In our blog post titled “Does content marketing work for B2B firms“, we examined the various competitive positions that B2B firms could be in, and the effective and ineffective content marketing strategies for each.
A complementary approach to marketing is interactive marketing.
In interactive marketing, the marketing team targets specific customers and attempts to build a relationship on digital media with them by interacting with them.
What’s an Interaction?
Well, it’s any kind of communication or activity that transpires between you and the prospect you’re targeting that is likely to be noticed by them.
You can interact with prospects by:
- Responding to their inquiries
- Resolving their complaints
- Favoriting something they’ve said
- Following them on social media
Interactive marketing can be used as a means of a) generating awareness, b) building an audience for your communications, and c) disseminating content.
Welcome vs Unwelcome Interaction
Not all interactive marketing is welcome.
An early form of interactive marketing was – to put it very bluntly – unsolicited email.
Shooting an unsolicited email off to someone is still a very highly effective marketing technique but can be interruptive, annoying and can make your communication unlikely to elicit the response that you hoped for.
A more effective technique for interactive marketing is responding with context. It is possible to find inquiries and complaints on social media. Helpful responses to those are almost always welcomed by the recipient.
Follows and likes are almost always welcome!
Effective vs Ineffective Interaction
An interaction is effective when it is noticed and when it elicits a positive response.
For example, a response on social media certain social media channel might not be effective because it might not be noticed.
Some people who post requests for information on social media fail to monitor the social media channels subsequently for responses to their inquiry, or are faced with a deluge of responses on social media.
It then is more effective to respond using a different channel – for example email – that is more likely to be noticed and if the response is helpful enough, to be appreciated.
Again, favouriting messages from a prospect might not be as effective in getting you noticed as following a prospect. Following is the currency of social media, and so people tend to be more likely to notice that you followed them, than to notice that you liked a post of theirs.
For what is interactive marketing used?
Interactive marketing can be used for:
- generating awareness about your products
- building an audience for your communications, and
- disseminating content
It can be used instead of content marketing, but is better used to complement content marketing, and can ultimately become content marketing.
Supplementing Content Marketing
Instead of creating and distributing content, a marketing strategy could focus on finding and interacting with the right customers.
This is analogous to the difference in traditional marketing between ATL (above-the-line) and BTL (below-the-line) marketing methods.
ATL marketing comprised broadly targeted advertising methods like television advertisement and newspaper advertising.
BTL marketing consisted of targeted advertising methods like sending out catalogues of products to specific lists of people.
Complementing Content Marketing
In the complementary approach, interactive marketing is used to create an audience for your content or to disseminate your content.
In this approach, content creation plays a key role in making the interactive marketing effective because people whom you interact with visit your website or social media properties to learn about you, view and fall in love with your content, and decide to follow you (become your audience) giving you more opportunities to educate and interact with them.
Becoming Content Marketing
Once you have a large enough audience, interactive marketing can become reduced to plain old content marketing.
This is because you with a large audience, you will have the ability to interact with a large number of people merely by releasing content on the channels where your audience resides.
So, once you have a large enough audience, you get one additional means of interaction, which is, releasing content to your audience, which is nothing but content marketing.
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