Customers yearned for more app-like experiences.

That's when ion interactive saw the light for its cloud-based landing-page platform: the world is shifting from landing pages that gate content to marketing apps that are content.

Marketing apps are, in fact, "the next wave of digital marketing," ion interactive claims. It's why the Boca Raton, Fla., and Cambridge, Mass.-based provider today revises its platform for marketers to include tailored, responsive web marketing apps using a drag-and-drop creative studio without the programming requirements. It announced the news this morning at the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco.

Content Overload

"The world is suffering from content overload, and it's almost all passive content," Scott Brinker, president and chief technology officer at ion interactive, told CMSWire. "The burden is on the audience to read eBooks and read white papers and read blog posts, or sit through webinars and videos, and that is both time consuming and repetitive."

customer experience, Are Marketing Apps the 'Next Wave' of Digital Marketing? #mktgnation14

Ion interactive wanted to avoid the deluge from that kind of "static content." Through its marketing apps, white papers become participatory learning apps, pricing spreadsheets become interactive calculators, a blog post on best practices becomes a step-by-step self-assessment tool and a solutions brief becomes an online configurator.

"With marketing apps, you're engaging prospects actively," said Brinker, the creator of the marketing technology landscape infographic. "You help them reach the information or insight that is most relevant to them, not by guessing based on a weak personalization profile, but by asking them in a more interactive fashion. We believe marketing apps are part of the bigger trend of marketing evolving from delivering communications to delivering experiences."

How it Works

Ion interactive's marketing app platform is provided as software-as-a-service (SaaS) on the web. Marketers can use the already-created apps and plug in their own content or create, extend and remix them to build their own original apps.

Also through the platform, marketers can:

  • Design responsive web pages and apply rules-based logic, multi-step flows and animated behaviors to craft digital experiences
  • Modify their apps, create different variations, and A/B test alternatives on their own

Brinker said the platform primarily targets mid-market and enterprise customers. Subscriptions to the platform start at $1,295 per month. It will work on any device.

"This is the evolution of the platform we built for advanced landing pages and microsites," Brinker told CMSWire.

Asked whether ion interactive is targeting B2B marketers or B2C, Brinker said both, adding that "in many ways, B2B and B2C share the similar challenge: how to engage prospects in a way that is more useful and entertaining. It's more active content than passive content."

Why this Product? 

Brinker said making his team's platform different than other vendors of marketing apps "is that our studio lets you create your own apps, however you envision them."

"You can mix and match the DNA of several," he added. "For instance, you can put a quiz into an interactive white paper. Or you can put a calculator at the end of your assessment tool. Or you can invent something entirely new. We're combining the complete freedom of a state-of-the-art web design studio with the ability to have app-like logic, flow and behavior."

Users have had success with things like quizzes that are designed to teach you about a topic or an issue as you navigate them, Brinker said. Some of them have been structured more as assessment tools, which walk prospects through a self-rating exercise to arrive at a series of recommendations.