With interactive marketing, the customer is involved in a company's ad campaign, instead of passively listening to a radio broadcast or watching a television commercial. The customer helps promote the company's product, which can reduce the company's advertising costs and give the company additional credibility with the customer's friends, coworkers and neighbours.
A benefit of interactive marketing is that it allows a customer to create his own personalised version of the ad. For example, an auto manufacturer may design a website for one of its car models that allow the customer to select the paint colour of the vehicle and the pattern on the car seats, and include additional equipment such as a rear spoiler or tinted windows. The visitor can see what the car looks like with each option selected and order his ideal car.
Interactive marketing can be a less disruptive type of advertising. When a company broadcasts a noninteractive ad during an intermission in a television or radio show, the client may regard the commercial as an annoying interruption of the show. With interactive advertising, the marketer can design the ad so that the customer will search for it herself, instead of having it interfere with her enjoyment of other media, according to the University of Alaska.
With interactive marketing, an advantage is that a satisfied customer can create a customised pitch for another potential customer, according to California State University, Chico. For example, a visitor to a dress maker's website can design a dress with the colour and fabric that one of her friends prefers and then send an ad with a picture of the dress to her friend. The dress maker may offer the visitor a free dress if she sends enough of these ads to her friends.
A disadvantage of interactive marketing is that access to the ad may depend on products that the customer already owns. If a tailor creates a website to display his line of shirts, a customer needs to have access to a computer to be able to view the shirts. If the tailor placed a poster on the side of a building, the customer can walk past the poster and see pictures of the shirts without making another purchase first.
Another disadvantage of interactive marketing is that a company can lose control of its brand, according to Northern Illinois University. For example, if a tailor allows customers to create their own designs to place on an image of one of her shirts, a customer may create a derogatory image and share it with her friends, which may harm the tailor's reputation.
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- Northern Illinois University; The Importance of Being Social; Amanda K. Highley; August 2010
- Operations Research; A Learning Approach For Interactive Marketing to a Customer Segment; Dimitris Bertsimas and Adam J. Merserau; November 2007
- California State University, Chico: Implementing Interactive and Multichannel Marketing