Interactive Marketing: Meet Your New Audience

In the old days, marketing was simple: a one-size-fits-all message through the usual media channels (TV, radio, print and the occasional web resource) to a relatively homogeneous mass audience. Over the past 20 years and especially in the past 2 or 5 years, though, we as audience members and marketing recipients have evolved. Our modes of communication are varied: we are You Tube watchers and personal bloggers and mobile shoppers. In many ways, we’ve fell through the cracks of traditional marketing, changing not only our own media outlets but the way in which marketers access those outlets. While frustrated marketers may never completely have us pegged, we picked out a couple sites that are iconic of the “new consumer” from Generation X to Y and beyond:

1)Twitter. For the younger crowd, this site is like Facebook status on steroids. Its mission: be a “service for friends, family and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” Available through the web or mobile phone, Twitter’s users of various ages and social strata update the world on their every move, including college students griping about being in class, professionals striking up business deals and moms awaiting their children’s return from school. The site’s “find and follow” feature may be a little creepy to some, but it allows users to find friends (or make new ones) and receive a continual newsfeed on the person’s status. Marketing moguls find this place a gold mine for consumer research and social marketing, as the consumers themselves become marketers when they “tweet” about their favorite products. Also check out twittervision, which displays users “tweets” on an ever-shifting Google map of the world.
2)Breathingearth. This site uses an interactive map to do a real time simulation of each country’s individual births, deaths and CO2 emissions topping 1000 tons based on statistical evidence. It’s more than just watching your Grandma in Indiana wave to you on Google Earth. Breathingearth is indicative of our current consumer economy–people interested in and fascinated by true-to-life depictions of real world problems.

So what does this mean for marketers and business owners? Get interactive! We are morphing into a society that feeds on one-to-one web-based communication, interactive site features and outlets that let us express ourselves, our opinions and even our whereabouts. National brands have already seized on the interactive trend: Coca Cola’s website offers Coke Tag, an outlet for Coke drinkers to shamelessly plug their own blogs or bands or anything they want. Local businesses can easily join in–your interactive marketing may be as simple as an e-mail newsletter or site with opinion polls and discussion boards or as complex as launching an online business community for all people involved in your local industry. Whether on a large or small scale, interactive marketing is becoming more and more important as consumers sail away from traditional media. Our only advice: don’t miss the boat!

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