During all our research one constant shone through, that is that marketing is conversations.

Current conventional mass media are weak conductors of knowledge and comprehension. This is because of a number of factors, however the main reason is; they are non-interactive communications vehicles, in other words ‘conversations’ cannot take place.

Communication research shows that interaction raises a communication’s learning effectiveness.

The one problem facing interactive advertising is the fact that it has become a cliché in recent years, without any very clear or consistent definition of what the word means or how it is supposed to work.

Properly executed it has none of the woolly theorising that lies behind the arguments about various forms of so-called interactive communication using direct marketing and electronic media (most of which involves at best the minimum of true interactivity).

It is also practical, down-to-earth, and uses a readily comprehensible and verified mechanism to expand the relevance and salience of advertising and other forms of marketing communications. It can be applied to all major media and to various other forms of communication, including new media. There is no theoretical reason why it should not also be applied to packaging designs or product literature.

The basic elements of interactive communication are very simple, as all communication should be. The target audience – or any part of them – are provided with a Game, comprising a Quiz together with multiple choice answers.

This take the reader/viewer through the detail of a commercial or advertisement and focuses their interest and attention on the product’s selling points. The questionnaire is (usually) presented as an exercise in getting the public’s opinions about the products. The effect is to combine the techniques of programmed learning and game playing to fix the advertising message in consumers’ minds.

The programme is very flexible and can be distributed by mail, door-to-door, as a handout in shopping malls, or as a newspaper or magazine insert.

The traditional, though now out-dated, model of communication against which advertising has been judged is a one-way process whereby a Sender sends a message to a Receiver, who is then expected to absorb and act upon it. Although any consumer-aware advertising person knows well that consumers use ads, rather than the reverse, the practice in most agencies remains the traditional one of pushing ads out towards the market and hoping for a response.

In the face of growing clutter of advertising messages and the increasing ability of consumers to screen out unwanted commercials and ads., there is also a growing problem for advertisers in breaking through the surrounding noise.

By presenting advertisements in the form of a Game it alters the consumer’s perception to the content making the communication process far more effective, by providing an enjoyable mechanism for consumers to become involved with the brand and its advertising message.

This meets the desire, evident among consumers, to open up a dialogue with at least some of the manufacturers or service companies whose products they buy; and also feeds consumers evident wish to be better informed about what it is they are being asked to buy.

By getting consumers to make a commitment to finding out more about an advertiser’s offer, the interactive technique can create the conditions for positive attitudes towards the advertiser and positive learning about the product advertised.

In addition to providing this encouragement for consumers to focus on the brand – and to develop for themselves the steps of the argument that should lead to a purchase – the technique can provide the advertiser with valuable feedback about both the product and its advertising. This is a dialogue that can benefit both sides, and be seen to be doing so.

By its very nature, the technique is totally accountable, so much so that it is, without a doubt the most heavily research concept in the history of marketing communication.

Many of the worlds largest independent research companies have measured the incremental increases that just one exposure to an interactive programme can bring, what follows is a very brief summary as the effectiveness of the technique over all other forms of commercial communication:
Interactive Multi-Brand print “Events” in Great Britain; Australia; Japan; USA - Average results:

Professor E.L. Roberto, PhD, Coca-Cola Foundation Professor of International Marketing reviewed the £5 million of independent research conducted on behalf of an Interactive "Event" and provided this summary as to the techniques cost efficiency:
“The "Event" participating advertisements generated recall scores that are more than 50% productive than normal advertising. The effect on purchase intention is just as impressive if not much more.

All these productivity increments are attainable at a reasonably inexpensive budget. One Shopper’s Voice Client revealed that for its participating brand, its quarter television expenditure was $5.7 million as compared to its Shopper’s Voice budget of $0.5 million.

This 1:10 ratio has been obtained in Shopper’s Voice experience in other countries.”
Source: AGB: Gallup: Martyn Research: Bourke: NOP. City Insights & more.

Author's Bio: 

I have invested over $10 million in indepentant research over time, this research has consistently proved that just one exposure to interactive programmes is substantially more cost effective than traditional marketing programmes. The techn ique is media neutral. I have run "Events" in Australia, Japan,USA,UK, Singapore, Manila, The Philippines, with remarkably similar and consistent results.