The Interactive Marketing Content: Challenging Content with Audience's Control
Fri, 18 Jan 2019 || By Anindita Lintang Pakuningjati

On 28 December 2018, Netflix made quite a surprise to close the year by releasing a new Netflix original content of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. This is a Netflix's first interactive film content for the adult that allows the viewers to control the story by letting them choose what will happen next through options of situation and choices within the whole film story[1]. This format of experience that Netflix offered seems to gain success as a marketing strategy and displays a fresh approach in the competition of film streaming industry[2]. Besides, as a content Bandersnatch also gains huge attention and various responses from the audience from the compliment to the critique[3]. However, despite the massive sensation and responses, Bandersnatch opens the discussion about the emerge of interactive marketing content as this type of content has always been facing the challenges yet affects the marketing activity and the marketers.

As one of the approaches in the marketing, interactive content is not an innovation, particularly in digital marketing. Interactive marketing has been applied for decades, in various forms of content from the direct email to the social media[4]. Many International brands have been utilising the interactive content for their marketing perhaps because interactive content is believed as an effective way to gain more engagement, exposure and creating a distinctive identity for the audience[5][6].

However, despite its effectiveness, the choice to utilise an interactive content is always challenging. The marketer needs to be ready for the managerial implication from the conceptualization, production and the distribution[7]. The marketer needs to make sure that they fully understand the consumer as the consumer focus is of paramount importance[8]. Comprehensive market research might be crucial before the marketer makes a big step into the production. Meanwhile, in regard to the production, the interactive content unconsciously demands more effort and details. The production requires much effort due to the need of details to reduce the high risk that interactivity has[9].

Whereas, even though the marketer needs to understand the consumer deeper, the interactive content at the same time also can be used as the effective tool to gain consumer’s insight at the same time through the data mining. The interaction that the brand builds through the participation of audience could be a great source of audience’s pattern discovery which also becomes valuable data for the marketer[10].

As the popularity of interactive content rises, audiences are now not only being viewers but also being the part of the marketing itself. The audience becomes the focus of the marketing content from the preparation through market research to the content itself as they involve in the content or Bandersnatch's case, the audience involves in directing the content. In other word, the audience takes control of the marketing content.

In short, as a marketing approach, the use of interactive marketing content has been becoming one of the most favourite types of content that are used due to its effectiveness of creating audience's engagement. Even though it seems to offer promising effects, the marketer needs to consider the challenges that it has from the detail of conceptualization to the complicated production and execution to decrease the risk. However, the complicated process of making the interactive content could also be paid off with the data source mining that seems to be beneficial for the marketer.

One certain effect that the interactive content has brought is the significant role of audiences. The audiences become the core of the marketing, as they are not only the target but also being the ones who control the content itself. Apparently, we have not to get too surprised with the upcoming interactive content in the future. Today we might control the story, like what we did in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. We may do more than just deciding the story in the near future as the interactivity has endless possibilities.

Editor: Anisa Pratita Mantovani

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[1] Netflix, 2018

[2] The Interesting Engineering. Netflix Black Mirror is an Impressive Interactive Experience (Online). Available at https://interestingengineering.com/netflixs-black-mirror-bandersnatch-is-an-impressive-interactive-experience.[Accessed at 7-1-19].

[3] The New York Times. Bandersnatch has many paths, but do any of them add up to anything?. (Online) available at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/04/arts/television/bandersnatch-black-mirror-netflix.html [Accessed at 9-1-19].

[4] Harvard Business Review. The future of interactive marketing (Online) available at https://hbr.org/1996/11/the-future-of-interactive-marketing [Accessed 10-1-19].

[5] Demand Gen Report, ‘The State Content Marketing: Statistic and Report’ (Online) available at https://www.demandgenreport.com/resources/infographics/the-state-of-interactive-content-marketing-statistics-and-trends [Accessed at 8-1-19].

[6] File. K.M., Judd, B.B., and Prince, R.A. (1992).‘Interactive Marketing: The Influence of Participation of Positive Word-of-Mouth and Referrals’. Journal of Service Marketing, 6(4), pp.5-14.

[7] Huang, J., et al. (2013). ‘Attitude Towards the Viral Ad: Expanding Traditional Advertising Models to Interactive Advertising’. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 27, pp.36-46.

[8] Harvard Business Review, The future of interactive marketing.

[9] Ibid.,

[10] The Verge. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch could become Netflix’s secret marketing weapon.(Online). Available at https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/2/18165182/black-mirror-bandersnatch-netflix-interactive-strategy-marketing [Accessed at 8-1-19]