Kathleen M. Joyce; Apr 1, 2005 12:00 PM
Web-based games and sweeps? Done that. Online loyalty fulfillment? Natch. Downloadable coupons? Oh, please — years ago! To be on the real cutting edge of interactive, marketers are looking to online video, multi-media messaging via cell phone and beyond.
As a result, brands are backing interactive initiatives with healthy doses of cash. While 19.4% of marketers polled for PROMO's 2004 Industry Trends Report said interactive was among their top three spending tactics, that number increased to 24.4% of those surveyed for 2005.
Nearly 70% (68.5%) of brand marketers said they will assign some portion of their budget this year to interactive promotions; the average was 7.6% of the total marketing budget, an increase over the 5.4% average allocation in 2004.
Where does the money come from? Primarily the advertising budget. Nearly 24% of brand respondents said they had shifted money from their ad silo to the interactive marketing side.
Don't feel too sorry for those old media types — many are finding ways to work with the new tools. Agency creatives love the “almost-TV” flavor they can get online, while marketers and their CFOs prize the data tracking of Web and cell-phone programs. And consumers prize instant gratification and fun from their favorite brands.
Fun and fast are key: Chevy launched a sweeps in March, using text messaging. The program, co-sponsored by regional entertainment magazine Quick, drove entries for a chance on a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. Of the 5,541 total entries, 3,568 came from local consumers who used texted “COBALT” to sweeps operators.
“Our young, professional readers lead extremely busy lives,” Quick General Manager Dave Schmall says. “We must be able to reach our audience while they are on the go. This [sweeps] reaffirmed our strategy and its impact.”
According to In-Stat/MDR, a research firm in
While short message (SMS) texting by marketers is less pervasive in the
Frito-Lay used both the Internet and texting to support its Doritos Black Pepper Jack rollout last September. “Texting is the language of Millennials [16- to 24-year-olds] and we wanted to reach them through their language,” says Frito-Lay's Jared Dougherty.
In addition to SMS trivia games, the Doritos' Web site featured an instant messaging (IM) interface that let teens unlock hundreds of video and audio clips and games. HipCricket,
Neither SMS nor Web programs happen in a vacuum. Both the Chevy and Doritos campaigns drew heavy support from TV, radio and outdoor spots, that drove key audiences online or to their phones.
Sometimes that support is sitting on the breakfast table. Kellogg's, for example, pushes kids and parents via on-pack promos to its EET and ERN site for games, product news and downloadable loyalty rewards. The four-year old site won a 2004 Gold PRO Award for its loyalty impact.
It's about relevance. As marketers make the interactive experience more valuable to the audience, participation rates will go up, and brand equity will increase.
More than 50% of Americans online use high-speed connections
Over 90% of cell phones in the U.S can send and receive text messages
Online marketing spend expected to grow 25% in