April 02, 2013 - Comments Off on Real-time Marketing – Hit or Miss?

Real-time Marketing – Hit or Miss?

Real time marketing, the practise of hijacking high profile events with relevant content, is making waves, with brands like Oreo reaping the benefits from creative content at the Super Bowl and Daytona 500.

Oreo’s timely intervention during the power cut at the Super Bowl, when it tweeted “You can still dunk in the dark”, generated more than 16,000 retweets and over 6,100 favourites on Twitter, showed that real-time marketing can deliver big results.

Real time marketing requires a team of creative content developers to be available and reacting to events and trends. When it works the brand can win big and when it doesn’t it can open up a social media backlash because of the interruptive  nature of this kind of marketing.

When Twitter memes rise and fall in a few hours it makes sense for brands to react quickly if they are to benefit. It requires an element of bravery to put aside lengthy corporate approvals and trust creative teams to use their own judgement.

Perhaps the earliest example of real time marketing was the stratospherically successful Old Spice Campaign. The campaign broke in February 2010 with a spot during the Super Bowl. Numerous iterations were rolled out by the brand and fuelled by social media feedback.

The campaign set the standard with 236 million YouTube Views, 80,000 Twitter followers in two days and a sales figure increase of 107 per cent.

It is early days for this form of marketing and brands are feeling their way. I feel they should be applauded for embracing the speed at which marketing now needs to move. Inevitably, some of the ideas will fall flat but that must be part of the game.

If brands don’t get onboard with this kind of marketing they risk missing out on a powerful way to engage an audience. The benefits span the marketing spectrum from brand awareness to SEO.

Real time marketing is happening, now, and it will be early adopters who make the biggest gains. It can prove to be hard miles for a brand to kick start a conversation with consumers.

Consumers have conversations with each other all the time and brands can be a part of those conversations. The brands that do it best, add to the conversation.

Inevitably social media is constantly pushing the boundaries and changing how marketers reach consumers and expectations of how much control brands have over the message.

Marketers live in interesting times, a more fluid and less centralised approach to campaigns are required. Success depends on having a shared laser focus on the brand and its values. This will enable a faster, leaner and more efficient approach to marketing.

I’ve written a longer piece on what real time marketing means for brands for Prolific North, which you can read here.