What is Interactive Marketing?

Malcolm Tatum

Interactive marketing is a concept that has its basis in the idea that the ability to hear and comprehend what a customer wants and needs, and to successfully convince the customer that his or her wants are understood, will result in the creation of enduring business relationships that are rewarding to both parties. From this perspective, interactive marketing can be seen as a strategy that promotes open and complete communication between the provider of specific goods and services, and the target audience that is most likely to be interested in those products. Creating this interactive dialogue requires that the business engage in activities that promote efficient two-way communication, and keep those avenues of communication open at all times.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

At the core of interactive marketing is establishing a means of engaging customers in an ongoing dialogue. This is different from the concept of monologue marketing, which essentially has the business providing data to consumers for their consideration, but not seeking to secure much in the way of feedback from consumers directly. With an interactive dialogue, current and potential customers are invited to participate in a back and forth communication process that motivates consumers to give honest impressions about products. This input concerns not only products currently offered, but also provides a means for consumers to proactively inform businesses of what they would like to see in the way of new products.

When utilized to best effect, interactive marketing can create a great deal of positive brand identification as well as generate a high degree of customer loyalty. Companies that are viewed as accessible and willing to interact with consumers are much more likely to reach the right customer markets and quickly become prominent in those markets. As word of mouth from satisfied customers reaches other consumers, the business enjoys greater visibility, ultimately generating a brand image and level of name recognition that provides a great deal of financial stability to the business. This stability in turn improves the ability of the company to dialogue effectively with customers and possibly get ideas for new products that ultimately make the company even stronger in the marketplace.

Interactive marketing is an approach that just about any business can use. Local brick and mortar operations can use the approach to attract more customers by helping clients see themselves as important to the success of the operation. Multinational corporations can make use of interactive marketing to develop new products and refine older ones, making them more appealing to consumers. Even online businesses can incorporate this marketing approach into their social media and internet marketing strategies, using online tools to establish and nurture online communications with existing and potential customers that result in benefits for everyone involved.

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