Customers are becoming more and more powerful with the advances of technology. They have the access to interact with the companies in the decision making process, especially when it relates to the marketing campaign and to designing the product features. And that is why; marketing trend is also shifting from the transaction-based old model to the new conversation-based model, which we refer to as the interactive marketing. Interactive marketing is the way of collecting the valued information from the customers through one to one conversation and then including their thoughts in the marketing campaign.
Professor John A. Deighton of Harvard Business School defines interactive marketing as “the ability to address an individual and the ability to gather and remember the response of that individual” which leading to “the ability to address the individual once more in a way that takes into account his or her unique response.” He argues that interactive marketing and online marketing are not synonymous. Internet technology, especially the web2.0, can largely facilitate interactive marketing.
Interactive marketing model is different from that of traditional marketing. Traditional marketing is assumption based; the marketing executives analyze the market on the basis of present and past trends and then predict what marketing campaign will suit their products or services best. Also they develop different themes for different geographic locations, age groups, cultures, and even the religions. All of their themes are based on the assumptions they make. Then, they measure the success rate. If everything goes well, they continue with it, otherwise change.
On the other hand, while using interactive marketing, marketing executives never develop any theme merely based on assumptions. Rather, they directly communicate with the customers; encourage them to share their feelings, consumptions experiences, technical difficulties they face; ask for suggestions about what features should they include; and so many factors. Accordingly the marketers make necessary changes to their marketing campaign as well as to the product features. When customers find that their recommendations have been adopted by the marketer, they feel very happy; when they can share their thoughts with the producer, i.e. marketer, they feel honor. Chances are there that they might become loyal to the company. Amazon.com is one of the leading companies that using interactive marketing. They always keep records of the customer feedback.
The benefits interactive marketing:
When you use the interactive marketing model, you regularly connect with your customers. This is the great opportunity to build a customer database. You can use this database to tailor your future products or services to those customers. When you respond to your customers’ queries, and design your product according to their recommendations, they become loyal to you and to your product. It is a proven notion that loyal customers make repeated purchases from the company to which they are loyal.
The ways you can use:
Technology has made it easy for the marketers to adopt the interactive marketing model. Social medial marketing is one of the popular ways you can use. Cell phone has become so popular these days that you cannot ignore mobile marketing. Blogging is another way you can use; this is also interactive. Not that the internet is the only way of utilizing the model. If you operate a local business, you too can utilize interactive marketing. Community radio is a great option for you. Sponsor a special event there; encourage your customers to share their views with you or with the radio jockey.
As a marketer, you know customer is the king. If you ignore their preferences; don’t listen to them; don’t include the value they search for, there is a great possibility that you might fail. Listen to them carefully and reshuffle your marketing strategy accordingly.
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