3 Ways That Interactive Displays Are Disrupting the Marketing and Advertising Industry


Advertising and marketing have always been about getting into customers’ heads by way of capturing their eyes. So it’s no surprise that the advent of the interactive display, which fundamentally changes how we look at things, has been one of the most disruptive trends to hit the advertising industry in recent memory. What once appeared on screen as static images can now respond to customers’ touch and even guide them along the path to conversion.

Understanding the impression that interactive displays leave on customers, and the impact that they’re having on the marketing industry, will give you some ideas about how to keep your campaigns at the cutting edge. So before you start brainstorming, take a look at these three ways that interactive displays are shaking things up:

1. They’re Turning Buying into an (Advertising) Experience

A few years ago, when touch-screen Coca-Cola machines started showing up in restaurants to  
replace traditional soda fountains, it was obvious to anyone thirsty for something carbonated that the company was on to something. The drastically expanded number of beverage varieties you could order from it and the futuristic interface led to the machine being declared the coolest product of the decade by Forbes magazine. As the decade rolls on, it is proving to also be one of the most formative, as this fundamental idea is spreading like wildfire to help brands sell their products (and look good doing it). 

Next-gen touch-screen vending machines are demonstrating a rapid and fascinating evolution of Coca-Cola’s initial innovation. New machines for all types of products, not just soda, have begun to include 3-D animations, videos, rewards promotions, and even photo-booth functionality as a part of the vending experience.

Such interactive displays go further in enticing people to use the machine, building loyalty, and embedding the buying experience in the customer’s memory. And as marketers find new spaces where this technology works, they’ll be blurring the distinction between sales and advertising even more.

2. They’re Telling Marketers What Customers Want

Technology as a whole is enabling us to better understand consumer behavior—but there are still a lot of gaps. When a customer drives by a billboard, for instance, the most advanced analytics available would have a hard time determining whether the advertisement eventually sprung to mind a day or a week later when that customer was in the grocery store. Even an in-store physical display doesn’t always provide a great deal of robust information on how it’s making customers act.

With an interactive display, however, marketers can harvest data about consumer behavior right from the screen. If an advertiser sets up an interactive display kiosk on a busy city sidewalk inviting passersby to do virtual demonstrations of products, the advertiser can amass a ton of data on which products customers are attracted to, how they utilize them, how long they spend using the kiosk, and so on—and it can crunch the numbers on these data and use them to inspire future action, both to better promote its products to the right segments and to better target its future marketing campaigns.

These types of interactions have been disrupting the industry by promising big-data-driven campaigns with quantifiable results—and the data will only become bigger.

3. They’re Even Disrupting B2B Marketing

While it doesn’t always have the glitz associated with customer-facing advertising, the world of B2B marketing is a huge one, and it’s a space in which the interactive display has begun to play an important role.

Companies that sell machinery, appliance parts, and other less glamorous necessities have begun to add an element of wow to their offerings with interactive displays. Rather than taking customers down onto a factory floor or showing them dry, statistic-filled PowerPoint presentations touting features, B2B salespeople can use interactive displays to let customers experience products for themselves in a safe, pleasant environment and get detailed information at the touch of a screen. In this all-important, lucrative sector of the economy, marketing is as important as it is to the general public, and it’s being disrupted just as much by interactive displays.  

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Photo: The Coca-Cola Company