I was watching TV with my dad the other day and we saw a commercial. Well sort of. The commercial started out like a wheel of fortune puzzle. So my dad and I tried to solve it before the 5 second time ran out. My dad got it first and asked the TV “What do I win?” The puzzle was followed by a commercial for a car dealership. When the promotional spot was over they returned to the puzzle and said something about thank you for playing, this puzzle was brought to you by blah blah. This was the first example of Interactive marketing I had seen in real time.
My dad was obviously confused. He has been marketed at for the last 50 years. Prior to the mas distribution of the internet the marketing game was very different. People were the victims of Outbound Marketing. Inbound Marketing by Halligan and Shah is a wonderful read and explains this very well. They note that most people find marketing as an interruption than anything else. Like when my dad and I watching Chuck on NBC and this Wheel of Fortune Puzzle comes up. We are less likely to leave the room and go get some Ice Cream from the Kitchen. Why? We feel as if me must complete the puzzle. Whether it is to interact with each other or the TV in general we feel part of something larger. Like we are contributing to the TV watching experience. If the car commercial had just appeared on its own we would have seen it as an interruption and ignored it.
The funny part is we both sat through the whole commercial. I don’t know what we were looking for. Perhaps since we sovled the puzzle we wanted to know what we got for being so smart. (There’s Pavlov’s theory again.) Ah, the era of Outbound Marketing is over and the era of Inbound Marketing is here. Lets embrace it and ride the wave! Stay Tuned…..