If content marketing was 2013’s internet marketing buzzword, 2014 may well be the year of its evolution: interactive marketing.
But what exactly is interactive marketing? At its core, interactive marketing focuses less on an immediate sale and more on building a relationship with customers by engaging them in conversation. With the proliferation of social media and mobile phone use, opportunities have surfaced that make interactive marketing easier than ever. So how are well-known companies putting it to use, and more importantly, how can you? Let’s take a closer look:
Coca Cola Embraces Referral and Social Marketing
Coke’s wildly popular “Share a Coke with…” campaign replaced their iconic logo with popular names and invited consumers to share a coke with their friends. The hashtag campaign #shareacoke on Instagram generated over 340,000 posts and enjoyed a 96% positive (or neutral) customer reception – the kind of numbers New Coke dreams about.
Oddly enough, Sherice isn’t available, but Sharkeisha is!
Key Takeaway: Sharing a Coke with someone isn’t just about enjoying a drink. To Coke and its consumers, it’s about capturing a moment in time and building a memory – Name-emblazoned Coca-Cola just happens to be the primary driver of that memory.
And while you may not be a giant corporation, you can still add a personalized touch through brand incentives such as Ambassador. It works with a variety of third party applications including PayPal, ExactTarget and Shopify to name a few.
Yoplait Helps Save Lives
Every year, Yoplait yogurt donates 10 cents per specially marked pink yogurt lid mailed back to them, to the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation. Yoplait’s parent company, General Mills, is estimated to have donated between $35-50 million dollars since the movement started in 1997.
That adds up to hundreds of millions of lids sent in by customers!
Key Takeaway: Support a cause that gets your customers involved too! People are more likely to recommend your product or service to their friends if they can interact with it (i.e. mailing in lids) or even do so on a social basis (like or share) and see the impact of their action.
Jack Daniels Invites Users to Share Weird Drinking Stories
Stories of intrigue…passion…and maybe a few chairs and tables flying. That’s what great bar tales are made of. Sensing that everyone loves a good story, whiskey manufacturer Jack Daniels invited users to share their wackiest, most unbelievable bar story, and bundled them into a campaign it called “The Few & Far Between”
Some of the stories involve Jack Daniels – like the “200 Shot Salute”, wherein a well-liked bartender’s remains were cremated and added to shots which were then consumed (knowingly) by patrons at his bar. Others don’t involve Jack at all, but are still funny and worth sharing. Like with the Coca-Cola campaign, the brand isn’t front and center, but rather hovering in the background, still noticeable and still in the back of consumers’ minds.
Key Takeaway: Your product or service doesn’t always have to be in the spotlight. With interactive content, simply inviting users to share a story from your particular industry can be enough to reinforce your own brand’s history, or its fresh modern take on big issues. What stories are your users waiting to tell? Using a web-based service like Storify can help them bring together the snippets of media and images to weave a tale about nearly anything.
Ice, Ice, Baby
Much of the viral marketing that happened this summer surrounded the Ice Bucket Challenge, designed to raise money for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).
As a result of the ice bucket challenge, the ALS Association was able to raise over $79 million dollars while also spreading awareness and gaining exposure for this little-understood disease. Of course, one of the biggest pulls were the celebrities who participated – tagging each other to see who would be next.
The virality of tagging pals to participate and video their reaction is what made the challenge so memorable for so many. Plus, it started in the hottest part of the year, so it was only natural that people wanted to “cool off for a cause”.
Key Takeaway: Of course, you don’t need a major celebrity’s endorsement to start your own viral sharing challenge. Think about something simple, fun and do-able by just about anyone. New challenges have already sprung up to piggyback off of the Ice Bucket Challenge’s massive success, including the Rubble Bucket, Bullet Bucket and Rice Bucket. Whether or not they’ll have the same incredible success that the ALS Association saw remains to be seen, but the seeds of promotion have already been sown.
What’s Next for Interactive Content?
The great thing about interactive content is how quickly it can spread, and how the concentration is on the customer and their response, rather than the brand and its benefits. Creating such challenges, stories and relationships often involve little other than a great idea and a receptive audience. The direction is up to you.
Have you seen some great examples of interactive content? Have you used it in your own business? Share your experiences and perspective with us below in the comments and let us know how it has helped you forge even stronger customer relations!
About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps businesses improve website design and increase conversions with user-focused design, compelling copywriting and smart analytics. Learn more at iElectrify and get your free conversion checklist and web copy tune-up. Follow @sherice on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ for more articles like this!