Consumer interactivity has recently become the most talked-about phenomenon in marketing. Consumers now have almost complete control about what advertising they are, and aren’t, exposed to. Everywhere you look, marketing and advertising is evolving at a rapid pace to keep up with this trend. Free-TV and other traditional media are rumoured to be a dying breed; media planners need to be more innovative and outside-the-box than ever before. So where will this new trend take us?

First of all, some examples of consumer interactivity. The Nine Network had amazing foresight when they partnered with msn to offer the popular Ninemsn service. Seven later caught on, partnering with Yahoo. Consumers can now search, check the weather, read news articles and much more, via the one website portal. Foxtel now offers their i-interactive service, where you press the red button to receive more information about a particular product or service. Consumers can now enter competitions just by sending a quick text message. Second Life, the amazing virtual world, meant consumers could purchase virtual products and visit brand islands in the comfort of their own home. Company and consumer blogs allow consumers to comment on products, brands and companies to the whole world without fear or favour. McDonalds implemented their ‘Name-It’ burger campaign in late 2007 which saw consumers voting on what to call their newest burger. The examples are simply endless.

Today’s technology driven world has created the modern consumer. No longer are we passive viewers and receivers of information. We participate, control, filter and monitor. And we like it.

In 2008, this trend will only become more dominant. Big advertisers like Holden, McDonalds, Coke, Ford, and of course the Beer companies will lead the way with unique interactive media approaches. It wouldn’t surprise me if McDonalds asked consumers to submit their own new product ideas, or if Holden provided virtual test-drives of their new models. Whatever the case, this is a trend that can’t be ignored.

My advice? Worship thy consumer. Ignore them, and you can kiss your profits goodbye.