Delve into the world of interactive marketing, understanding its evolution and pivotal role in meeting modern consumer expectations. Uncover diverse strategies, from website interactions to engaging emails, social media quizzes, and innovative use of AI chatbots.
You are perhaps aware of the good ol’ direct marketing tactic - a type of marketing communication and an extended form of targetted advertising. It still is a one-way communication. It may not meet today’s savvy customer’s expectations.
What direct marketing ignores?
The engagement, interactivity, and hyper-personalisation of communication that social media, emerging technologies, smartphones, eCommerce, and AI have impacted the modern consumer’s psyche recently.
What aspect should marketers consider regarding communication?
It is necessary to create a dialogue with the customer and manage the conversation to keep their dwindling attentions at peak…at all times.
How is this dialogue possible?
What is Interactive Marketing?
Interactive marketing refers to the process of putting the customer first to create a dialogic exchange (preferably personalised) through various digital marketing channels, campaigns, and formats that positively influence or encourage them to stay actively involved with the brand.
Even C L Wang defines interactive marketing ‘as a bi-directional value creation and mutual-inﬂuence marketing process through active customer connection, engagement, participation and interaction.’
How Interactive Technologies Have Transformed Marketing Efforts
It’s important to know the context of how the internet has played a significant role in transforming customer expectations today. Like, the early 2000s saw the popularity of digital consumerism through the invention and widespread popularity of Wi-Fi. While we ourselves cannot expect living without staying digitally connected, back then the scene was different.
Businesses had just begun to create websites with interactive functions, and those were enough. Only a few big names, including Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba, were popular on the eCommerce B2C front.
Functionalities such as 1-Click payments were not common before Amazon, which pushed other companies to use this patented technology of the company.
Along with this, social media platforms, including Facebook (now Meta) could provide both businesses and consumers a platform with Facebook Ads - launched in 2007. Mark Zuckerberg himself states and promotes why marketing communication should be a ‘conversation’ during the Facebook Social Advertising Event.
“For the last hundred years media has been pushed out to people, but now marketers are going to be a part of the conversation. And they’re going to do this by using the social graph in the same way our users do.”
And, you can even see how social media advertising works better in terms of ROI than organic social.
Types of Interactive Marketing with Tools and Technologies
Beyond social media platforms, positive interactions with consumers are shaped by the widespread adoption of internet-enabled technologies that not only exist but also keep emerging.
The Palgrave Handbook of Interactive Marketing gives a broad picture of tools and technologies that are mostly utilised to create the dialogue that this topic is talking about.
Websites with Share Buttons and Comment Sections
It’s all about an amazing but unique experiences that count today when it comes to websites. The goal is to make user spend more time when they visit. Features, such as blog commenting, liking, or having share buttons to socials that the major demographic visits are essential to create the two-way communication. And this is completely left upon them, whether they enjoyed reading the blog, and such.
But it is important that a website is not bothering the user with so much interaction that they cannot read past the first few lines. The key here is moderation.
Branded Apps with Great User Experience
A majority of consumers have no qualms on downloading branded apps on their smartphones, as long as they are interactive.
One of the biggest examples to think here is Zomato. Their notifications are extremely creative, just like what they do with their social content. Also, take their chat functionality as a prime example of interaction. Users can instantly find resolutions or refunds when their orders are late, or the food was not up to the mark from the restaurant. The user knows what level of control they have on the app and how seamlessly integrated the functions are.
All of these contribute to a positive user experience. Consequently, trust.
HubSpot states 80% of consumers only download an app that they find trustworthy. Now, you can agree that the app or brand is popular because of these elements that engage the user.
You may further read about Zomato’s digital marketing strategy to see what they do best.
Emails with GIFs, Videos, et cetera
Email marketing is economical and is one of the best ways to involve customers who sign up through websites or social networks. But too many emails can distract. Personalisation here is of primary importance, as nobody today converts with mass-targeted emails. Marketers can turn this around for their own favour to automate highly personalised content through customer segmentation.
Then comes the interactivity bit. As it is evident, plain texts with uninspiring CTA buttons or no opt-out options are less interactive in today’s context. But a mix of text, video link, social address to follow, community joining link, and image (s) can change the whole game. Researcher, J Wu, states email promotions leave a positive impression on the purchase decision of the customer.
More than that, what would make emails more interactive is gamification. It refers to the process of integrating game-like elements, such as competition, rewards, challenges, or interactive features. Ultimately, it is more enjoyable.
Social Media with Quizzes and Polls
There is no denying of the positive impact of social media on building brand loyalty and continuous engagement, as can be seen through vanity metrics such as likes. But polls and quizzes are some of the best examples that encourage audiences to participate.
Remember the Share a Coke Campaign?
Online Chatbots with Quick, Tailored Responses
Online chatbots, if used properly, resolve pain points and can even provide personalised recommendations to website visitors. Brands can set their tonality of messaging that represent them and cater better to queries.
Here the use of AI is also instrumental in generating leads. Some ways are discussed below.
Initiate Interaction for Qualification
Chatbots can engage website visitors by initiating conversations, asking relevant questions, and gathering initial information about their needs. Generally, you will see pop-ups that ask you basic questions, when you first visit a website.
Personalising Recommendations in Real-Time
Based on the information collected, chatbots can provide personalised recommendations or solutions tailored to the visitor's needs. This tailored approach enhances the user experience and increases the likelihood of converting visitors into leads.
Lead Capture Forms and Follow-ups
Chatbots can assist in lead capture by guiding users to fill out forms or provide contact details within the chat interface. Once leads are captured, chatbots can follow up with these prospects.
24/7 Availability and Instant Responses
AI chatbots operate round the clock. So immediate responses to visitor inquiries at any time are available. This instant responsiveness helps in engaging potential leads promptly.
AR and VR to Connect Experience and Action
Nearly anything experiential works today - be it, travel or shopping. These emerging technologies are the next best thing to reality, and what sticks is that customers are willing to engage. The customer-centricity is seen more here as the customer can immerse themselves. They can try out a product of their liking rather than guessing common across non-AR-VR online experiences.
So Far on Interactive Marketing…
- Interactive marketing revolves around engaging customers through dialogue and active involvement.
- Utilising interactive elements like AI chatbots and personalised recommendations help in lead generation.
- Emails can be optimised with visuals, personalised content, and gamification for higher engagement.
- Social media engagement thrives with interactive features such as quizzes and polls.
- Emerging technologies like AR and VR elevate customer experiences, providing immersive engagement opportunities.
FAQs on Interactive Marketing
What is the essence of interactive marketing in today's customer-centric landscape?
Interactive marketing centres on fostering two-way communication between brands and customers. It prioritises engaging customers through dialogic exchanges, leveraging digital channels and innovative strategies to create personalised interactions that resonate with modern consumers' expectations for engagement, relevance, and involvement.
How do chatbots contribute to lead generation through interactive engagement?
Chatbots play a crucial role in lead generation by initiating conversations with website visitors, gathering initial information, and offering personalised recommendations or solutions. By guiding users, capturing leads through forms, providing instant responses, and qualifying leads through tailored interactions, chatbots effectively engage potential customers and nurture them through the sales funnel.
What role do emails play in interactive marketing, and how can they be optimised for engagement?
Emails serve as a cost-effective tool in interactive marketing, engaging customers who sign up through websites or social networks. To optimise engagement, emails should focus on personalisation by delivering tailored content through customer segmentation. Incorporating interactive elements such as videos, GIFs, personalised CTAs, and gamification enhances engagement and positively impacts customers' purchase decisions.
How do social media platforms utilise quizzes and polls for increased audience participation?
Social media platforms leverage quizzes and polls to boost audience participation by encouraging users to actively engage. Quizzes generate interest by testing knowledge or offering personality assessments, while polls invite opinions or preferences. By tapping into users' desire for interaction and self-expression, these features drive higher engagement, shares, and interactions.
What is the impact of emerging technologies like AR and VR on customer engagement and brand interactions?
Emerging technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) revolutionise customer engagement by providing immersive experiences. These technologies allow customers to experience products virtually, leading to better-informed purchase decisions. Brands utilise AR and VR to offer interactive experiences that enhance customer satisfaction, trust, and overall brand interactions, fostering a deeper connection between customers and the brand.