When most people think of marketing, they imagine a kind of communication that moves in only one direction: from the band, to the target audience.
Most marketing departments still conceptualize their roles as a one-way street. They create a static message to broadcast out to their consumers, whose only role in the process is to receive that message. In this model, the only way for the target audience to respond to a marketing campaign is through their purchasing habits; potent feedback, to be sure, but one that leaves a lot of unanswered questions about what worked and what didn’t from a marketing perspective.
However, as technology has advanced and the ways in which we communicate with each other have evolved as well, marketing strategies have undergone some drastic changes, especially over the course in the last decade.
Now, the campaigns that are most effective (and that bring in the most compelling information) take a completely different approach to the way that marketing communicates with potential customers and clients.
What Is Interactive Marketing?
Put most simply, interactive marketing is a style of marketing that understands that communicating to your brand’s target audience should be a two-way conversation. The most effective marketing campaigns are now those that seek feedback from their target audience, campaigns that listen as much as they communicate their brand’s message.
Whereas television, radio and print ads, which dominated the marketing world in earlier decades, were all static, one-way forms of communication, with the advent of the internet, data now flows back and forth between the target audience and the brand much more easily. Marketing campaigns that understand this, and provide ways for their audience to share their voice and opinions, are the most successful in the contemporary marketing environment.
Interactive Marketing is a Two-way Conversation
Your target audience is now accustomed to interacting with the brands that they have relationships with in many forms: social media marketing, email, blogs, forums, comments sections, and websites. Your audience is used to being able to contribute to the conversation and publicly voice their opinions.
To the wise marketer, this is an invaluable opportunity to make your customers and clients a part of your marketing campaign, while also gathering key information about their responses to your strategies and products via customer feedback.
With more than 74% of the U.S. population being internet users in 2012, and 2/3 of web users on social networks (source), an incredible wealth of data is available to all the intelligent brands who are able to make use of it.
How To Interact with Your Audience
- Social Media
Have active, frequently updated social media sites that encourage audience interaction and participation. Encourage your target audience to interact with your brand and share their experiences and opinions, and listen carefully to what they have to say.
- Community Management
Hire an experienced, dynamic and highly motivated Community Manager or just hire us! To mediate and foster the complex relationship between your brand and your target audience, whether that takes place on social media sites, blogs, or web forums. Make sure that you have someone who understands these complex relationships, is proficient in online communication and who can also manage and maintain your brand’s integrity.
- Brand Identity
You must have a strong sense of your corporate message and mission statement, as well as a solid and consistent brand identity, in order to communicate your image, message and values effectively to your audience. Make sure that you always stay true to your brand in all that you do.
Remember: your audience is wise, dynamic, full of useful information and eager to communicate with you. Not only will communicating openly with your audience through interactive marketing further your campaigns, but will also strengthen the relationships between your target audience and your brand.