Ferris Bueller prophetically summed up the secret behind real-time marketing years ago: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” These days, consumer attention is targeted on the topic of the minute, something that social media exacerbates.
Perceptibly, life moves by a lot faster than it used to. With so much going on, and the fight for consumers’ attention akin to a global battle royale, brands have only the briefest of windows to truly cut through clutter with timely, relevant communications in exchange for an iota of consumer attention. Enter real-time marketing.
It involves a lot of looking around in order to be “Johnny on the spot,” lest the opportunity to zero-in on consumers with the right message at the right time is missed. Luckily, just as social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow consumers the opportunity to keep up-to-the-minute on global happenings, they also allow brands the chance to respond quickly with relevant real-time messaging around unfolding events.
Critical Mass’ VP Social Media, David Jones, will be on-hand at Dx3 Canada March 5-6 to present Five Things You Need To Know About Real-time Marketing.
What is real-time marketing?
It’s a great question, an important question, and it has so many answers depending on who you are and what your objectives are. I’ll be focusing on how brands are using their social presence to connect with people around important cultural moments.
“The job of any marketing is to connect with consumers long enough so that they feel some sort of relationship”
Why should brands connect in real-time?
Since social media became an important part of the marketing mix, brands have been trying to find their human, conversational voice and connect with consumers in this new medium. The job of any marketing is to connect with consumers long enough so that they feel some sort of relationship with your brand. As Terry O’Reilly has said in the past, marketing is a contract between a brand and its audience – I promise to provide value to you in some way and you agree to listen to the message about my brand. Doing that was hard enough when we were producing TV ads and billboards; now we have to do that all day, every day on our social channels. There is great opportunity, but also a lot of danger if we mess with that contract.
Is social media essential for real-time marketing success?
It depends on your perspective. Assuming we’re talking about things like Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark tweet and not geo-targeted text messages, then I’d say real-time marketing is expected within the social media channels that a brand uses to connect with its audience.
“Figure out ways to individually reward them for their dedication and attention in some small way on a regular basis.”
What are some unexpected ways to market in real-time?
I love the idea of using surprise and delight in the social spaces. Rewarding your fans/followers in unexpected ways through the social channels is within every brand’s power. Don’t treat all those Facebook fans and Twitter followers as a passive audience to broadcast to. Figure out ways to individually reward them for their dedication and attention in some small way on a regular basis. Starbucks Canada recently tweeted me a coffee because they saw it was my birthday. It was a small, simple gesture that also got me talking about their @TweetaCoffee service. Hailo tweets out discount codes to use at various events. That’s another way to simply reward a social following and keep spreading the message through offering value to your audience.
How do you think real-time marketing will evolve over the next few years?
The spirit won’t change, but as the various platforms mature and paid ecosystems evolve around them along with new social platforms emerging, we’ll continue to see innovative uses to connect with what matters to consumers. I can see things evolving to the point that when I walk into a store I’m pinged a message with a tailored offer based on whether I follow that store on social media. The convergence of social, mobile, geo-targeting, sensors and wearable tech will provide a fertile playground for mass customization of marketing in the future.
Learn more about David Jones’ 5 Things You Need To Know About Real-time Marketing at Dx3 2014.