The True Effect Of Interactive Media

Interactive is a term that can encompass the entire buzzword category -- social, viral, mobile, digital and even most non-traditional (for all you experiential or promotions gurus!). These terms have been floating around for the last decade, but they all boil down to one core result: consumers have options about the messages they receive.

How does this relate to the teen category? As children grow into teens and mature into adults, certain tried-and-true paid media strategies will be less effective. It is increasingly important to look at the underlying shift in behavior and media consumption that is occurring in order to utilize the most effective mix possible.

So what are the underlying shifts that are occurring?

1. Active media is becoming passive media, but it's still important. It's cool to say "traditional is dead," but is it really? According to several studies, TV is still the most effective way to reach a mass audience quickly. Studies are also showing that teens are more receptive to television advertising than you would think -- just check out this report from Nielsen highlighting a study from the What Teens Want conference.



As an advertiser, you're more likely to reach a mass segment of your audience using traditional impression-based media even if you're paying for un-targeted impressions based on the volume of impressions you are able to gain. A number of media vendors are smartly beginning to package interactive media opportunities with traditional placements, driving up the value that is received by buying into the medium. TV, print, and radio will no longer be the main driver to instant action; however, they drive brand awareness, which makes your audience more likely to visit a social media page, click a banner ad, and/or participate in an event.

2. Experience is everything. A major shift in behavior is the role of instant gratification. Increasingly, consumers are given an instant high online and offline, and your marketing strategy better account for this when a teen interacts with your brand. Online, teens can spend hours reading Facebook gossip the instant that it is posted. Offline, mobile devices are bridging the gap between these interactions and are providing a forum for people -- at any point in the day -- to get that instant feeling.

Whether teens are interacting online or offline, the brand experience is what's important. Make use of co-branded artistic opportunities with music, such as Nike did with the band Ok Go, or movies/videos, applications or adver-games. If you want to kick it old school, run a simple promotion, contest or sweepstakes. But keep in mind that the next step down the path to teen marketing Zen is providing payoff to the effort they're putting into interacting with your campaign; a simple offer won't cut it.

3. Coupons are cool again. Strike that -- loyalty programs are cool. Once you've opened up that two-way street with your consumer, invest in the community. If it's Facebook, build out and maintain your page. If it's an in-store rewards system, make it something that's better than your competitors' rewards systems.

Keep in mind the most important marketing message of all: the one that doesn't include any marketing. If you're going to build goodwill with teens, it's important not to come across like a used car salesman. Include relevant, cultural content to your fans or loyalty network to drive interaction. That will ensure your marketing messages are read and, more importantly, accepted when you have something valuable to say.

In closing, it's important to look deeper into the shifts that are occurring in consumer behavior and not just the tactics. Make sure you utilize proven tactics efficiently, dive deeper into what will really work, and provide value beyond the initial interaction.

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