What Is Interactive Marketing?

This post is an introduction to a blog series I’ll be writing that will hopefully help clarify what interactive marketing is, the tools and technologies that enable it, and the disciplines and activities required to do it well. In support of this series, I have started composing an infographic to illustrate the big picture. Rather than try and have it complete and polished up front, I am gong to introduce it now and evolve it as needed – hopefully with your input.

Click on the image below for a zoomable, interactive version.

What Is Interactive Marketing?

There are various opinions and perspectives on what specifically falls under the interactive marketing umbrella.  I’m not a stickler or an academic.  My perspective is based on my experience working with interactive marketing agencies.   Not everything these agencies do would necessarily be considered interactive marketing.  E-Commerce sites may be an example.  (Others are illustrated in gray.) But I think it is fair to say e-commerce and interactive marketing have a reasonably close relationship.

For now, let’s start with good ol’ wikipedia’s definition:

Interactive Marketing refers to the evolving trend in marketing whereby marketing has moved from a transaction-based effort to a conversation. The definition of interactive marketing comes from John Deighton at Harvard, who says interactive marketing is the ability to address the customer, remember what the customer says and address the customer again in a way that illustrates that we remember what the customer has told us (Deighton 1996). Interactive marketing is not synonymous with online marketing, although interactive marketing processes are facilitated by internet technology.

That last sentence makes a distinction between interactive marketing and online marketing.  I consider that an academic distinction.  (It did come from Harvard, after all.) While I do agree with the premise, in practice interactive marketing and online marketing are closely related and usually executed together as part of a holistic marketing strategy.

In subsequent posts I will elaborate on each of the main activities I consider interactive marketing.  These include:

  • Content Marketing
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Display Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Community Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Online Promotions
  • Integrated Campaigns

I’ll update this list with links as they’re available.

I’ll also be revising and expanding upon the infographic.  The permanent url for the interactive version will be: http://troysabin.com/what-is-interactive-marketing/.  So bookmark that link if you want to follow along and offer your feedback in the comments.