In today’s up-to-the-second digital landscape, marketers are becoming increasingly interested in how they can capitalize on the NOW. This strategy, known as real time marketing, is basically the idea of tying in company or client promotion with ongoing trending topics, thus capitalizing on the interest and attention of target audiences around a particular subject. Whether you choose to live-tweet episodes of Scandal or tie-in a shoe sale with the latest celebrity red carpet event, success lies in being agile, adaptable, and open to change.
Here are 3 basic principles of real time marketing:
1. Real Time Marketing campaigns are time-sensitive
In the past, PR and marketing campaigns could be developed and then released 6 months or even up to a year in the future. Real time marketing takes a vastly different approach, favoring short, micro-campaigns over long, big-bang campaigns. In today’s ever-changing landscape, planning large-scale campaigns too far into the future means that you run the risk of no longer being relevant by the launch date. By shortening both length and incubation period of campaigns, brands can ensure that the content is relevant, timely, and aligned with audience interests.
How to do it: Develop an annual plan with everygreen campaign ideas (those messages you know are relevant no matter what the current hashtag obsession may be), but schedule quarterly or even monthly planning sessions wherein you outline the overview for a micro-campaign on a particular platform. Execute, test and refine what works.
2. Real Time marketing requires a “run with it” approach (rather than endless rounds of review)
By its very nature, the real time approach to marketing is all about capitalizing on trending topics as opposed to sticking to a plan. PR, marketing and social media teams need to be empowered to move quickly on an idea, or risk being late to the party; producing a campaign that falls flat because the audience has moved onto something else.
How to do it: Beach House PR has implemented a “pop culture” team check-up every morning to ensure on-topic social media content on the daily. As the Beach House team learns of major cultural events, such as the season finale of The Bachelor or a Kim Kardashian meme that’s making waves on the internet, the team works together to immediately incorporate these trending topics into our content plan.
3. Real-Time Marketing Produces Immediate Results
Real time content publishing comes with real time analytics, arguably the most important element for pitching the value of this approach to decision-makers. At Beach House PR, we’ve begun to think of every social media post as a test, success lies in part in receiving immediate audience feedback through likes, comments, clicks and shares. Recently. during a major product launch on social media, we noticed that our target audience wasn’t engaging at all. Instead, an entirely new demographic had jumped into the conversation and their feedback showed that they were passionate about this new product. In discovering this new target, we switched gears, created content catered specifically to this new audience, and ended up increasing overall campaign engagement by up to 80%.
As the Beach House team learns of major cultural events, such as the season finale of The Bachelor or a Kim Kardashian meme that’s making waves on the internet, the team works together to immediately incorporate these trending topics into our content plan.
How to do it: Anticipate measures of success (or failure) during your planning process, and discuss potential work-arounds as a kind of pre-Mortem. Assign a team member to evaluate engagement in real-time and ensure team members are available and empowered to change mid-course.
At it’s core, real time marketing is all about serving the customer what they want, and modifying strategies based on immediate feedback. Real time marketing welcomes change and requires a quick reaction time. Over time, these practices help to create a strong emotional connection with consumers, as the brand begins to think, act, and experience life in a way that mirrors that of its target audience.