Magazine article Marketing

Grab a Piece of the Interaction

Magazine article Marketing

Grab a Piece of the Interaction

Article excerpt

With interactive going hyperactive Jon Sayers opens Marketing's long cool look at the facts behind the hype

After the hype comes reality. For marketers, interactive media is one of the most interesting, even - for the anorak tendency - exciting, new developments to date. It has the potential to deliver unprecedented choice, convenience and control to households through countless on-demand programmes and services, including videophone calls, real-time competitive games, home banking and an abundance of shopping.

Interactivity will generate vast banks of information on consumers' actual viewing and buying behaviour. Database management will converge increasingly with direct marketing and loyalty marketing.

Advertising accountability and demand for integrated campaigns will both increase; new revenues will emerge for agencies' media, creative and production functions; furthermore, original, interactive advertising techniques could generate royalties.

Interactive TV offers a channel for customer support, as well as promotion. Powerful brands will use it to gear up on their customer bases and enter new arenas of business. Product sales through the medium will shift distribution emphasis away from retail branches and towards home delivery.

Standing between company and customer will be gatekeepers, such as:

* telephone, cable and satellite companies controlling the "pipelines"

* software and hardware companies - controlling interactive systems

* publishers, programme owners and rights owners controlling content

* payment collectors controlling the financial highways.

New alliances of complementary interests will find one-time competitors becoming partners.

Network and hardware developments have cost billions, but investment in content to encourage consumers into regular activity remains small.

Interactive media - the Internet, online services, CD-ROM, CD-i and combinations of television, telephone and newspapers - really has grown rapidly. Projections for Britain 2001 show three million interactive homes. When proven technology can support the envisaged full-service networks, expansion promises to be swift.

With a single telephone network, a growing cable network and huge creative and entertainment talents, British firms can now develop an exciting national interactive network as a world-class resource.

POP proves his point

Why would a shopper bother to stop and fiddle with a touch screen? Because it's fun to play with: novelty pulls the punters. But they soon learn that it also saves time, gives information - and, best of all, does what it's told. …

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