Mark S. Pendolino
|INTERACTIVE MEDIA aND MARKETING|
|Interactive Media as a Marketing Tool|
Interactive Media as a Marketing Tool
Interactive media, when used as a marketing tool, has a huge potential for lifting message association and creating brand awareness. Chris Crawford, a former computer game developer and philosopher in all things interactive, points out many times in his book, "The Art of Interactive Design," that people are innately animal. That we learn through the most basic concepts of hands-on fulfillment. That we must play in order to learn, to understand.
If this concept is true, then the marketers of the world have hit gold with the advancements of interactive technology. If companies can compel people to interact with their advertisements, their web sites, their television ads, then they have succeeded in educating their audience about product, about brand and about their company. This creates loyalty, trust and any other message that the company would like to have permanently affixed next to the mention of their name.
Tracking Customer Behavior
Interactivity, over the web, can also provide advantages in allowing companies to monitor and track how consumers interact with their advertisements. Through web tracking click-through statistics and the sly depositing of cookies on personal machines, companies can see how consumers react to their sites and their ads. Do they click on them? Do they leave? How long do they stay? All of this essential data is helpful in tuning and tweaking their message in order to make one work.
Greater Branding Opportunities
Interactivity also creates opportunities for companies to expand awareness of their brand. Through this technology, that allows consumers to interact with not only a computer rendered program featuring all overt attempts at company character, but also through the instant communicative ability afforded us through the likes of email, instant-messaging, text messaging, and voice over IP.
As consumers "play" with an ad, whether it be an online Flash ad or a "scratch-n-sniff" print ad in a popular magazine, they are exposed to characteristics of the advertising company. Be it some level of "coolness," colors, slogans, sonic branding, tag lines, etc. - the more the consumer interacts, the more the message is ingrained. And some of the online activities include abilities to instantly email friends. This ability is one more step in branding, allowing each consumer to hit the site or ad to pass it on to a friend, who may, in turn, pass to another friend, and the string is created.
Interactivity Surpasses Passivity in Brand Lift - Many advertisers, in the initial boon of streaming media on the Web, felt that they could turn the computer into another television. But this is a short-sighted idea. This is certainly not taking full advantage of a medium that's inherently interactive. Watching TV, up to this writing, is still not inherently interactive. The Web most certainly is interactive. Turning a TV spot into a Web ad without taking advantage of the interactivity is not the best solution (Lockhorn 2002).
Interactivity is a good way to help people remember brand and message. It gets people involved, and generally, they like it (Lockhorn 2002).
Speaking of Television
For years, the push to make TV interactive has yielded only minor results, but the future may see something more advanced. However, people are genuinely passive with TV, they don't want to necessarily interact, they want to recline. And with the advent of digital recording technology, such as TiVo and Replay, recliners have found a way to bypass advertising. Or so they thought. . .
Interactivity in marketing is far reaching - not just on the Web. Turns our Tivo has been courting advertisers since day one, selling inroads to a universe most customers saw as commercial-free (Kumata 2004). By March of 2005, TiVo viewers will begin to see "billboards," or small logos popping up as they fast-forward over the commercials. These little pop-ups will offer contest entries, giveaways, or links to other ads. Viewers can opt-in to the ad and their contact information is downloaded to that advertiser - giving them the opportunity for even further direct marketing (Kumata 2004). Call it "couch commerce."
This interactivity, however subversive, still surrenders the control to the consumer.
Defining Interactive Media within the Marketing Sphere
The term "Interactive" has many meanings in the realm of marketing. In order to get a grasp of how companies are utilizing interactive media, we have to understand a few terms.