Real-Time Marketing

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.

Real-Time MarketingReal-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 MediaSocial 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.
AgilityAgility 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

Real-time marketing is a form of marketing that occurs in real-time where brands market to customers in response to local, national, or worldwide events that may occur online or offline.

In essence, the brand endeavors to insert itself into conversations that are already occurring on social media and other channels to increase its exposure.

Real-time marketing started as a way for marketers to secure a slice of the ever-shortening consumer attention span which now sits at a mere 8 seconds.

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

Real-time marketing is a somewhat nuanced strategy that requires preparation and planning to the extent that it is possible to forecast events.

Here are three best practices a business should consider in any case:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


Oreo’s real-time marketing campaign in response to a power cut at Superbowl XLVII is one of the most popular examples of the strategy.

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.

Key takeaways:

  • 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.

Case Studies

  • 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

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where the marketing and sales departments come together to create personalized buying experiences for high-value accounts. Account-based marketing is a business-to-business (B2B) approach in which marketing and sales teams work together to target high-value accounts and turn them into customers.


Ad Ops – also known as Digital Ad Operations – refers to systems and processes that support digital advertisements’ delivery and management. The concept describes any process that helps a marketing team manage, run, or optimize ad campaigns, making them an integrating part of the business operations.

AARRR Funnel

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.

Affinity Marketing

Affinity marketing involves a partnership between two or more businesses to sell more products. Note that this is a mutually beneficial arrangement where one brand can extend its reach and enhance its credibility in association with the other.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Bullseye Framework

The bullseye framework is a simple method that enables you to prioritize the marketing channels that will make your company gain traction. The main logic of the bullseye framework is to find the marketing channels that work and prioritize them.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Dilution

According to inbound marketing platform HubSpot, brand dilution occurs “when a company’s brand equity diminishes due to an unsuccessful brand extension, which is a new product the company develops in an industry that they don’t have any market share in.” Brand dilution, therefore, occurs when a brand decreases in value after the company releases a product that does not align with its vision, mission, or skillset. 

Brand Essence Wheel

The brand essence wheel is a templated approach businesses can use to better understand their brand. The brand essence wheel has obvious implications for external brand strategy. However, it is equally important in simplifying brand strategy for employees without a strong marketing background. Although many variations of the brand essence wheel exist, a comprehensive wheel incorporates information from five categories: attributes, benefits, values, personality, brand essence.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Customer Lifetime Value

One of the first mentions of customer lifetime value was in the 1988 book Database Marketing: Strategy and Implementation written by Robert Shaw and Merlin Stone. Customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the value of a customer to a company over a period of time. It represents a critical business metric, especially for SaaS or recurring revenue-based businesses.

Customer Segmentation

Customer segmentation is a marketing method that divides the customers in sub-groups, that share similar characteristics. Thus, product, marketing and engineering teams can center the strategy from go-to-market to product development and communication around each sub-group. Customer segments can be broken down is several ways, such as demographics, geography, psychographics and more.

Developer Marketing

Developer marketing encompasses tactics designed to grow awareness and adopt software tools, solutions, and SaaS platforms. Developer marketing has become the standard among software companies with a platform component, where developers can build applications on top of the core software or open software. Therefore, engaging developer communities has become a key element of marketing for many digital businesses.

Digital Marketing Channels

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Field Marketing

Field marketing is a general term that encompasses face-to-face marketing activities carried out in the field. These activities may include street promotions, conferences, sales, and various forms of experiential marketing. Field marketing, therefore, refers to any marketing activity that is performed in the field.

Funnel Marketing

interaction with a brand until they become a paid customer and beyond. Funnel marketing is modeled after the marketing funnel, a concept that tells the company how it should market to consumers based on their position in the funnel itself. The notion of a customer embarking on a journey when interacting with a brand was first proposed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis in 1898. Funnel marketing typically considers three stages of a non-linear marketing funnel. These are top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). Particular marketing strategies at each stage are adapted to the level of familiarity the consumer has with a brand.

Go-To-Market Strategy

A go-to-market strategy represents how companies market their new products to reach target customers in a scalable and repeatable way. It starts with how new products/services get developed to how these organizations target potential customers (via sales and marketing models) to enable their value proposition to be delivered to create a competitive advantage.


The term “greenwashing” was first coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 at a time when most consumers received their news from television, radio, and print media. Some companies took advantage of limited public access to information by portraying themselves as environmental stewards – even when their actions proved otherwise. Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing practice where a company makes unsubstantiated claims about an environmentally-friendly product or service.

Grassroots Marketing

Grassroots marketing involves a brand creating highly targeted content for a particular niche or audience. When an organization engages in grassroots marketing, it focuses on a small group of people with the hope that its marketing message is shared with a progressively larger audience.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Hunger Marketing

Hunger marketing is a marketing strategy focused on manipulating consumer emotions. By bringing products to market with an attractive price point and restricted supply, consumers have a stronger desire to make a purchase.

Integrated Communication

Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is an approach used by businesses to coordinate and brand their communication strategies. Integrated marketing communication takes separate marketing functions and combines them into one, interconnected approach with a core brand message that is consistent across various channels. These encompass owned, earned, and paid media. Integrated marketing communication has been used to great effect by companies such as Snapchat, Snickers, and Domino’s.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Myopia

Marketing myopia is the nearsighted focus on selling goods and services at the expense of consumer needs. Marketing myopia was coined by Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt in 1960. Originally, Levitt described the concept in the context of organizations in high-growth industries that become complacent in their belief that such industries never fail.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Meme Marketing

Meme marketing is any marketing strategy that uses memes to promote a brand. The term “meme” itself was popularized by author Richard Dawkins over 50 years later in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. In the book, Dawkins described how ideas evolved and were shared across different cultures. The internet has enabled this exchange to occur at an exponential rate, with the first modern memes emerging in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Microtargeting is a marketing strategy that utilizes consumer demographic data to identify the interests of a very specific group of individuals. Like most marketing strategies, the goal of microtargeting is to positively influence consumer behavior.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of the ability of a product or service to attract word-of-mouth advertising. NPS is a crucial part of any marketing strategy since attracting and then retaining customers means they are more likely to recommend a business to others.


Neuromarketing information is collected by measuring brain activity related to specific brain functions using sophisticated and expensive technology such as MRI machines. Some businesses also choose to make inferences of neurological responses by analyzing biometric and heart-rate data. Neuromarketing is the domain of large companies with similarly large budgets or subsidies. These include Frito-Lay, Google, and The Weather Channel.


Newsjacking as a marketing strategy was popularised by David Meerman Scott in his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. Newsjacking describes the practice of aligning a brand with a current event to generate media attention and increase brand exposure.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

We can define pull and push marketing from the perspective of the target audience or customers. In push marketing, as the name suggests, you’re promoting a product so that consumers can see it. In a pull strategy, consumers might look for your product or service drawn by its brand.

Real-Time Marketing

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.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Reverse Marketing

Reverse marketing describes any marketing strategy that encourages consumers to seek out a product or company on their own. This approach differs from a traditional marketing strategy where marketers seek out the consumer.


Remarketing involves the creation of personalized and targeted ads for consumers who have already visited a company’s website. The process works in this way: as users visit a brand’s website, they are tagged with cookies that follow the users, and as they land on advertising platforms where retargeting is an option (like social media platforms) they get served ads based on their navigation.

Sensory Marketing

Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive sensory marketing brand experiences. Long term, businesses must develop sensory marketing campaigns that are relevant and effective in eCommerce.

Services Marketing

Services marketing originated as a separate field of study during the 1980s. Researchers realized that the unique characteristics of services required different marketing strategies to those used in the promotion of physical goods. Services marketing is a specialized branch of marketing that promotes the intangible benefits delivered by a company to create customer value.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is a marketing strategy skewed toward offering a great experience to existing customers and incentivizing them to share it with other potential customers. That is one of the most effective forms of marketing as it enables a company to gain traction based on existing customers’ referrals. When repeat customers become a key enabler for the brand this is one of the best organic and sustainable growth marketing strategies.

360 Marketing

360 marketing is a marketing campaign that utilizes all available mediums, channels, and consumer touchpoints. 360 marketing requires the business to maintain a consistent presence across multiple online and offline channels. This ensures it does not miss potentially lucrative customer segments. By its very nature, 360 marketing describes any number of different marketing strategies. However, a broad and holistic marketing strategy should incorporate a website, SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, public relations, in-store relations, and traditional forms of advertising such as television.

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