Interactive Marketing: New rules, better results

8 minutes
Written by: Natalia De la Peña Frade
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Before the advent of the internet, the most interactive components companies offered were the suggestion boxes and the scratch-to-win cards sold at gas stations.

In the online world, the possibilities for interactive marketing are multiplied, bringing benefits for both brands and individuals. And the more communication flows, the better. This is true for everything in life, as well as for marketing. Want to know more about this type of marketing? Let’s go!

What is interactive marketing?

It is the marketing strategy that is based on two-way communication between brands and their audience. It consists of taking actions to collect public opinions and preferences and using them to make decisions that enhance the relationship and improve marketing effectiveness.

When a brand does interactive marketing, they stop pursuing the audience by trying to impact them with their message, and instead move on to listening to their audience, opening up direct communication channels and paying attention to what they say. The famous ‘active listening’ we always speak of.

These actions, although unthinkable a few years ago, are now possible thanks to the internet and online tools. Never have brands had so much information about their audience available to them.

Interaction marketing enables companies to monitor their audience’s reactions, record them in a database, make decisions from this behavior, and execute them in real time through their campaigns. You can even automate the process and record each result so you can evaluate the success of the campaign and optimize it.

Interactive Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

In traditional marketing, the audience receives the brand’s impact without looking for it, without doing anything to make it happen. The most typical example is television advertisements, or telephone calls we receive from unknown companies.

This type of advertising is sometimes quite intrusive. Many traditional marketing actions disrupt our lives with information that we have not requested, which we do not think is relevant. And this works worse and worse, because consumers no longer want to be convinced to buy a particular product or service: They want to know, decide and comment on what they have consumed.

Interactive marketing is activated in response to the audience’s actions, our actions. Any marketing strategy designed to be activated from action taken by the audience is interactive marketing.

Perhaps the best known strategy for this type of marketing is search engine marketing.

For example, you go to Google and search for: “Galician seafood” Google gives you a series of results. These results, whether organic or paid ads, are part of an interaction marketing strategy. Want to see Galician seafood? Okay, here are two hundred thousand results that seafood companies have prepared for you.

And then you enter a website that attracts you, and you start interacting with the site, clicking to find more products and offers that interest you. Ooh, Galician seafood delivered to your home! Wonderful. And a bottle of wine is provided! Awesome, you make the purchase.

How did you get there? Why did you find that page? Because you searched. You have arrived there as a result of your actions. Don’t feel guilty: I would have done the same! (poor VISA).

But let’s go further: Being there is a result of the interaction marketing strategy of the company you just bought the seafood from. In this case, they have prepared a content creation strategy to respond to searches like yours and an SEO strategy to position their page ahead of the competition. They have created a website that you can interact with, reviewing the information they offer you and completing a purchase.

One way to complete your interactive marketing strategy might be to give the option of sharing your experience on social media or giving feedback, or monitoring reactions to draw conclusions that allow them to get to know you and improve your offerings.

Much, much more effective

Now imagine the seafood company putting an ad on a bus stop in your city.

Most people who pass through there won’t even see the ad. Some people will see it, but they will not pay attention to it, because at that moment they’re in a hurry or thinking about something else.

What percentage of people who see the ad on the bus stop do you think they will buy seafood? Clearly, a much smaller percentage than the people who find the brand content because they are looking for it. We are so saturated with information that we no longer react to most stimuli. It’s as simple as we don’t want to be bombarded with information: We want to choose what we see.

In essence, interactive marketing works the opposite of how traditional marketing does: It is not the brand that speaks, but the audience. The brand needs to listen to its audience to learn the best way to respond to their needs, and they should invite their audience to participate with their opinions and feedback whenever possible. This makes the audience feel that they are part of the brand.

The public questions, asks, or proposes, and the brand answers. Pure two-way communication. This communication not only allows you to customize your content and campaigns. In addition, the relationship between the brand and the public is improved, enhancing engagement and brand loyalty. And this translates into better results.

What types of interaction marketing exist?

Sounds wonderful, right? But you’re probably wondering, how is this done? Let’s see some actions to take and ways to do interactive marketing:

Use interactive content

What could be better for interactive marketing than interactive content?

This type of content is very powerful in capturing the attention of the audience, getting engaged and improving their experience. The best interactive content includes different formats such as video, audio, GIFs, etc. and is extremely attractive to the audience you are targeting.

With Genially, you can create interactive content easily without programming knowledge. In a genially, you can integrate any content format, and you can add different types of animations to make it more dynamic.

When collecting feedback from your audience, it is best to use a survey or questionnaire. A great tool for this is Typeform, which allows you to create very attractive forms. Typeform integrates with Genially, allowing you to combine the qualities of both tools and take your quizzes to another level – you’re sure to get engagement.

There are many other interactive content formats that can engage your audience. For example, an interactive infographic will enhance the appeal of any post on your blog, giving your audience the option of having fun interacting, which will improve your content marketing.

Interactivity also allows you to offer information in layers, which will appear in response to the interest of the public. Look at this infographic:

In this way, interactivity allows every person who sees the infographic to get as detailed of information as they want. Through interactivity, it is possible to make detailed content appear only to the interested audience.

By studying feedback from people who consume our products or services.

This can be done in different ways, such as preparing surveys and questionnaires, conversationally on social media or even through direct contact at points of sale.

Note: Asking for feedback is not interactive marketing. It is interactive when feedback is generated and that feedback is used to make business decisions.

The ‘Lego Ideas’ program is an example and a case study of this practice. Did you know that anyone can contribute their ideas to create new models of Lego toys? The community itself helps to select these ideas with their votes. LEGO puts ideas that receive more than 10,000 votes from the community into action.

Thanks to this initiative, Lego empowers its audience by giving them a voice and a vote on important decisions about its products. This action allows the company to know the tastes and preferences of its potential audience without having to invest in expensive market research.

Offer personalized content

In this case, when the audience expresses a taste or preference, the brand reacts by offering content according to those tastes. The best known examples of this type of interaction marketing are custom emails or custom suggestions.

For example, by considering a person’s purchase or browsing history, you can send them an email with an offer that is irresistible to them. You can even automate these actions.

Aim for bi-directional interaction, the ultimate exponent of interactive marketing

It is about ensuring that the flow of communication between brands and the audience is not interrupted, but that it continues to feed back continuously.

A good place to talk to your audience is social media. These channels allow anyone to express their opinions or complaints about a brand, either directly or indirectly. This information is pure gold for a brand, so it is very important to listen and respond to these conversations.

Another example of bidirectional interaction is chatbots, which are increasingly sophisticated. Thanks to them, it is possible to offer highly personalized conversational experiences to anyone who visits your website at very low cost. Did you know that you can create auto-response chatbots without knowing any code? You can do this with Landbot, a tool that will surprise you with its ease of use.

How to make an interactive marketing plan

Interactive marketing is an approach, something to integrate into marketing. Rather than talking about an interactive marketing plan, the idea is to enrich the marketing function by incorporating actions of this kind, that is, to make marketing interactive. The benefits will come from changing the focus so that the company’s actions and decisions are more and more relevant to the audience.

The key is in this sequence, which can be integrated into the outline of any marketing plan:

  • Knowing the target audience
  • Providing options to interact
  • Monitoring their behavior

The basis of everything is to get as much information as possible about the target audience, not only demographic information but all about their preferences and their relationship with the brand.

By integrating people’s behavior on the company’s web with data from other platforms such as CRM or the email database, it is possible to make very precise segmentation of the audience, which is what we need to deliver personalized experiences.

With their knowledge of the audience, the brand will be able to segment it and apply the types of interaction marketing that best match its purposes and each situation. For example, if a company is using blog content to capture audiences, one option might be to include interactive content to improve engagement.

In a more advanced phase of the buying funnel, when the person visits ecommerce, ideally, they could interact with a chatbot that answers their questions and offers them customized product offerings.

It’s important to use analytic tools to monitor the behavior of people who visit the website. as well as being able to measure the outcome of interactive marketing actions, analyzing both the interactions received and their origin.

Using all that information that we collect to tailor products, services ,and offers to the needs and tastes of the audience is what will make interactive marketing work. Let the communication and personalized messages flow!

Or, as my colleague Meri Millán says, ‘Don’t spend time making content that interrupts us when we’re watching something interesting. Make it the most interesting thing’.

Natalia De la Peña Frade
Natalia De la Peña Frade
Content creator: I try to write things you like to read
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