sales, direct mail, offset, and web-to-print, plus Vijay’s digital marketing skills, attention to detail on the production side in addition to non-stop innovation of new concepts and systems, helps VPP grow rapidly. Now you add Hussain’s award winning experience in the video production world and his unparalleled customer service, all this has created this un-stoppable force pushing Video Plus Print as a one stop shop company multi-sensory communication tools.
In my role, I am the North American Director and partner of Video Plus Print and I am based out of the Canadian office. Vijay plays the role of our Global CEO and is based out of Hong Kong office, while Hussain, who is based out of our Dallas, Texas office, plays the role of VPP USA managing partner.
Hussain came into the picture about a year ago and has played a large role in helping us grow the VPP-USA division. Before Hussain, Vijay and I focused on growing this global platform and have offices around the world to help better serve our clients in each of the local time zones. Customer service is one of our key ingredients to growing our brand and keeping our clients happy.
Video Plus Print is your Award Winning global technology partner & manufacturer of Video Brochures, Video Books, Video Business Cards, Custom Video Packaging, Multi-sensory Products, Solar Vibration, In Store Displays, Wi-Fi Video Books, Phone in Print (Ring-a-Print), 360-degree Video Brochures, Hologram Video Brochures and a Full Video Production & Motion Graphics team (in our Dallas office).
A great example of multi-sensory in print at its best is an order we did for IBM. They wanted to add pages into a video brochure, however be able to turn the page and still watch the video at the same time. Video Plus Print came up with this concept that will have a min brochure down the bottom and while you turn each page the video above will change at the same time. This makes this book super engaging as it creates an interaction with the user experience that is unforgettable.
Another eye catching campaign we worked on was for the new LAFC stadium being built. This was a beyond high profile project and turned out to be a huge success with the LAFC management team.
Holo-Print is one of our latest products just launched in the market place. We came up with this concept for Mazda and Ford, and while we were waiting to hear back, we launched the product to all our divisions to continue the excitement. We ended up sending out a large email campaign to our customers and prospective customers, and this is the one that you received and started this conversation. It's sparked a huge craze for this product because it is so unique and different.
Most people go crazy over a standard video brochure as it is still only 7 years young in the industry, but now when you add a very old school pyramid (hologram effect) with our video brochure it brings the excitement and engagement to a whole new level. You should keep in mind that this is a reflection of 4 videos into the pyramid which gives the effect of the hologram. You can do some pretty cool and amazing things with video these days that is for sure.
Andy: The video definitely caught my attention. Can you tell me a little bit about what we're seeing in the video? How does this work, for anyone unfamiliar with this technology?
Scott: Hologram has been around for a very long time as we know and there are a few forms of hologram in the movie industry. What we have is a hologram prism or a pyramid cone we place in the middle of our 7” or 10” HD screen, which reflects the video that has been split into 4 sections of the screen.
If you take a piece of paper, and draw a big cross on it, you'll have a video in the top left corner, the top right corner, bottom right corner, bottom left corner, and when you put the cone in the middle of this, the cone is going to take all four of those videos and give you a three-dimensional hologram of that video in the middle of the prism.
Andy: How could the technology be used? What are some of the applications?
Scott: The “Video Marketing” industry has been growing “beyond quickly” over the past 2-3 years. Look at Facebook – it announced that people watch over 100 million hours of video a day. This is just the start for Video Plus Print products and our industry as people are trying to stand out and do something different. Therefore, Video Plus Print has grown to what it is today and will continue, in my mind, to be at the forefront of innovative technologies in print.
Andy: I can imagine. I'm constantly getting a notification that so and so is "live."
Scott: If you look at the video content on Facebook and YouTube combined, 70% of those videos are from a smartphone device. Along with these smartphone devices, you can buy tripods and all that sort of stuff to use with these devices.
Look at CNN: CNN live. As they covered Hurricane Matthew, they are publishing video being taken from an iPhone live to air now.
When people get one of our Video Plus Print products, and it could be as simple as an 8.5”x 5.5” size brochure with a 7” LCD video screen in side, they think it is just a typical printed brochure. But, they feel a little bit of weight to it and realize it’s not the standard weight of a brochure. They open the front cover and the video automatically starts to play. They are beyond blown away that someone has sent them or gave them a custom printed brochure and it has an LCD screen built into it.
One of our clients sent out 500 video brochures, and I did our typical follow up to see how things were going and the response kind of blew me away to be honest. The customer’s response was mind blowing as they were hearing from people that had nothing to do with the list they sent these 500 video brochures out to.
It took me a minute to figure out that many of the people were sharing the video brochure with other people they know in the industry and they were following up. So, if you think about it, the ROI on 500 brochures is not based on 500 its much larger than that, and now people are saying 6-8 people are seeing the brochure. So, you can bet that on a 500 pieces’ deployment you will have over 3,000 people engaged in your product or company video brochure. This is a huge statement as you will NEVER get a response like this with any kind of typical printed product.
It's working well for our customers and the repeat orders are growing every month and year. The customer may order 100, then a few months later it will grow to 500, then they'll order 1000. A repeat order is the best compliment we can get as this shows the product is working and they are making more money with them.
Andy: Let's talk about the future. Where is the technology going? What should marketers have on their radar for 2017 and beyond?
Scott: The technology is changing so quickly. We have lots of tech that people don’t even know is available yet like 360 video in print. 360 video is probably the fastest growing thing; you just go to YouTube and type in "360 video" the first video you'll see is a 360 video someone recorded on a roller coaster ride. So, imagine a video brochure, where you can scroll with your finger, just like on an iPhone, and you're pushing from left to right and right to left, you'll be zooming around with the video and you can see your face reactions or you can even pretend you are going down the rollercoaster again.
Andy: 360 video on a printed piece? Wow.
Scott: That is the typical response which gets me all excited as that means our product is working. Imagine what your customer would say when they get something like this!
Scott: This is the sort of stuff and conversations that keeps on pushing us and pushing different technology and presenting new ideas and concepts to our customers.
Scott: Do you read magazines, what kind of magazines?
Andy: Of course, I read magazines. Let's see, I read Ebony, oh and Wired.
Scott: Wired that's a good example - because it has so much technology in it. Picture a publication that goes out and it has sponsors: Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, etc. We add an LCD video screen right into the magazine which is also safe to mail across North America. How cool would it be to get a magazine with an LCD screen in the middle of it and it is plays a commercial of any brand you want in addition to editorial content that narrates a story in written text and video? Print is changing; it’s not dead.
Andy: What questions would you suggest a marketer ask before they start working with a provider of technology like this?
Scott: The biggest piece of advice I would give is to deal with the direct manufacturer of this product who has a vast understanding of print and electronics. There is a lot that goes into making one of these amazing products and you need to make them safe for the end customer, such as the quality of batteries, screens, chipset and adhesive. There are many smaller “resellers” and other people saying they are manufacturers of this product in the market place today, and as I always tell people “if you can buy the same product cheaper from someone who is not a direct manufacturer, think twice about what kind of electronics you are getting!”
Andy: What's the benefit of dealing with a manufacturer as opposed to a reseller?
Scott: Most resellers don't know enough about the product or the industry for starters and they see this as a get rich quick product. You must remember we are dealing with electronics; you need to know what you are doing to ensure these are safe. You need to buy from someone that has been around for a while and ask around to friends, family and co-workers in the industry. Video Plus Print is very well known with all large and small companies globally and have many references around the world that we love to share.
I use this example all the time and when I say it I call it the "Mike Holmes theory"; he's that construction guy on HGTV. The walls in your house on the outside look great and the paint looks great. But it's what’s on the other side of that wall that makes your house what it is - like the electrical, the plumbing, and all that sort of stuff.
If you're a reseller, you'll never know how many hands have touched that product. And if you're a reseller, I would guess at least three to four different suppliers are touching that product before it gets to you which makes it really hard to manage the quality of the end product, such as motherboard, software, printing, and assembly. At Video Plus Print we design our own motherboards, create our own software, have an in-house assembly team. We have complete and direct control of every aspect of our product.
We focus 100% on multi-sensory in print and what most people call “video brochures.” Many customers say “call Scott- they add cool functionality to printed products and packaging - they will make it happen for you”. This is the best part of our job; we love making magic for our clients.
Andy: Anything else you want to share?
Scott: Let’s talk about the price. People usually say “this is the coolest thing I've ever seen. This must be really, really expensive.” And I usually answer that question by saying "well what is expensive?" If you spend fifty dollars, or a hundred dollars, or a thousand dollars on something, it doesn't matter what that something is, and you get a five-thousand-dollar return on that product, was that fifty, hundred, or a thousand dollars expensive?
Andy: That makes sense, so what is the price range?
Scott: The product price range could be from $15-$70 for the most of our popular products. However, if you spend $5,000 to buy 100 video brochures, but you get $50,000 worth of business was the $5,000 investment worth it? Of course! Because the return on investment is fantastic. We have received testimonials from an agency that have bought 100 video brochures and in return they generated sales worth $670 million!
We provide the platform / tools for our clients, however the quality of the content plays a big role.
The question that always comes up is "well, I'm not sure if this will work? “ That question comes up in ten out of twenty calls, and what I always suggest is test it out. Test it with a hundred pieces. Don't test it with five thousand or ten thousand pieces. We try and build a long-term relationship with all our customers and it has been a great journey since 2010 for me.
The biggest cost drivers are screen size and quantity. We have many different screen sizes and they start at 2.4 inch, 3 inch, 4.3 inch, 5 inch, 7 inch, 9 inch and 10 inch which fit into many different size printed products. The most popular sizes are 2.4 inch, 4.3 inch and 7 inch screens. We do have some minimums on some of our products and they would start at a quantity of 50 and 100 units.
Andy: What's the best way for people to learn more about what you do and how you can help them?
Scott: You can email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org or my direct line 647-402-9025. You can also check out our website: www.videoplusprint.com or call our Dallas Office at 214-932-4030. And please be sure to connect with me on LinkedIn.
Andy: Thank you, Scott.