What is “Interactive Marketing”?

Interactive marketing has emerged as one of the hottest marketing trends in 2012, with Forrester Research predicting that marketers across all industries will spend nearly $77 billion, roughly 26% of all advertising dollars, on interactive marketing by 2016. B2B interactive marketing is expected to reach $5.7 billion by 2016, with mobile marketing accounting for much of that rapid growth. But what exactly does the term ‘interactive marketing’ mean?

Interactive marketing is, by definition, marketing which engages the user to interact with the content in a personal, emotional or tactile way. Therefore, interactive marketing cannot be pigeonholed as only online experiences (although it would be remiss to discount the Internet as a major facilitator of interactivity). Many assume all interactive marketing is online only, and this implied definition does a huge disservice to marketers who understand that delivering interactive experiences is an imperative for every venue, offline, as well as online.

Interactive marketing allows customers and prospects to participate in the process of building a brand’s image, thanks to the customer’s ability to ‘interrupt’ a brand’s communications to complement or modify its messages to fit his or her perception. This removes the feeling of a canned, one-size-fits-all pitch or advertisement which can distance or even alienate prospects by making them feel undervalued; as if they are just another mass marketing target. Whether it’s through interacting with a virtual 3D product model on an iPad® or a conversation on Twitter, it is the individual involvement aspect of interactive marketing that captivates users and makes it far more likely that they will remember relevant information.

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