Engaging with your customer base means starting a conversation, and consumers love being heard. Interactive marketing utilizes consumer feedback to spread the word about a product or service in a creative and meaningful way.

The main difference between modern and traditional advertising is directionality. Whereas old school ad campaigns rely on their audience being interested enough to pay attention, today, customers can utilize various social media platforms to talk back and let brands know what they want. Because of this increased ease of communication, interactive, consumer driven marketing serves two purposes: it shows potential customers what you have to offer while collecting feedback and finding out what you can do better.

Most importantly, interactive marketing is fun! Ad campaigns which incorporate audience reaction get people engaged and excited to participate. Firstly, experiences consolidate memories much more effectively than passively absorbing information — do you have stronger memories of nights going out with friends, or staying in watching TV? Secondly, after experiencing something unique or creative, people can’t wait to share on social media and tell their friends all about it. With savvy marketing tactics and a bit of luck, your campaign could reach millions of eyes through the magic of virality.

The truly engaged customer is your strongest ally when it comes to achieving virality. Brand advocates are an essential part of an effective marketing strategy: research by Meteor Solutions determined that 1% of a brand’s audience generates 20% of its traffic through sharing, and even more significantly, their recommendations directly influence 30% of overall end actions on brand websites. And these figures could be conservative: a study by Social@Ogilvy suggested that “80% of reach from marketing campaigns now comes from amplification through advocacy.”

Nike’s Instaposters

The power of a clever campaign to get people on board, and the signal boosting capabilities of engaged customers, were handily demonstrated by Nike’s Moscow Instaposters campaign.

Russian ad agency Instinct found dynamic action selfies posted by female athletes on Instagram, and created large scale guerrilla-style posters, which they in turn posted on Instagram, tagging the athletes. Their reactions, as well as the artwork, prompted a torrent of hashtagged Instagram posts, several of which Instinct pasted up across Moscow to fuel the fire.

The campaign, which kicked off with just nine posters, resulted in 27,806 hashtagged photos.

Polar Beer

The best brand experiences tell customers what your brand is all about. Polar Beer, a formerly obscure brand sold in just one state in Brazil, showed consumers that their beer is about good times and good friends by addressing a pervasive problem: people glued to their cellphones when they’re hanging out with friends.

Using cell phone signal jammers cleverly disguised as beer coolers, they created a strong association between their brand and a great, cell-phone free, night conversing with friends. In spite of their iPhone-zombie busting tech, people loved the stunt so much they shared it widely on social media (after leaving the bar).

Fantastic Delites

Cracker brand Fantastic Delites went out fishing for consumer engagement with a non-conformist vending machine: anyone wanting a Fantastic Delites cracker pack had to take part in increasingly demanding challenges. The first curious onlooker had to press the button 100 times, but consequent attempts demanded exponentially more presses: one game young lady pressed it 5000x, after which she must have been grateful for a snack. Participants also had to bow down to the machine, do press ups and show off their best dance moves.

It might seem a bit cruel, but judging by the big smiles on the faces of their customers and the crowd, Fantastic Delites not only succeeded in their goal of showing off how desirable their crackers are, but made some fun memories in the process.

#BeccaBeauties

If anyone knows how to create a memorable brand experience, it’s The Flash Pack. In addition to crafting elaborate custom brand photo experiences, The Flash Pack specializes in seamlessly integrating social sharing, so guests can get the word out without being distracted from the experience itself.

They linked the Becca line of cosmetics with A-lister glam treatment in the minds of customers by inviting them to get their makeup done by Becca artists and then taking flawless headshots in a custom photobooth. Along with great lighting and on-brand colours, the photobooth had an added bonus: the option to instantly share the glammed up, perfectly lit images on social media – let the envious comments and social-media validation abound.

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True Blood

The most successful movies and TV shows often pride themselves on fully immersing viewers in a different world. Campfire, HBO’s Marketing agency of choice, gave the public a taste of the world of True Blood, posting billboard ads for the eponymous fake blood product, as well as PSAs for vampire civil rights. Blurring the lines between fiction and reality commanded attention, giving potential viewers an idea of what they could expect from the show while doubling as social media catnip.

Tesco Mobile And Friends

Putting on an awesome event is one thing, but creating brand experiences don’t necessitate leaving the house. Take this legendary exchange between a concerned Tesco Customer and the Tesco corporate Twitter account, later joined by Jaffa Cakes and Yorkshire tea. Responding with a sly wink gained the kind of engagement it’s hard to imagine gaining from any other advertising medium.

The way this surreal conversation unfolded illustrates a crucial factor in interactive marketing: the importance of talking to customers on their level and showing that your brand is made up of actual humans with a sense of humor is worth a thousand starchy, monodirectional campaigns.

In short, interactive marketing is about making a real connection with your customers, and finding out what your brand means to them.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer B2C content marketing services to help your business reach the audiences that matter with smart, useful content that delivers the right message at the right time. Learn more about B2C content marketing here.