Could your company benefit from a robust interactive marketing strategy? While the short answer is a resounding “yes!”, let’s take a look at the details. Before we begin, however, let’s ask: “What is an interactive marketing strategy?”
In a nutshell, interactive marketing is a technique that utilizes one-to-one communication channels that enable consumers to directly connect with a company. Unlike traditional campaigns, interactive marketing is action-based and engages a target audience. The customer isn’t passively viewing or listening to a marketing campaign; he or she is participating in it—bringing it to life!
Interactive marketing strategies encourage direct interactions between a consumer and a brand by creating omnichannel experiences and leveraging effective data collection. To help illustrate them in action, here are three real-world benefits for your business.
Personalization is key when it comes to reaching consumers—especially in consumer-facing industries such as retail. In fact, research found that 71 percent of consumers prefer ads that are tailored to their shopping habits and that 75 percent prefer ads that are aligned around their needs. Interactive marketing creates completely customized campaigns by putting consumers in the driver’s seat of their in-house experiences.
Not only are customers attracted to the element of customization, but they’re also used to getting information when they want it. The on-demand economy—a manifestation of consumers’ need for immediate fulfillment and provisioning of goods and services—is growing in size and scope, attracting more than 22.4 million consumers annually and $57.6 billion in spending.
Sephora, the leading beauty retailer in the world, uses augmented-reality mobile app campaigns to provide customized experiences to its consumers. The Sephora Visual Artist technology scans consumers’ faces to get a “Color IQ,” a reference number that matches products to skin tones. Customers can also use in-store digital workstations to take classes in makeup application. These two examples not only educate consumers about Sephora products, but they put them in the driver’s seat.
As this illustrates, consumers are accustomed to having boundless access to information. Sephora has embraced technology by implementing interactive campaigns that cater to the modern consumer. Brands that combine in-person elements with interactive technology such as touchscreens and kiosks directly engage consumers by providing them with on-demand information. The consumers become creators in your brand story! Fully integrated campaigns create multiple touchpoints and additional opportunities to drive profit.
Customers are more engaged with interactive marketing because the experience is entirely hands-on. Enhanced customer engagement not only leads to improved satisfaction, but it results in increased social shares—and amplified brand awareness. By combining customized, interactive content with an in-person experience, brands are able to not only sell their products—they’re able to promote a lifestyle.
Interactive marketing campaigns enable users to not only interact with a touchscreen. They enable them to interface with a brand. Providing a truly interactive experience—one that truly embodies a brand’s personality and product—allows businesses to differentiate themselves. It’s a crowded marketplace; interactive experiences build brand equity and customer loyalty.
Brands such as Merrell, the outdoor retailer, have leveraged virtual reality (VR) to create omnichannel campaigns that bridge the digital and physical worlds. To promote a new hiking boot at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, the company created a VR experience called Trailscape that combined VR hardware with motion-capture technology. With a set equipped with elements such as shaking ground, bridges, ropes, and rocks, the experience simulated a hike in Italy, and the brand was able to create a “walk-around” experience.
One of the most significant advantages of interactive marketing is its ability to instantly track the return on investment (ROI) of individual campaigns. Technology is making this exponentially easier, as interactive software allows businesses to track feedback before and after installation via surveys, interviews, and initial responses. From touchscreens that customers tap to RFID-enabled auto sign-ins at events, interactive marketing technology establishes a direct point of contact.
Not only does hardware enable consumers to perform specific actions, when paired with the right software, but these campaigns provide invaluable data. These tracking capabilities enable brands to easily update information to cater to target audiences. In other words, digital interactions are something that brands can capture—and learn from. For example, cannabis companies use data to stay compliant and sell products in a highly regulated industry. Interactive technology, including digital signage, boasts robust tracking capabilities that provide businesses with direct insight into who’s engaging with what ads. This helps measure both ad consumption and long-term impacts, so content is catered to the right people at the right time.
When setting up an interactive campaign, it’s important to establish the kind of data you’re going to harvest. If you define a conversion as getting someone to press an on-screen button, and your campaign has resulted in a significant number of consumers hitting that button, you’ve demonstrated ROI. No matter how complex the campaign is, you must be setting benchmarks, collecting data from the point of interaction, and seeing how you fare.
Interactive marketing campaigns provide customers with enhanced experiences that position them at the center of the purchasing equation. Interactive marketing strategies ensure that you deliver customized content and collect data to optimize your campaigns. From hardware to software, the tools you choose to implement can make or break your strategy. The best campaigns leverage technology to boost brand awareness, inspire repeat customers, and ensure that brands are achieving sales objectives.