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13 Jan

I’ve read that ‘Interactive Marketing’ is the way forward but have no idea what this is?

I’ve read that ‘Interactive Marketing’ is the way forward but have no idea what this is?

Ask Silver Bullet: January 2015

Unfortunately, our industry has developed a habit of using techno-babble in marketing terminology. Presumably this is to make themselves seem cleverer than they actually are or maybe to follow the legal model by descending into virtually a foreign language which they claim is necessary for clarity but can only be translated by employing their expertise at exorbitant rates – if your marketing advisor can’t explain a proposed campaign in readily understandable terms, it’s maybe time to look for someone who can…

However, I digress. Interactive Marketing is basically about starting a conversation with your customers and clients to find out more closely what it is that they actually want rather than just what you are initially offering.

Amazon is often cited as the classic example where purchasers record their preferences and are then shown book and other item selections that match these and their most recent purchases. Similarly, many online retail sites will take notice of your purchase history and suggest matching or complementary items whilst traditional retailers are also beginning to follow this trend by contacting customers with offers they know will be of interest from their purchase history.

Whilst Interactive Marketing works best (and is most easily undertaken) online, it’s not limited to the internet and works in any situation where a seller begins a dialogue, digital or otherwise, with their customers, often to improve the service they are giving – yes, all those surveys you’re asked to fill in do actually have a purpose. 

It is also, of course, the exact opposite of the traditional forms of advertising (now increasingly referred to as Monologue Marketing – good grief…) where a brand simply gives out a one-way message, usually by massive media exposure – think of the recent retail campaigns over Christmas bombarding you with everything from computer games to deep fat fryers.

So, is it the way forward and if so, why? Well, it is certainly an improvement on the afore mentioned Monologue Marketing because it’s more efficient and takes customers’ preferences into account. Consumer time isn’t wasted reading/viewing/listening to items and offers that are of no interest to them whilst their preferences can also actually affect the sellers’ offerings. For the seller, it’s the ultimate in customer profiling enabling them to spend their hard earned marketing budget promoting goods or services that are of direct interest to their target market. And, for good measure, it’s also better for the environment saving hundreds of tonnes of paper for direct mail and other marketing material that is virtually instantly discarded.

OK, fine for books, clothing and other consumer or FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) items but what about capital equipment, services and other Business to Business (B2B) offerings? The good news is that it’s exactly the same principle – a company buying or leasing a fork lift truck, for example, may well be interested in warehouse racking, whilst one purchasing lighting certified for Hazardous Areas, may reasonably be expected to be in the market for other ATEX certified equipment. Similarly, the close liaison between accountancy and legal services can be perfectly exploited by cross marketing to each data base – if an individual requires accountancy services, he or she may well need to complement them with legal advice.

The dialogue here is everything and a useful way of starting it is by giving information away. A recent example we received was from a roofing company who sent out electronically a fact sheet on the new British Standard for Slating and Tiling (BS 55340) to a database of Architects Journal subscribers. To be honest, of limited interest to ourselves but had we been architects or another organisation directly involved in construction, this would most probably be useful information which we would retain and maybe contact the roofing company when a suitable project arose. 

The beauty of this is that the information, whilst seeming clever and of value to the recipient, will already be in the public domain (if you know where to look) and be part and parcel of the sender’s everyday work and therefore of little actual value, despite the perceived value from the recipient. In other words, give a bit to get a bit…

Which is exactly what this column is all about.

If you are considering interactive marketing, simply want to know more about advertising or have another marketing question we can help with, talk to us. Email your questions anonymously to us today hello@silverbulletmarketing.co.uk  or Tweet us (not so anonymously) @SilverBulletPR and use the hash tag #AskSB

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