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Isn’t all marketing inter-active?

July 3, 2008

In most ad agencies, you’ll find the Interactive Department. Full disclosure, I’m a member of the interactive department at my agency.

Interactive. Take a close look at the word. It’s a marketingy word, made up of one that we’ve all loved for years.

Paying people to hold signs is one of the olde...

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“Active”.

We want active consumers, because an active consumer is one who is buying. In this sense, active doesn’t mean getting off the couch, or even exercising, it means buying stuff. An active consumer is wonderful to brands.

Indeed, branding is about getting the name, and or product/consumer benefit in front of consumers so that when they are actively looking to buy something, they pick the thing we’re marketing.

So back to interactive. Outside of the notion that you can’t interact with a billboard, billboards certainly want to promote activity. Unlike Billboards, websites and banner ads and things that come out of the “interactive department” are interactive.

Are you beginning to the see the problem?

General advertising wants to promote activity, but it doesn’t demand it. General advertising doesn’t say, “Do it now.”

But the interactive department is measured on interactivity. In Interactive, we have the ability to measure the activity the moment the engagement begins. Thus, there’s a strong emphasis on asking people to be active.

NOW! It’s this interactive aspect that makes banner ads so crappy.

But, to me, that’s so last century. That thinking is from a time that all a brand had to do to get hits was put up a website. Indeed, when banner ads first jumped onto sites, people clicked them because they were shiny and new. The sheen wore off quick with both websites and banner ads (turns out people don’t want to be constantly told to Click now!)

We now know that putting up a website is simply part of a plan. There needs a plan to drive people to the site. It could be SEO, a marketing plan, or whatever, but there needs to be a plan to promote the activity of visiting the thing the interactive department hatched.

So, my point: when will the interactive department go away to that everyone can begin thinking of the activity of engagement again? At that point, Agency’s would be comfortable using social media without expecting interactivity at all times.

Aren’t we all in the ‘active’ department?

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