The definition of Interactive Marketing by Wikipedia says it all:
"Interactive Marketing refers to the evolving trend in marketing whereby marketing has moved from a transaction-based effort to a conversation. The definition of interactive marketing comes from John Deighton at Harvard, who says interactive marketing is the ability to address the customer, remember what the customer says and address the customer again in a way that illustrates that we remember what the customer has told us (Deighton 1996). Interactive marketing is not synonymous with online marketing, although interactive marketing processes are facilitated by internet technology. The ability to remember what the customer has said is made easier when we can collect customer information online and we can communicate with our customer more easily using the speed of the internet. Amazon.com is an excellent example of the use of interactive marketing, as customers record their preferences and are shown book selections that match not only their preferences but recent purchases." (source: wikipedia)
Interactive marketing is a way to start up a conversation with your audience and goes beyond one specific channel. It's through the line marketing with a good mix between online, mobile, digital TV and offline.
No one way communication!
No dead end communication!
Also quite different from "e-marketing":
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
E-marketing is a type of marketing that can be defined as achieving objectives through the use of electronic communications technology such as Internet, e-mail, Ebooks, database, and mobile phone. It is a more general term than online marketingwhich is limited to the use of internet technology to attain marketing objectives. Dave Chaffey, working from a relationship marketing perspective, has defined e-marketing as:
- Applying Digital technologies which form online channels (Web, e-mail, databases, plus mobile/wireless & digital TV) to contribute to marketing activities aimed at achieving profitable acquisition and retention of customers (within a multi-channel buying process and customer life cycle) through improving our customer knowledge (of their profiles, behaviour, value and loyalty drivers), then delivering integrated targeted communications and online services that match their individual needs. (Source:  with permission of the author)
Chaffey's definition emphasises that:
- It should not be the technology that drives e-marketing, but the business returns from gaining new customers and maintaining relationships with existing customers.
- It also emphasises how e-marketing does not occur in isolation, but is most effective when it is integrated with other communications channels such as telemarketing, direct-mail, personal selling, advertising, publicity, sales promotion, and other promotional techniques.
- Online channels should also be used to support the whole buying process from pre-sale to sale to post-sale and further development of customer relationships where this is appropriate.
- It should be based on knowledge of customer needs developed by researchingtheir characteristics, behaviour, what they value, and what keeps them loyal.
- The web and e-mail communications should be personally tailoredto individual buyers based on the information obtained in the research.
- Online marketing
- The Cluetrain Manifesto
- Purple cow- Seth Godin
- Smith, P.R. and Chaffey, D. (2005) eMarketing eXcellence: at the heart of eBusiness. Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, UK. 2nd edition. http://davechaffey.com/E-marketing
- Joseph Jaffe - Jaffe Juice
The play ground of an eMarketing Manager
You can consider the eMarketing Manager as a "jack of all trades", playing the bridge between the marketing team and the IT Team. The eMarketing team therefore does not belong to either of them but functions as the glue between the two teams. In Most internationals you will find that the responsibilities of the eMarekting Manager is broken up between different people. In SME's the eMarketing Team will be most of the time consisting of 1 or 2 people, with a large part being outsourced to an 3rd party vendor. For multinational companies, the person leading the eMarketing team will have to be a strong and most of the time a strategic oriented person with very strong technical skills ranging from pure HTML coding to database management. Again, ideally the team would reside between IT and Marketing and thus reporting immediately to the sales team as it brings in most of the time immediately dollars to the table.
I spoke already briefly about outsourcing and yes, an eMarketing team, whether it is an individual, whether it is a group of people will use 3rd party resources, the main bottleneck for outsourcing is the following. The Online world has made it very easy to outsource as almost everything is being put in guidelines or objectively created standard, something other departments still haven't gotten to. Of course, one question you can ask yourself... do you have enough or the right people to be able to outsource? Don't forget that you need internal resources to evaluate what your agency has sent. But about this subject more later...
In short, an eMarketing manager or eMarketing team will handle the following:
Management of the websites
Direct e-mail Marketing (Online DM campaigns)
Anything that helps to make your websites alive: polls, surveys, sweepstakes, referral programs, loyalty programs etc
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Statistical research on the use of all online channels (measures by click through rates, unique visitors, visits, page views, lead generation, click to lead ratios etc.): every measurable KPI will be used (KPI = Key Performance Indicator)
Research & Development of new tools and trends + piloting new channels
To Outsource or not to outsource
In 2005, the word Outsourcing was one of those words that you could use on board meetings and impress Senior Managers. Let 's break this perfect picture. Outsourcing is indeed necessary because you cannot be specialist in all disciplines. But, outsourcing is more and more used as an excuse for not investing internally. For being able to outsource, you need at least 1 dedicated person following up those projects, that means that if you don't outsource at this moment, that you would need an additional person on top of the team to outsource and follow up projects, this person should be very close to the eMarketing Manager and also a "jack of all trades" as he or she will evaluate what you get from agencies, on a design and programming level. So a webdesigner with perfect project management skills is the perfect job description. This is of course for smaller projects, what about the bigger ones... than we are not speaking about only 1 person internally, but about a whole team evaluating every step of the process (task group of technical people). But don't forget that outsourcing also costs a lot of money, rates of 90 euros per hour (700 euros per day) are in some cases even the starting amount. So consider if your team doesn't need that extra person before thinking about outsourcing... A quick calculating... 1 outsource employee costs 700 euros per day multiplied with 22 working days makes 15400 euros, your average internal employee costs roughly 7 to 8000 euros per month. To you to decide what suites you best, but if you have a complete year one additional outsourced resource, than I would certainly consider moving that part internally.
Are we fighting against above the line and IT?
Plain and simple... NO. But the Marketing Team must consider that there is a new popular kid on the block. Traditional marketing as we know it is already 1 century old (with the invention of most of the marketing slang just after the second world war in the 60s), so quite normal that the world changes. People are moving online and we already speak about a "digital divide" , those who are able to go online and those that can't. Of course, don't make the mistake and try to turn your marketing team into online marketers, you'll only get traditional marketing ideas but than packaged in a weak online version.
Also, realise that the online world did shake up the traditional marketing ideas as it's more measurable and also, it introduced a new rule... the consumer is king (strange, we also heard this one in the 80s, but this time it's true ;-) )
Than the IT Team. We see that the IT Team is more and more left outside of that important board meeting and that's a very bad trend. Imagine that you make decisions about your company without having the CFO present, it's the same and it should not be happening. It also means that IT managers have to step up more as strategists and not only as the guys that only understand 1 and 0. Put on those strategy hads and listen to your customers, than translate it into IT needs and get it explained in human language to your board!
J-P De Clerk from Digimedia also asked me what I would give as advice to students wanting to work into the online world...
A - B - C
Accept ChangeThe online world is one of the fastest changing industries, what is a fact today can already be outdated tomorrow. So be ready to accept that what you have learned at school is outdated once you come to the business world. Constantly renewing your ideas and looking for trends is key to success
Be a spongeIt's not just a job, successful eMarketing Managers love what they do and will "live" on the internet as well. Trying out new things and being curious about new websites, blogs, trends etc is one of the key features of a good eMarketing Manager
Connect! You are not alone on this planet and you cannot anymore think that you consumer will accept anything you throw at him or her... they are in control, so connect to your audience and find out what they want and adapt your style of communicating to theirs.