|Real-Time Marketing||– Real-Time Marketing is a marketing approach that involves creating and delivering time-sensitive, relevant content to engage with customers at the right moment. It leverages current events, trends, and customer behaviors to inform marketing strategies and deliver messages in real-time.|
|Responsive||– One of the key features of real-time marketing is its responsiveness. It requires brands to monitor social media, news, and other sources to identify opportunities for immediate engagement. This agility enables brands to capitalize on trends, viral content, or breaking news to connect with their audience.|
|Personalization||– Real-time marketing often relies on personalization. Brands use data and customer insights to tailor messages and offers to individual preferences and behaviors. This level of personalization increases the chances of resonating with customers and driving conversions.|
|Engagement||– The primary goal of real-time marketing is to engage customers when they are most receptive. By delivering relevant content at the right time, brands can capture the attention of their audience, encourage interactions, and foster a sense of community and loyalty.|
|Social Media||– Social media is a common platform for real-time marketing. Brands actively monitor platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to participate in trending conversations, respond to customer inquiries, and share timely content. Social media’s real-time nature makes it a valuable channel for immediate engagement.|
|Brand Reputation||– Effective real-time marketing can significantly impact brand reputation. By responding promptly to customer feedback, addressing issues, and aligning with current trends, brands can build trust, show authenticity, and demonstrate that they are in tune with their audience’s needs and concerns.|
|Content Creation||– Real-time marketing requires rapid content creation. Brands must be able to produce high-quality, relevant content quickly, whether it’s in the form of blog posts, videos, social media updates, or interactive experiences. This often involves having a skilled content creation team and efficient workflows in place.|
|Data Analytics||– Data analytics plays a crucial role in real-time marketing. Brands use data analytics tools to monitor real-time metrics, track campaign performance, and gain insights into customer behavior. This data-driven approach allows for continuous optimization of real-time marketing strategies.|
|Cultural Sensitivity||– Brands must exercise cultural sensitivity in real-time marketing. What may be trending or acceptable in one culture or region may not be appropriate in another. Missteps in this regard can lead to backlash and harm the brand’s reputation. Understanding cultural nuances is essential for global real-time marketing efforts.|
|Agility||– Agility is a core characteristic of real-time marketing. Brands need to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, whether it’s a social media crisis, a viral trend, or a significant news event. Being agile allows brands to seize opportunities and mitigate risks effectively.|
|Challenges||– Real-time marketing also presents challenges, including the need for 24/7 monitoring, potential content risks, and the pressure to maintain consistency across all interactions. Brands must strike a balance between being timely and ensuring their messaging aligns with their overall brand identity.|
|Conclusion||– Real-time marketing is a dynamic approach that can lead to meaningful connections with customers and drive engagement. However, it requires a combination of data-driven insights, agility, and cultural sensitivity to be effective. When executed well, real-time marketing can help brands stay relevant and responsive in a rapidly changing digital landscape.|
Understanding real-time marketing
In essence, the brand endeavors to insert itself into conversations that are already occurring on social media and other channels to increase its exposure.
The increasing frequency of news cycles has also meant that consumers are extremely desensitized to marketing messages.
With this in mind, it’s not difficult to appreciate how hard brands must work today to promote themselves and be remembered.
More recently, aspects of traditional B2C real-time marketing have been used in B2B contexts.
Some brands are building marketing campaigns around conferences and other live events that target attendees with text messages and so-called “live tweets”, while others are linking their products or services to industry trends and publications.
Real-time marketing best practices
Here are three best practices a business should consider in any case:
- Use the appropriate tools – to stay abreast of the latest trends and current events, it is best to use listening tools such as Google Alerts at the very least. Businesses should also monitor the strategies of competitors and use open data platforms capable of collecting, merging, and taking action on data in real-time. The latter ensures the brand can instantly respond to customers via their preferred touchpoints.
- Understand customer preferences – real-time marketing, like any form of marketing, requires the business to understand the needs, wants, desires, and preferred communication channels of customers. Knowing where each is located in the customer journey also ensures that marketing messages are relevant, convenient, and inoffensive.
- Plan where possible – while there is no way of planning for unforeseen or unexpected events, there are some ways marketers can be prepared for the opportunity once it presents itself. The team should be made aware of posting guidelines and acceptable standards of customer engagement. An appropriate tone and voice should also be clarified. More predictable events such as sports matches or holidays can also be marked on a calendar as a reminder.
Real-time marketing examples
Here are a few ways real-time marketing has been used successfully by brands.
The game was halted for 34 minutes while technicians tried to restore power, which proved to be the perfect amount of time for Oreo to join the social media discussion around the event.
The company then posted a tweet that read “Power out? No problem.” which was accompanied by a simple photograph featuring an Oreo with the words “You can still dunk in the dark” across the bottom.
When an individual named Carter Wilkerson casually asked Wendy’s how many retweets he would need to secure for a year’s worth of free chicken nuggets, the company replied that the number was 18 million.
What started as a bit of fun earned the company significant public attention as the tweet went viral.
Companies such as Google, Amazon, and Apple joined in on the action and Wilkerson found himself interviewed on the Ellen show and briefly featured in a Katy Perry music video.
Wilkerson ultimately fell short of 18 million retweets, but Wendy’s admired his efforts and decided to award him $1000 worth of gift vouchers anyway. The company also donated $10,000 to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in Wilkerson’s name.
While Wilkerson fell well short of his objective, the tweet was nevertheless shared almost 4 million times and became the most retweeted on the platform.
This earned Wendy’s an invaluable amount of (mostly) free exposure.
- Real-time marketing is as exactly as it sounds. It involves in-the-moment marketing to customers across any channel based on how that customer is interacting with the brand.
- Aspects of B2C real-time marketing have been used in B2B contexts. Some brands are building marketing campaigns around conferences and other live events that target attendees with text messages and so-called “live tweets.
- Excellent examples of real-time marketing in action include Oreos, which capitalized on a power cut at Superbowl XLVII, and Wendy’s, which rode the wave of free publicity after challenging a Twitter user to come up with 18 million retweets in exchange for chicken nuggets.
- Arby’s Pharrell’s Hat Tweet: During the 2014 Grammy Awards, musician Pharrell Williams wore a distinctive hat that garnered significant attention on social media. Arby’s, a fast-food restaurant chain, noticed the buzz and tweeted, “Hey Pharrell, can we have our hat back?” This playful tweet went viral and received widespread media coverage.
- Dunkin’ Donuts’ Royal Baby Tweet: When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son, Archie, was born, Dunkin’ Donuts shared a tweet with a photo of a donut featuring a crown and the caption, “Well, that’s one way to welcome a royal. #RoyalBaby.” This real-time response tapped into the trending news and showcased the brand’s creativity.
- Tide’s Super Bowl Stain Tweet: During a Super Bowl game, when viewers were focused on a key play, Tide cleverly tweeted a photo of a stained football jersey with the caption, “We can’t get your #SuperBowl party #stains, but we can get your stains #SuperBowl ready.” Tide continued to tweet about different stain scenarios throughout the game, maintaining engagement and humor.
- Kit Kat’s Apple Bending Tweet: When reports emerged that the iPhone 6 Plus could bend in users’ pockets, Kit Kat responded with a tweet showing a Kit Kat bar breaking in half with the caption, “We don’t bend, we #break.” This real-time response leveraged a trending issue to promote the product’s durability.
- NASA’s Mars Rover Landing Live Coverage: NASA’s coverage of the landing of the Mars rover Curiosity was a prime example of real-time marketing in a B2B context. NASA provided live updates, images, and videos of the rover’s landing, engaging audiences worldwide and generating excitement for space exploration.
- Oreo’s Daily Twist Campaign: Oreo’s “Daily Twist” campaign celebrated the brand’s 100th anniversary by creating 100 different ads in 100 days, each tied to a significant event or holiday. This campaign showcased Oreo’s ability to respond quickly to real-time events and trends while maintaining brand consistency.
Key Highlights of Real-Time Marketing:
- In-the-Moment Marketing: Real-time marketing involves delivering marketing messages to customers in response to current events or ongoing conversations, both online and offline.
- Shortening Attention Span: Real-time marketing aims to capture the attention of consumers, who now have an average attention span of just 8 seconds due to the frequent news cycles and desensitization to traditional advertising.
- Adaptation to B2B: Real-time marketing practices have expanded to B2B contexts, with some brands incorporating live events and conferences into their marketing strategies.
- Effective Tools: Brands use various tools like listening platforms and open data platforms to monitor trends, gather real-time data, and respond to customers promptly.
- Understanding Customer Preferences: Successful real-time marketing requires a deep understanding of customer needs, preferences, communication channels, and their position in the customer journey.
- Planning and Preparation: While unforeseen events cannot be fully anticipated, brands can prepare by establishing posting guidelines, defining tone and voice, and marking predictable events on a calendar.
Visual Marketing Glossary