What's hot in interactive marketing.

After having explained what interactive marketing is to I've lost count how many marketing and advertising professionals, I thought it was time to make my own little list of what according to me are the main trends in interactive marketing today. The idea is to go deeper into each subject over the coming weeks/months, but to get things started, here is my "par 4 of marketing today":

Tee shot: "Power to the people"

We start with a long distance shot. The hole is not yet in sight, but if we want to score we'll need to take some riscs.
It's probably many advertiser's nightmare, but indeed the power is to the people today. We know for some time that consumers are no long ignorant sheep that will swallow any message, as long as you push hard enough. But today, thanks to modern technology consumers are empowered from two sides. On one hand they are spoiled with tools to choose which message they want to receive, rather then just sit and wait untill the commercial break is over. Interactive TV and PVR, opt-in newsletters, podcasting, video on demand, etc. The consumers decides what to watch. On the other hand, with a €1000 digital video camera and a standard personal computer the consumer can now make surprisingly entertaining content. And considering the succes of blogs, there is no reason why a number of these creatives would not switch to a cool video blog.
So not only do consumers now decide what to watch when, but they also have all the tools to make the content themselves.

On the fairway: "Content is king"

OK, we've hit the fairway now.
Indeed content can be created by anybody nowadays, but a bit of know-how and experience do help when it comes to entertaining people. And considering the consumers' power to choose, they will only choose to look at what they consider worth watching, reading or listening to. Therefore the 'old' (that is, old in Internet years) 'content is king' is now applicable to any medium. You'd better make sure that whatever you make, it's worth the time consumers will spend on it. And this goes just as well for a radio show, a TV commercial or the next sweepstake you organize.

Around the green: "Convergence & divergence"

Almost there, just need to get close enough to the pin.
So consumers are in charge, and so are customers. Particularly customers of ad agencies, who are looking for an answer to an issue they have. Be it sales or branding or some promotion. What the answer is? That's up to the agency to decide, they are the experts. It could be a TV spot, or an event, or a viral action online. So if the agency wants to be able to give the right answer, they have to have competences available for all media. As a result, different types of agencies (DM, interactive, event, etc.) are forging cooperation agreements or simply melt together.
On the other hand, however, technology has turned the concept of 'media' upside down. If a 'medium' is 'a way to reach a public' then the number of media is diverging. TV on your mobile, radio on your laptop, etc. So rather then having a screen to watch and a radio to listen to, we can now access any content through either one of 'the three screens': TV (lean back), PC (lean forward) and mobile (on the go).

Final put: "Performance based marketing"

Finally, the ultimate put. A fragile balance of power and precision. Many a player would love to be able to exactly quanitify the power needed to reach that put, but allas ...
That used to be the case in advertising too, but no more! Marketers (and shareholders) want to know what the effect is of all this marketing spending. What if we would only pay if a consumer actually thought the message was relevant?
This has now become reality throught pay-per-click and even pay-per-acquisition programmes. Google offers it with adwords, MSN does it with their DM offer and a number of affiliation networks offering the same are rapidly rising.

So far for this introduction. Hope to find the time to elaborate on each of these subjects over the coming weeks.