The Ultimate Guide to Interactive Marketing

November 20, 2017 | Robbie Richards

Content marketing is all the rage today. Heck, my grandparents are even talking about it!

Ok that one may be a bit of a stretch, but the awareness of content marketing is at a fever pitch.

This level of interest has grown 5X in the last 5 years to a point where Google Trends has measured the highest level of search interest it can assign, a score of 100 on a 0-100 scale.

Interactive Marketing in Google Trends

But with interest and popularity comes challenge. The market is so saturated it’s becoming harder and harder to break through the noise and engaged readers.

I mean, there are over 4 million blog posts published every single day. Think about the math for a second. Let it sink in. Crazy, right?

So, the million dollar question:

How do you create content that cuts through the noise, drives higher engagement and converts more readers?

Truth is:

Content marketing needs a makeover. Readers need to be engaged with two-way personalized communication. They need an immersive experience.

Enter interactive marketing.

What is Interactive Marketing?

Well, it goes by a number of titles, and comes in all shapes and sizes:

Inbound Marketing
Content Marketing
Event Driven Marketing
Trigger Based Marketing
Event Based Marketing
Database Marketing

The Harvard Business Review defined it as:

“The term interactive, as we interpret it, points to two features of communication: the ability to address an individual and the ability to gather and remember the response of that individual. Those two features make possible a third: the ability to address the individual once more in a way that takes into account his or her unique response.”

No matter what name it goes by these days, getting people to interact with any form of digital marketing is crucial to moving them through the sales funnel, from basic brand awareness to lifetime customer, and all the stages in between:

Interactive content at each stage of the buyer journey

At it’s most basic level, think of interactive marketing as a one-to-one marketing strategy that reacts and changes based on the actions of the inviduals consuming (and interacting) with your content.

It’s human nature, we learn best by doing. Ask your child what class they like the most and they’ll probably respond with “the ones we do stuff and make things in“. Adults aren’t much different. That’s why interactive marketing is more effective at educating buyers:

Graph showing how much more effective interactive content is at educating buyers.

And, the reason it is 2-12 times more effective at engaging and converting readers than traditional one-way direct marketing.

Now we have a high level understanding of what interactive marketing is, let’s dive a little deeper…

Why is Interactive Marketing So Effective?

For many years, marketing and advertising has mostly been one-way communication – the publisher directs content to the potential user or customer, and attempts to control the conversation.

New digital channels and technologies make it easier to communicate, much faster, with anyone anywhere in the world. Today, marketers, advertisers, and consumers are drowning in information.

One-Way Becomes Two-Way Communication

Interactive marketing provides two-way communication

Interactive marketing seeks to change this one-sided dynamic, not just for change’s sake but precisely because consumers are demanding it.

Millennials, and to a lesser extent, Generation X, don’t want a one-sided relationship with companies. They crave the interaction and sense of community and collaboration which can be foreign to many companies and their marketing/advertising departments.

Greater Personalization
Interactive marketing personalization

When asked to prioritize one capability that would be most important to marketing success in the future, 33% of marketers answered: “personalization“.

Interactive marketing involves a personalized communication method that provides the user an opportunity to interact with the marketing communication.

More and more consumers want and even expect messaging in ads to be tailored to their individual wants, needs, and desires which is made easier to do by interactive marketing.

This creates a complexity of many options for the company to create, but a simplicity for the user to interact with based on his/her preferences.

When thinking through your interactive marketing campaign, it’s a good idea to first create a decision tree of “if/then” scenarios (discussed below) that will vary based on each action the user takes while watching the advertisement.

Marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized web experiences.

Don’t Forget the Call-to-Action

The main thing to remember is that getting the consumer to interface with your content should lead them, and specifically ask them, to take a final action, whether that be to purchase or opt-in for some future communication.

Obtaining an opt-in for email address or other push notification like browser based, text, or app is vital.

Check out this article for a list of B2B call-to-action best practices broken down by channel

10 Data-Driven Reasons Why You Should Be Thinking About Interactive Marketing

When it comes to engaging content, the power of interactive marketing is becoming more evident.

75% of surveyed interactive marketers were planning to invest more in creating more engaging content:

Top B2B marketing priorities

So if…

$5.2 billion is spent annually on content creation.

And 65% of marketers have trouble defining what makes content effective.

Why are marketers struggling to make it effective?

And what, if anything, can we do about it?

This is where case for interactive marketing becomes crystal clear:

1. The train is about to leave the station:

88% of B2B marketers said at least 10-30% of their content would be interactive by 2018 (DemandGen Report):

Amount of interactive content by 2018

A lot of marketers are jumping on the bandwagon – 99% ramped up or sustained their use of interactive content between 2015 and 2016. And, that trend looks set to continue into 2018.

This means one thing:

Interactive content works. There wouldn’t be a sustained for increased investment each year if it wasn’t.

There may be no better time to start experimenting with the medium. In the next few years, interactive content will undoubtedly become more competitive. Get on the train now!

2. Dynamic, Instead of Static

Oreo ad

81% of those surveyed agreed that interactive content captures a user’s interest better than a static one. In fact, 80% of digital ads are completely ignored, leading to wasted marketing spend.

Dynamic in the sense that it reacted to environmental trigger, a power outage during one of the highest viewed TV broadcasts in the world.

With perfect timing and a clever message, this formerly static content became an instant dynamic hit, achieving 15,000 retweets and 20,000 Facebook likes.

Since 80% of digital ads are ignored and result in wasted marketing spend, brands who find new ways to bring content to life are achieving huge results.

3. Engages the Brain in a Powerful Way

The biggest challenge for over half of B2B small business marketers is creating engaging content:

Top B2B marketing challenges

Interactive marketing engages the creative part of the brain by standing out amongst the crowd of boring, me-too static content. Rather than deploying plain vanilla marketing that everyone is becoming immune to, it explicitly encourages and persuades the viewer to take an action step.

In many cases, it encourages interaction by gamifying the task or action the marketer wants a user to take. For instance, 1-800-Flowers created a game to interest men who hate the process of buying flowers; in this game, men could shoot cupids flying around floating bouquets of flowers.

It resulted in record sales on Valentine’s Day that year.

4. More Memorable

Interactive content is more memorable

Memorability is crucial to the success of any digital marketing campaign and generally leads to better campaign effectiveness. As illustrated by the 1-800 Flowers example, interactive marketing is 2-12 times more effective than other direct marketing efforts in capturing and retaining a person’s attention.

78% of those surveyed indicate that brand messages are remembered more easily when delivered via interactive content.

4. Encourages Ongoing Personalized Communication

55% of those surveyed by want to have ongoing communication with companies they make purchases with or from. Most are more than willing to give up personal information if it makes the experience with a brand or their life improved in some way.

Personalization also affords the ability to present a “human” side of the company to a consumer through the use of personalized ads, rather than the static, one-size-fits-all content you see floating around online these days.

5. Has Higher ROI & Costs Less Than Traditional Advertising

Paradigm Life quiz example

Interactive marketing generates 3 times as many leads and costs 62% less than traditional marketing.

Interactive quizzes have helped companies like Buzzfeed reach 169 million people, and others better qualify their leads.

For example:

Rather than presenting their audience with another boring PDF, ParadigmLife create a financial literacy quiz.

Not only is the content more engaging than reading a dry 2,000 word PDF, it also helps the prospect identify weaknesses in their financial literacy, while helping Paradigm Life collect information that will help better qualify leads.

75% of surveyed interactive marketers were planning to invest more in creating more engaging contentTweet: 75% of surveyed interactive marketers were planning to invest more in creating more engaging content: @snap_app

6. You Can Engage a Wider Audience

Why do we want to engage our prospects? It’s simple – to educate and move them towards a sale. The problem is, static content fails to appeal to and engage a large segment of your market.

As research from Bucknell University shows, humans exhibit three distinct learning styles:

  1. Visual: learn by seeing – 25% of the population
  2. Auditory: learn by hearing – 30% of the population
  3. Kinesthetic: learn by doing – 45% of the population

Interactive content  can appeal to each segment of this population, especially those who learn the best by doing. Because viewers are most engaged when presented with materials suited to their preferred learning style, kinesthetic content is increasingly popular for both traditional educators and marketers.

“You don’t just learn knowledge; you have to create it. Get in the driver’s seat, don’t just be a passenger. You have to contribute to it or you don’t understand it.”
– Dr. W. Edwards Deming

Highly contextual and rewarding to users, interactive materials enable active learning states that better engage readers, and help them actually retain the information.

7. Interactive Content Fuels Retention

Retention rates


The more stimulating your content, the more your audience will remember your messaging and brand. A lot of content marketers focus on producing content like blog posts, statis infographic, and now videos.

While this is a definite progression, and starts to touch on more of the retention senses (seeing and hearing), it does so in a limited capacity.

Research by LifeLearn found that when people hear information, they remember around 10% of the information when asked three days later. But, if you pair a matching image with the same information, retention increases to 65%. 

This is one of reasons assets like infographics work so well to engage and retain the attention of readers.


If you take visual and auditory learning , and combine with kinesthetic, you can bump audience retention up from 65% to over 90%. People are now getting a rare immersive experience.

In a world drowning in content, this level of engagement and retention gives your brand a powerful competitive advantage.

8. Interactice Content Builds (Profitable) Relationships

Interactive content generates 2x more conversions than passive content (Kapost).

At end of the day, your marketing efforts have to support sales and contribute to the bottom line.

And, the way you do this is by developing content that guides users along the customer journey deeper into the sales funnel. Interactive content is perfect medium to achieve this.

A quote from Crazy Egg’s Sherice Jacob sums it up best:

“Interactive marketing focuses less on an immediate sale and more on building a relationship with customers.”

By building a relationship readers, you’re able to establish trust. And, people buy from those they trust.

9. More Engagement = Higher Revenue

Higher engagement


Bain & Company finds that brands who engage with customers earn 40% more revenue per person. Plus, engaged customers spend 30% more over their lifetime.

Because customers see personalization and brand experience as leading indicators of a quality partnership, 63% of marketers attribute higher engagement with more repeat purchases, renewals, and better customer retention.

10. A Brand Differentiator

Content marketing continues to grow in popularity. Both B2B and B2C marketers are expected to increase content output between 70-73% this year. Remember the 4 million blog posts published every day? Prepare for more.

The best way to break through all the noise is separates yourself from the pack.

88% marketers say interactive content differentiates them from their competitors (Business2Community)

To get your messaging noticed amidst the cascade of mundane content, leverage interactive content to hook and engage viewers throughout the funnel.

9 Examples of Interactive Marketing

Three of the top five types of content people want more of (videos, games, and interactive articles/tools), according to a Hubspot consumer behavior survey, are interactive content types.

So why don’t we give people what they want?

Examples of interactive content

And since visual content increases conversion by 86%, why wouldn’t we employ marketing that is interactive, immersive, and engaging?

Take a look at the 10 interactive marketing examples below to get your creative juices flowing…

1. Scion/Toyota Uses Interactive Video To Engage Passersby

Pedestrians walking by the giant video screens are curious to stop and watch others wave their arms or feet to move and pop bubbles surrounding the Scion cars.

2. How Far Will People Go For Fantastic Delites?

This company found a clever way to continually up the ante by getting people involved in completing increasingly difficult tasks to receive a free product from a vending machine. Watch this one, it’ll give you a good laugh 🙂

3. Nivea Sun Bracelet Helps Keep Tabs on Kids

Ever been engrossed in a conversation with a friend at the beach, only to find you are unaware of where your child is? With Nivea’s bracelet and smartphone app, you never have to worry about getting distracted again.

4. Moto X Smartphone Comes Alive in Wired Magazine

Pull the strip from the magazine ad page and press buttons to change the color of the printed phone image centered on the page. Now, you can see how a particular colored phone will look before you go buy it! Engage more of the senses.

5. Kontor Records Goes Back to the Future With Vinyl

Kontor Records printed a vinyl record promoting an artist and shipped it to radio stations. Once opened, the receiver can place their smartphone on top of the vinyl record and play various songs by moving a virtual needle on their screen.

6. Lexus Integrates Video With Print Ad

To introduce the 2013 Lexus ES, magazine readers place their iPad beneath the ad page to deliver an immersive experience that makes the ad come alive with animations on the magazine page. A clever blend of traditional and digital media to create a memorable, immersive experience.

7. NIVEA Prints Solar Panel on Magazine Ad to Charge Smartphone

Ever been to the beach and run out of cell phone battery? Well, worry no more! Tear out the portable solar panel from the magazine and plug your phone in while continuing to soak in the rays. Sunscreen print ads are cleverly positioned right above the device.

8. VSP Video Explains Ins and Outs of Vision Insurance

VSP interactive video example

Watch this interactive video with a Stanley and Victoria, guiding your choice of vision care by pointing out lesser known out-of-pocket costs.

9. Lego Created an Immersive Digital Magazine App

Lego immersive digital magazine app

Wish you could interact with your favorite Lego character? Now, you can customize your own minifigure, follow, like, share, comment, and create Lego emojis!

10. Citrix Plays Ball with MVP Assessment
Citrix assessment

Capitalizing on fantasy football enthusiasm, Citrix uses a dynamic assessment to promote their GoToMeeting software. The campaign included content in multiple formats, engaging users at different points in their journey with unique content that stood out from the competition.

11. MusicMap Brings History to Life

This interactive infographic from MusicMap is a treasure trove for audiophiles, both as a comprehensive visual experience and wealth of facts. Marketers aiming to generate leads in a target audience can deliver immense on-demand value with the right graphic.

12. Hubspot ROI Calculator Drives Big Business

HubSpot’s calculator allows users to quantify the potential ROI of using their software to run inbound marketing campaigns:

Hubspot calculator

Prospective customers are able to get information about the potential ROI of using the HubSpot software before ever having to talk to a sales rep.

After entering information into the calculator, users are given monthly visitor and lead growth projections:

These projections will naturally peak the interest of most marketers, and possibly move them further down the funnel to a point to where they might sign up for a live demo to see how the software works:

At the very least, the marketing team will have some valuable qualifying information to hand off to sales.

13. Deloitte Headhunts with Interactive Survey

Deloitte survey

Interactive content can be used as a powerful recruiting tool.

In this interactive video, Deloitte portrays the light side of its company culture in an effort to drop the stuffy big business cultural stigma, and appeal to younger job prospects.

14. Crew Provides Custom Quotes

Crew is a web design and development company focused on creating cool user experiences across websites and apps. At face value, nothing really unique. There are lot of companies out there doing the same thing.

So, Crew decided to create an interactive calculator called “How Much to Make an App”:

"How Much to Make an App" calculator

This asset was extremely effective because it gave their audience a quick answer to a pressing question, “how much will my app idea cost?”

The calculator asked a range of simple questions around the idea such as device type, user activity, design type in order to get to a cost estimate.

Users are also able to go back and change their answers to see how it would affect the pricing:

At the end, users enter some personal information to receive a custom quote. The user gets a valuable piece of information, and the marketing team is able to screen out the most qualified leads and pass them onto sales.

15. CEWE Photoworld Provides Perspective

CEWE Photoworld

There are a LOT of photos shared on social media every second.

How many exactly?

This interactive infographic from CEWE Photoworld takes you 4,000 miles into outer space to find out.

Pillars of a Sucessful Interactive Marketing Campaign

There are many items that must be considered before building out a successful interactive marketing campaign.

Here are six boxes to check:

1. Compelling Story

What’s a product or service offering without a compelling “why” behind it? Not much. And it won’t resonate with people, especially those who yearn for a bigger reason to purchase beyond features and benefits.

2. Compelling Offer

Compelling offer

People buy emotionally.

Does your offer compel someone to act right now? And this isn’t always about how cheaply it is discounted. It’s the intangibles that often create the greatest emotional hooks.

3. Immersive

Are your marketing and advertising messages static or dynamic? Do they suck people in? Do they make people want to share them with others? We need something dynamic to break free from the clutter.

4. Personalized


Increasing the level of personalization is critical to getting the customer to perceive your company actually cares. Who wants a stale, one-size-fits-all ad these days?

Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands fail to use them.

5. Great UX/UI

If the experience is clunky to navigate, who cares how great the product or service is. Make it easy for the user, not just the design and development team. And test it with groups of users to validate its usefulness.

6. Optin

In order to have successful interactive marketing campaigns, there must be a call-to-action, either to purchase (less likely) or to embark on an ongoing relationship (much more likely) through opting in to an email list where they will get relevant content (not product pitches initially) emailed to them at regular intervals and based on actions they take and behaviors they exhibit.

Only 39% of retailers send personalized product recommendations via email.


So you know each of the pillars of an interactive marketing campaign. But, what if you don’t have a massive budget to build solar gadgets and vendor machines to support your campaign?

There are mediums available for every budget.


Types of Interactive Content You Can Launch Today

The most read post on the New York Times’ website in 2013 was an interactive quiz called How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk!

Zenni Optical’s”You’ve Been Framed” quiz generated more than $1 Million in sales, 29,410 leads, and a 9,655% ROI in 6 short months:

You've Been Framed

Let your personality sing by taking the “Which Emoji Best Fits Your Marketing Personality” which we created for Curalate.

Emoji quiz

Today, 96% of users who start a BuzzFeed quiz finish it.

Polls/ Surveys

Polls and surveys can go viral due to their stickiness factor – people love to be heard. The most common examples are political polls:

CastLight Poll

SnapApp has created an interactive survey for Castlight Health to highlight the brewing behavioral health crisis.

Whitepapers/ Ebooks

Interactive whitepaper
Using interactive whitepapers or ebooks can draw the reader into an immersive experience that not only shows valuable information, but allows you to capture valuable information from the reader.

We’ve created one for a company called Element for their telematics product that allows someone to interact to gain a deeper understanding of how Element helps the transportation fleet market.

Try out our free LeadREV app, and make your PDF interactive in less than 3 minutes.


Interactive infographic

Infographics are still one of the most effective content types at generating links and engagement. Adding an immersive experience on top of that infographic where people can click on items to reveal information initially hidden will make it all the more compelling and likely to be shared.

Click on over to this example for TotalProtect Home Warranty.


March Madness interactive bracket
The most commonly known bracket in the United States is March Madness that happens each year, not surprisingly, in the month of March. There are 64 college basketball teams that are selected to play in the tournament, culminating in one national champion.

Fans go crazy over filling out their bracket with the teams they think are going to win each single-elimination game. Some of these brackets are printed, but others are interactive in a digital environment, allowing fans to win money or prizes for correct picks.

Play around with the NCAA interactive bracket here.



These are typically some type of financial calculator (insurance, loan, etc.) that give the user a quicker understanding of a financial situation based on a series of data inputs by the user. What makes it so engaging is the personalized output.

Check out the calculator from Kaufman Rossin for a great example.


Who doesn’t love games?

We spend 1 Billion hours a month, playing games on mobile devices, so this is a particularly sticky way to draw people into your brand. If you can get them hooked with a game, not only will they continue to play it routinely, they will share it with their friends and family.

Surprisingly, only 10% of marketers are using gamification in their interactive marketing strategy, so you can easily stand out from the crowd by using this method.

Interactive Videos

Brightcove Video.png
Including questions about knowledge, experience, or preference allows you to learn more about the consumer and draw them deeper into a richer, more tailored video experience, increasing the odds they become not just a casual purchaser, but a life-long customer and brand advocate.

Watch this example from Brightcove.

Here is another example from our friends at CEB:

CEB interactive video


Assessments use question-and-answer format to reveal qualifying details about a prospect, and provides personalized results based responses.

For example:

Service Now uses an interactive assessment titled “Blueprint for ITSM Reinvention” to identify user challenges, and place them at different stages in the funnel:

Interactive assessment example

The information collected will dictate which solutions are offered to each lead.

Challenges of Interactive Marketing

“Interactive marketers should prepare themselves for the instability that comes with an experimental medium…. [those] who can get comfortable with this level of uncertainty will thrive in the Splinternet by reaping the benefits of highly engaged customer interactions.”

-The Splinternet : Preparing For An Internet Fragmented By Devices And Passwords

-10x Higher Volume of Campaigns

Whereas direct marketers might run several campaigns each week, interactive marketers may create hundreds of campaigns each day!

Systematizing the process in order to scale is crucial.

Budget, Strategy, & Pre-Planning

55% of those who are interested in implementing interactive content don’t due to inadequate staffing and 38% because of lack of budget according to a survey from the Content Marketing Institute.

Even when we have the budget necessary, most of us are itching to move to the implementation stage. Maybe our organization has put pressure on us to deliver results, or we are naturally wired to jump in the deep end right away.

Regardless, it’s vital to slow down and plan out the process.

here are many moving parts of interactive marketing that are crucial to plan well in order to obtain the desired results.

Some People Feel Alienated

Some people may not perform well and might transfer their disappointment in the game to your brand. Encourage them during the process and give them extra chances to get the questions right, even if at first they get them wrong.

Some People Revolt

There is a segment of the population that gets weirded out by personalized targeting; it can seem creepy to them unless they are dealing with a face-to-face human. Be aware of this and allow customers a way to opt-out of personalization.

Personalization is Tough

There are many scenarios where this select group of customers will likely buy product “B” after buying “A”, but that doesn’t always work for every single person in that segment.

Siloed Data

Interactive marketing siloes

This is a common refrain from organizational leaders, and if we are to be effective with interactive marketing, we shall have to break down those technical, organizational, and communication walls and combine or build links for communication among data silos. If we don’t, efforts to launch this strategy will continually run into roadblocks and delay.

Tech Troubles

With the mountain of technology options mushrooming by the day, it can be hard to cut through the clutter.

Seek trusted recommendations from those with more experience executing interactive marketing campaigns. They will likely be able to guide you on which features are most aligned with your campaign needs.

How to Build an Interactive Marketing Campaign
Building interactive marketing campaigns

By now you know what interactive marketing is, why it’s valluable, seen some examples and learned about the potential roadblocks. Now it’s for the rubber to hit the road.

Here is a simple four-step process to launch your first interactive marketing campaign:

1. Identify “If/Then” Triggers That Nurture Users

It all starts with finding out what are the events or triggers that will nurture people from first-time visitor to brand champion. What are the main touchpoints, and which information do you need to personalize messaging and move them further down the funnel.

To craft a framework for seamlessly nurturing users, follow these universal steps:

  1. Identify triggers: Use customer feedback, analytics and personas to understand what prompts to connect with your brand. Topics, keywords, images, content types – find out what prompts the initial touchpoint.
  2. Create responses: Once you know why users engage, craft the response that will encourage the necessary conversion response at each stage of the funnel.
  3. Evaluate success: Establish and monitor KPIs to see what is, and is not working.
  4. Operationalize: After you’ve seen success, scale the approach. You’ll want to automate the process.
  5. Refine: Finally, dial-in your efforts to maximize success across specific users.

This framework models a very agile approach to marketing.

2. Create Messaging and a Call-to-Action for Each Trigger
Personal CTAs convert higher - graph
Personalize messaging, including a CTA for each stage as you nurture them through the sales funnel.

Here are some examples to help you visualize how this might look:

Examples of personal CTAs

3. Monitor & Analyze Metrics to Inform

This stage is important to first identify your most important goals – brand awareness, leads, reactivating lost customers, increasing lifetime value or converting more leads into paying customers.

Outline the strategy, tactics and KPIs you will use to assess progress and performance. Make sure you get buy-off from all stakeholders, otherwise the measurement process will be muddied, and success hard to capture.

4. Iterate & Improve

As you complete the initial campaign measurement, it’s time to fix what’s broken and leave what’s working. This isn’t a one-time event, and needs continual process improvement.

Interactive Marketing Demystified

Well, there you have it, the definitive guide to interactive marketing. We’ve covered definitions, value, examples, types, pillars, challenges, benefits, and a simple 4 step process for getting started.

Let us know in the comments if we should add any elements to enlighten you further.


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