Marketing Apps Just Got Smahter at Harvard

Raise your hand if you have heard of Harvard.

Raise your hand if you have heard of marketing apps.

Raise your hand if you know about Harvard’s use of marketing apps on the ever-popular Harvard Lampoon site?

Well it happened! And why? Because they are super smaht (not a typo, pulling out the New England colloquialisms), that’s why.

We talk all the time, like a broken record, about how important it is to engage your audiences. Like, all. The. Time.  Because it is insanely important.  If your audience is not entertained, not engaged, not connected to your brand, then why bother? And, Harvard is like the intelligence motherload, so you KNOW if they are utilizing something, you should probably pay attention.


They’re also pretty witty (because that often goes along with the smarty pants gene), and decided to do a little spoof on the Huffington Post. They created a site called the Huffington Psst, with the intention of populating it with faux news, Buzzfeed-style quizzes and tons of other interactive stuff.  All in the name of entertainment and fun.  And while, we often show you customer examples of marketing apps in the wild, this was a little bit of a change as it showed the more wild side of marketing apps.

Here’s the best part about marketing apps.  They are an interactive vehicle to share your content in your way that will engage those who consume it.  Key words here : YOUR content YOUR way.  This post is not about Harvard’s content rather the fact that they see value in using marketing apps and why.

Harvard used the ion interactive marketing apps platform to create a parody site to be live for a month, chock-full of participatory content. Thank goodness for screenshots so we can share these examples with you post Psst. This is just a sampling of the oodles of apps Harvard built in ion, but it will give you an idea of how they pumped interactivity into their content.

Let’s dig in.

Quizzes are at an all time high. More popular than David Hasselhoff in Germany.  So Harvard had quite a few on their parody site.  It just goes to show you the flexibility and scalability you have when building a quiz. There are so many possibilities.


Know what else is at an all-time high? Superheros.  Everywhere you look - movies, merchandise, halloween costumes. So Harvard decided to capitalize on that popularity and create the, Are You a Superhero Quiz.  

Users are prompted through a few questions to determine if they are more of a Batman, CatWoman or even a Lance Bass (don’t kid yourselves people, he was part of the pivotal boyband movement... he’s totally a Superhero).

In addition to the wit and creativity that went into this quiz, Harvard also made sure to include two important elements related to interactive content.  1) The “try again” cue, because we all want people to try our stuff over and over. and 2) The social cues to get people share.  In the world of interactive content, sharing is most definitely caring.

Harvard also created a Choose Your Own Adventure Quiz.  

After prompts to choose one of the various make-believe adventures to contribute to the daydream that isn’t being at work, users were then given results to see what other daydreamers chose.


This example was also complete with the do-over and social prompts just like the first example. Different layout, different content, still a quiz.


Interactive content isn’t all quizzes and polls.  Sometimes it’s something like a soundboard.  In simple terms, you click on an image block and you hear the audio tied to it. Harvard Lampoon created one and the screenshot is below.  But here’s a link to a live one that is all kinds of Beyonce, to give you an idea of how they work to engage and entertain.

Three different examples of marketing apps in action, all with the same purpose—engage your audience.  

Interactive content is for everyone—B2B, B2C, big, small. It doesn’t matter. If you have the content, you can do it.  We obviously hope you choose to do it in ion, but even if you don’t, you should not pass up the opportunity to maximize your content.  

Make it pull people in, make it keep their attention, make it something they want to share. But please, make it interactive.

You know you've got some smart marketing apps when they make it to Harvard! The ivy leaguers provided some great examples of how to enlist marketing apps to engage their audience. From quizzes, to polls, to soundboards, they used it all! You know what else is smart? Checking out our interactive Content Marketing Guide! We'll arm you with tons of awesome and actionable info on how to get marketing apps working for you.