Building Your Brand Interactively
Welcome to the world of touch screens, mobile phones and online shopping. It seems interacting with businesses via technology is becoming increasingly popular each year and the horizon indicates that this is not going to change. Interactive marketing is undecidedly the future of advertising and is a cost effective means of attracting new audiences from just about any location in the world. With over 34 million users online in the Oceania / Australia region and approximately 15 million mobile users in Australia, the people are there and willing to indulge and interact with any content you can throw at them.
In order to determine whether interactive marketing could assist you and your business, we must first define such a technology. To put it simply, Interactive marketing is the method of advertising interactively utilizing technologies such as the World Wide Web, DVD-ROM's, mobile devices and online gaming. Users are able to stumble upon products and / or services you offer and then dig deeper if they choose to find out more. It's all about enticing the user to click further and extremely contacting you for more information.
Such marketing techniques, either online or offline, are not new to marketers although it is a method of advertising that is often ignored or neglected. Many businesses, especially those ran by people who are not familiar with such technologies, are hesitant to invest in something they are not sure about. It is understandable though. The Internet is a diverse place and there are many contributing factors that shy people away from utilizing it to its full extent, however there is also a huge amount of potential in advertising in such a medium that can not be ignored.
Take this example; the idea of ??posting an advertisement for a PC gaming center within an online gaming world is just phenomenal. In one advertisement, you have immediately gained the attention of thousands of different gamers who are all extremely interested in the service that you offer for an extended period of time. It's being able to target your market so specifically and so easily without spending a fortune that makes interactive marketing such a brilliant opportunity for small and large businesses alike.
There are obviously a number of different platforms that business owners can employ to market their organization interactively. These branch over a number of technologies and can also interact with each other by linking users from one medium to the next. It is the idea that a user can be playing a game, see a great advertisement, click on a link and view the website at his / her own leisure that makes the world of difference. To ensure that your business is making good use of the technologies available to it, a marketing plan designed specifically for interactive marketing should be developed and the following methods of advertising should be considered.
Interactive CD's: The thought of handing someone a business card that can also provide them with copious amounts of information relating to your business is an exceptionally unique method of marketing. People swap business cards each and every day and half the time those cards end up in the trash. Would not it be great if there was a means of enticing them to learn a little more about your company and all they had to do was insert your card into their computer? We all sit in front of a PC for numerous hours a day and inserting a CD into one's CD-ROM drive is just as simple as opening a book.
Marketing DVD's: Advertising at tradeshows, exhibitions and large events is all about catching people's attention. So many potential customers walk in and out those doors without even looking twice at half of the stands on display. Marketing DVD-ROM's can provide business owners with the facility of showingcasing their products and services on a larger screen. Should a potential buyer be interested, they have the opportunity to interact with the DVD to find out more whilst asking questions along the way. Businesses can also offer copies of the Marketing DVD in order to reinforce their products, services and branding.
Brand Building Online Games: The most important and compelling reason behind using online games for brand building is that sending marketing messages to potential customers by associating the messages with online games is a non-obtrusive, entertaining, and interactive method of advertising. Utilizing such a method ensures that your prospective customers are receiving your marketing messages because they want to and not because they have to.
In-game Advertising: Separate to online games designed specifically for brand building, in-game advertising is a method of marketing and brand building within existing online games. Studies have shown that when advertisements were placed within the game space of popular games, click-throughs had increased ten fold. Not only are you advertising specifically to your target market but you also gain increased exposure time for your dollar. Think of it this way, even if a gamer only joined a game for five minutes, you're already winning more exposure than you would through television or radio.
Dynamic Websites & RSS Feeds: Providing users with new content via your website is just one method of having them return on a regular basis. Content driven websites are also far more likely to be recommended to others. If you are constantly adding content to your website, you may want to consider using RSS feeds to let your users know that new content is online. RSS feeds are basically a simple and elegant means of notifying users that selected websites have been updated.
Mobile Advertising: Last but not least is the ever growing world of mobile advertising. In today's day and age, everyone seems to have a mobile phone. They are used frequently and are often no more than a few metres reach at any one time. Users now have the ability of viewing SMS messages, browsing WAP sites, clicking-through to websites and reading emails all from their mobile and marketing in each of these mediums is the ideal method of utilizing the technology to its full extent.
So, where do you go from here? The straight forward approach is to implement a marketing plan that includes some if not all of the above mentioned methods of interactive marketing. Implementing marketing strategies within each of these mediums is not an overnight job and chances are you will need to contact a number of marketing agencies or service providers in order to get the job done. Think carefully, plan thoroughly and stick to your budget. These are cost effective marketing alternatives and should not set you back more than you'd expect. If ever in doubt, get a second opinion.
Interactive marketing definitely is not for everyone and certainly works better for some more than others, however it all boils down to whether you're willing to give it a try. Start small but think big. Try one medium and then move on to the next. No matter what avenue you take though, you will notice increased exposure and that should absolutely hit your bottom line. Exceptional marketing should be engaging, unique yet non-obtrusive. Interactive marketing is just that.