Making the most of interactive screens in marketing

Stephen Kim, senior director for Microsoft Branded Entertainment and Experiences Team and Chris Maples, sales director for Microsoft Advertising argue that marketers need to stop thinking digital is separate, and focus on converging media using the different “screen” touchpoints.

Stephen Kim
Stephen Kim

The world of media is converging with “screens” becoming core to advertising in the 21st century.

These changes are fundamentally testing marketers and introducing demands from consumers that brands engage with them and maintain a dialogue across all touchpoints and platforms.

It means that the days of advertising being purely focused on the “interrupt an repeat” philosophy are long gone. Instead, marketing must be treated as a business decision-making tool – one that satisfies consumer desires and simultaneously helps to drive brand equity.

A lot of marketers claim they struggle with digital, and are uncertain as to how to adapt to this changing environment. Yet, the fact is there is no such thing as digital marketing, because everything is digital now in some way or another. The struggle actually centres on the new real-time nature of marketing, which has created a sink or swim world for brands.

Yet, marketing has not actually changed – it’s just the methods you use to embrace technology and satisfy customer demands that have evolved. The wide array of screens available means there are boundless and limitless opportunities out their to create an active dialogue with consumers and keep relationships alive.

For example, when we work with clients looking to maximise interactive exposure, we are able to recommend a series of screens that can give consumers something they desire, whilst also helping to drive business. This includes themes in Windows 7 that can be viewed offline, in-game advertising on the XBox, content on Windows Mobile, interactive ads and content on the web and the use of touchscreen technology such as Surface in retailers.

It’s not just Microsoft that offer these technologies, but the point is that ads don’t just have to be a simple blast message any more, they shouldn’t be, they must embrace the consumer instantly and reach out to them whenever they want and wherever they are.

It’s important to go back to basics. Everything starts with the consumer. So as a marketer you need to be thinking of core questions such as where will they go to find out more information, what might they want to know, how can we make life simple for our customers and so on.

Chris Maples
Chris Maples

Once you realise there’s more than one platform to engage with them, it’s important to know what you want to achieve from the technologies you are using – be it tracking social media or helping to drive customers to the point of purchase and complete a transaction.

Chief marketing officers tend to work with us and ask us how they can navigate through all the content online about them. The simple answer is you can’t spend your time concerned about everything, but you have to be open to keeping a story going with your customers wherever they are.

It’s important to think about how to futureproof your brand and not be left behind. In marketing terms, it’s about knowing where and when to make your presence known and how the screens can help you to achieve the brand ambitions. From a business point of view, it means you increase your credibility to your own benefit.

The traditional perceptions of marketing are changing as more and more of these screens are launched on the market. Only recently, we heard of screens actually being in physical magazines. The key for marketers now is to think savvy and find new ways to satisfy customer interest and business objectives in one campaign move – fundamental to this will be the integration of the screens as consumers become equally as savvy.

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