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Interactive Online Marketing 101

Interactive marketing is based on a simple, powerful concept: that the best way to attract customers is to establish a dialogue with them. Todays online marketing companies are leveraging new digital media to start this conversation, and bring businesses and customers closer.

What Is Interactive Marketing?

Interactive marketing is defining the future of search engine marketing. Traditional media--print and broadcast--rely on a one-way presentation of information. Digital media offer broader opportunities to connect with customers through social networking, online video, and more. As a result, the customer no longer sits on the sidelines, but takes an active role in the marketing process. In the words of interactive marketing expert Douglas Karr, "the consumer is empowered, entrusted, and recruited to aid in the strategy." Ogilvys Digital Strategy VP calls it "marketing for the people, by the people."

Online marketing companies are developing innovative ways to leverage communications technology. Examples of interactive marketing tools include:

  • RSS feeds
  • Social networking
  • Online questionnaires, games, and other interactive content
  • Online video
  • Ad widgets,
  • User-generated content
  • iPhone apps and mobile marketing

How Does Interactive Online Marketing Work?
Interactive marketing resources are powerful assets in online marketing. Besides engaging individual users, interactive marketing tools are designed to spread like wildfire across online social networks. Viral marketing helps businesses gain broader exposure than they ever could through traditional media, reaching new customers as they tap into their existing customer base. For example, ad widgets--small, stand-alone applications users can easily install and exchange--have the potential to spread virally across users social networks.

To be effective, interactive marketing campaigns must offer customers real value. The bar is higher in this corner of online advertising, since the media content has to be compelling enough to motivate customers to engage and share. That widget, for example, will not get far unless it is an engaging application users will want to share and use. Adam Kleinberg, CEO of San Francisco-based marketing agency Traction, sees these interactive marketing resources as an "audition" for engaging customers: "Someone will try out a new marketing tactic from RSS feeds to social media to an iPhone app, but it has to have value in order for users to invite you [to market to them]."

The Power of Interactive Online Marketing

With its power to engage and motivate customers, online marketing boasts strong return on investment. Search engine marketing companies rely on interactive features to help their clients:

  • generate buzz around a new product or service
  • reach out to new customers
  • build brand preference
  • optimize the advertising message
  • engage consumers with offers or free trials
  • build customer loyalty

The success of online marketing is driving growth in online advertising--even as the rest of the advertising market contracts. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), "online advertising spending will surge past $20 billion in 2009 as marketers increasingly leverage digital media and technology platforms to establish a dialogue with their customers."

Innovative online marketing campaigns are capturing imaginations online--and giving the businesses that sponsor them a competitive edge. To make the most of todays online communications media, tap into the expertise of an online marketing agency.

Sources

Ad-tech.com

Btobonline.com

Scribd.com

Marketingtechblog.com



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