Six Ways to Get More Effective Interactive Marketing ROI to Grow Sales
Interactive marketing is an increasingly core part of a brand’s marketing toolkit and never more so than in the radically changed world in which we’re now living and working — predominantly online.
Websites, apps, in store interaction, QR codes, gamification and more offer a plethora of opportunities for a brand message to be communicated across multiple touchpoints simultaneously. In fact, when people talk about marketing often the first thing that comes to mind is interactive marketing through channels such as a social media campaign online and/or coupled with a highly engaged interactive offline campaign with primary target audience in key physical locations.
Related: Leading in Adversity – 10 Practical Steps to Make Your Brand Work Harder to Grow Your Sales
However, it can be easier to spend money on interactive marketing than it can be to gauge its efficiency unless clear objectives, KPIs and the agreed parameters of what constitutes ‘success’ are established up front. While that is a challenge for all kinds of marketing, it is especially so for interactive marketing because it is still rapidly developing and constantly changing.
But there are some proven ways to improve the effectiveness and business impact of your interactive marketing. Here we’re sharing six proven ways to get more bang for your interactive marketing buck, so you can grow your brand and increase your sales.
Related: Brand Building, 15 Short Term Ways to Build Your Brand for the Long Term
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6 Factors to Ensure Your Interactive Marketing Generates More Leads & Sales to Build Your Brand & Profits
1. Interactive Marketing Success is Built on Brand Strategy
It’s easy to get distracted by the whizz bang of digital tools. Barriers to entry are relatively low in the digital marketing space which can make brands more tempted to spend on unproven tools. For a large company with deep pockets this is perhaps a risky use of resources without clear objectives and proper planning. But for an SME or startup, spending a limited marketing budget blindly can be a business ending or catastrophic mistake.
Related: Building a Brand with Big-Brand Know-How on a Shoestring and Doing More With Less
Although interactive marketing has a somewhat more exciting air about it, relative to more traditional offline activities, at its heart it is still another tool to leverage your brand. Every kind of marketing follows certain principles, online or offline. Brand strategy is the crucial foundation which gives direction to marketing. Brand strategy ensures that the interactive marketing you do helps to build your brand in a way which helps grow your business.
So, the first critical step to getting the results you want from interactive marketing is to make sure that you have the right brand strategy.
Related: How Branding Strategy is Different to Marketing
A good case study is the way that some brands use targeting in a specific location, based on who they know will be there, as with the newspaper The Economist’s out of home interactive billboards at the 2018 World Cup which tailored messages for fans by match. They used their brand strategy to attract a well-defined audience in a particular way which matches their business strategy.
A more labour intensive but eye-catching example was used by food brand Nutella, as shown in this video. Both combined online and offline interactively to achieve their business objectives.
Are you a business leader, manager or entrepreneur who wants to re-evaluate or build your brand strategy so you can use interactive marketing as an effective tool to increase your sales? Are you curious about how to build or scale a highly successful standout brand? Join one of our online, live experiential branding masterclasses because they empower you to build your brand, enhance customer experience, expand your market impact and create higher perceived value so you can command a premium.
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2. Effective Interactive Marketing Needs a Clearly Defined Target Customer or Purchaser Persona
Different types of people will be more or less interested in your brand. You may also be more attracted to certain types of customers than you are to others. Even once you identify your target customer demographic, you may want to tighten your purchaser persona target further. For example, somebody who is a target in certain situations may not be your target in other situations. For example, a luxury brand may have a target customer at Christmas or other occasions when they are willing to splash out on a treat, but not see the same person as a target consumer at other points in the calendar.
Related: 5 Remarkably Heartfelt Brand Personalities Winning Buyers at Christmas
This targeting influences decisions about what sort of messaging a brand should communicate, and how. All marketing is more effective when identifying a specific group to target. One of the traditional challenges of marketing has been reaching specific target sets efficiently, which is difficult when using traditional offline mass media alone.
A key advantage of interactive marketing is its ability to target very specifically. There is an immense amount of data available which enables interactive marketing to target the right users at the right time by delivering messages in optimal times and environments.
However, this does not happen in and of itself because a business manager still needs to make informed decisions about the right target audience based on the business and brand strategies. As the campaign proceeds, and there is measured feedback or data generated through A/B testing, clickthrough rates, purchase conversions and requests for more information, you can iterate the targeting when you see that certain parts of your target group are more responsive than others.
Related: Increase Sales Using Buyer Personas, Your Guide to Understanding and Targeting Your Ideal Customers
A common example of this is using close range technology such as RFID in store to target category purchasers when they are close to a particular aisle.
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3. Effective Interactive Marketing Needs Clear Role Definition
When you talk about marketing, how often do you hear people speaking about your Facebook page, your website and your social media posts? A lot of businesses feel they need to have some presence on social media, or other digital channels, and rush into action on that basis. Indeed, spending in Ireland on digital advertising was up by 17% in 2018 . But deciding on an action without your brand strategy to underpin those commercial decisions is rarely a good way to get the best commercial results you want for your business.
Instead, interactive marketing is a tool which sits alongside the full gamut of other possible marketing tools, ranging from print and radio to face to face or exhibition attendance. First you need to evaluate what you want to achieve and only then are you in the best position to decide the right mix of marketing activities to achieve it.
Instead of putting the horse before the cart by jumping into social media commitments from a fear of missing out, well managed brands know the brand messaging they want to achieve because they’ve engaged in the brand strategy process and fully mapped out their brand with elements such as its brand purpose, brand vision and brand mission. Only then do they decide whether interactive marketing can help them achieve their commercial objectives and in what way.
For example, if you are selling complex professional services to business users, the sorts of interactive marketing which could drive demand for a consumer brand at a low price point may simply turn your target professional business services customer market off because that approach is perceived to have an unprofessional brand voice. But other forms of interactive marketing, such as an interactive survey and white paper sharing, could work well for your more sophisticated professional target audience.
A case study is provided by the London Digital Mental Wellbeing Service, who learnt that people use different search terms at different stages of mental illness. They were then able to target people based on those specific types of search terms, building a website and paid search against their specific needs.
Related: Digital Brand Identity Essentials – How to Build, Resonate and Grow
4. Leverage Commercial Rational to Make Effective Interactive Marketing Decisions
As an ephemeral and flexible platform, it is easy to see interactive marketing as a tool for brand awareness or PR-style activity. Indeed it can be very good for that, but it can also play a much bigger role.
Normally, if a brand invests in communication activity, it will decide what it wants to achieve. For example, is it simply awareness of its brand story, or is it trial, purchase, repurchase or advocacy? That approach also makes sense for interactive marketing. But it can be forgotten. Involving the commercial team to define what the interactive marketing is supposed to achieve is not only helpful, but very important. It can give direction to the marketing objectives, and also ensure that if there is any necessary preparation, like setting up a trial mechanism or lining up a promotion to encourage trial, the planning and implementation is properly resourced.
Related: 4 Reasons Why Your Business Profit Starts With Your Brand Mission
Car manufacturer SEAT provides an instructive case study with the launch of their Arona model. It can be hard to get people to engage with emails. But by getting customers to select what they wanted within an email, SEAT was able to identify clearly hot prospects for sales conversion.
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Lorraine is very helpful and accessible as a tutor with follow up after each working session and the half day masterclass. Most of all the clarity achieved has been most invaluable.
In the first two weeks of March 2020, before Covid-19 required us to close, we were 300% up in our online sales compared to the whole of March 2019 and after reopening April 2020 we were back to 108% by the end of May 2020 — results achieved from applying our brand strategy.”
5. Effective Interactive Marketing Involves Testing and Learning
One key advantage interactive marketing enjoys over other types of marketing is that you can iterate fast and learn very specifically. That makes it a perfect medium for agile testing, change, test and change again, based on the results you see the interactive marketing achieving, or not as the case may be.
Related: How Colour in Branding Strategy Influences the Way Customers Buy
This is often known as A/B split testing, where brands are able to test different versions of something to see which one gets better results with their target audience. This enables them to iterate so that the impact of the interactive marketing gets better, sometimes before it reaches a wide audience. Books such as Four Hour Work Week have brought the concept of A/B testing to a much wider audience. Despite its apparent simplicity and ubiquity, it remains an effective, financially sound method to test and learn.
Wine retailer Majestic Wine, for example, is well known for its customer experience – but it still more than doubled its lead generation using such an A/B testing approach. A helpful summary of how even small businesses can use such testing can be seen in this video.
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Lorraine Carter is a branding expert and international speaker delivering talks that inspire and motivate along with masterclasses and workshops that inform and support transformational outcomes fast, and consultancy expertise that solves problems — using agile branding strategy underpinned by professional big-brand know-how — so you can outshine, outperform and leave your competitors way behind.
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6. Effective Interactive Marketing Relies on Measurement
The wealth of data available to interactive marketers is somewhat akin to the long sought holy grail of marketing. It enables brand owners and managers to identify all sorts of valuable information, from who is engaging with the marketing, to how they engage with it and what actions they take as a result.
Related: How Healthy Is Your Brand? 7 Vital Signs to Measure Today Using a Brand Audit Health Check
This measurement allows rapid learning and improvement and so optimises the effectiveness of marketing. If you can’t measure something it is difficult to know whether you need to improve it and if so, how. Interactive marketing gives you the data which enables you to make more informed decisions in such circumstances. As industry experts explain in this video, the key thing is not that interactive marketing can generate a lot of data, it is how you use such data to perform measurement and other important brand building tasks.
The hype about interactive marketing is justified: it is a huge market and continues to grow strongly, particularly in a more virtual world. However, building a brand and business is a process where you should make decisions based on facts and sound reasoning, not just hype.
Deciding what role interactive marketing should best play in your brand marketing can be helped by focusing on a few key principles. Make sure everything you do uses the strong foundation of brand strategy. Always ask what you want to get from interactive marketing, and how. Make sure you target it properly. Keep iterating and learning, aiming for continual improvement.
Questions to Consider
- How well defined is your brand strategy?
- Who is your target customer?
- How much commercial return is your interactive marketing giving you today? (If you don’t know, why not?)
- What three business questions do you currently face that could best be answered using an A/B testing approach?
- How are you measuring the effectiveness of your interactive marketing at present?
- Could a brand audit health check help you identify your vulnerabilities, strengths and opportunities for innovation and growth?
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