Randy Rensch: interactive copywriter
Randall Rensch, Marketing Communication Concepts and Copywriting 

Okay, there are exceptions...

Since I wrote this article – yipes! – over a decade ago, Web 2.0 has melded with the general online culture. So, okay, although my article's premise is still valid, now traditional networking and marketing techniques can't match the capabilities of Web 2.0 technologies (which we don't even bother to call 2.0 anymore). The Web isn't just a bunch of technologies, it has sculpted new social patterns.

Some online entities, like YouTube and Facebook, have potentially virtually universal appeal. But others serve limited cohorts, and people who don't get it may never care.

Will social networking and online marketing continue to grow? Certainly. Will all of the communities keep growing? No. Some will grow. Membership in others will just see users revolve. And we've seen many sites fail. (Consider the questionable status of even Google+.) Some change their business model to something less ambitious. (Or shall I say "less presumptive"?) Others, in "enhancing" themselves to have broader scope and/or a social angle have actually made their core service or interface cluttered and less usable (Yahoo's flickr comes to mind, as does Google's Picasa). And enhanced web (and mobile) technologies and social media still aren't reaching plenty of people who are otherwise very much online.

Regardless, there's the more basic type of website interactivity that traditional media can't match — on the web, you can make pages more entertaining, helpful and sticky in many ways: Personalization. Games. Surveys. Dynamic pages. Demonstrations. Messaging. Etc. The possibilities are as endless as the marketer's imagination.

That brings us full-circle. Because, at a yet more basic level, the capabilities of any medium are expanded by using imagination to stimulate imagination. Involve the reader/visitor. That's the basis of all interactivity. This fundamental definition of "interactive" is its most important . . . and will always be current.


Randall Rensch, Marketing Communication Concepts and Copywriting