When it comes to real-time marketing, the emblematic example cited is typically Oreo’s famous “you can still dunk in the dark” Super Bowl campaign ad. While the lights in the Super Bowl stadium might have been off, the brains of Oreo’s advertising people were certainly on. The team was able to come up with that simple but clever ad on the fly, and it went viral. Capitalizing on real-time events, from natural disasters to power outages to Tina Fey’s killer dress at the Golden Globes, is an important aspect of real-time marketing. But there is more to real-time marketing than that.
Real-time marketing can be used to effectively respond to a variety of different types of data. This includes weather, location, behavioral, demographics, content viewed, and device or browser data. Furthermore, real-time marketing doesn’t always have to be a spontaneous reaction to breaking news. There are six different use cases of real-time marketing: location-based, brand event, predicative analytics, anticipated event, consumer interaction, and breaking news. While in the case of breaking news or customer interaction a real-time marketing strategy will typically be reactive and unplanned, in the case of a brand event or an anticipated event real-time marketing will likely be planned and proactive. Of course, when it comes to real-time marketing, hitting the nail on the head can be a bit tricky. For a bit of guidance, check out these four real-time marketing strategies.
Start conversations. Whether you are live tweeting a brand event or are responding off the cuff to breaking news, make sure you produce content that encourages your customers to get in on the conversation. Produce content that sparks comments and you will see your engagement rates soar. Just consider the Oreo Super Bowl example. The original image was retweeted 15,000 times and received 19,000 likes, and the company’s Twitter following jumped up by 8,000. When done well real-time marketing can have a substantial impact. Research shows that real-time marketing improves customer satisfaction by 67 percent, boosts customer retention rates by 60 percent, and increases customer purchase intent by 14 percent.
Stay relevant. Relevance is a crucial factor when it comes to successfully executing a real-time marketing strategy. The key isn’t just to produce content that relates to current events; you need to somehow relate the event to your brand. For example, the Red Cross turned the debut of the made-for-TV movie “Sharknado,” in which a tornado full of sharks tears through a small town, into a great marketing opportunity. The Red Cross might not know a whole lot about sharks, but it does know about natural disasters. Using the hashtags #RedCross and #Sharknado, the Red Cross encouraged Twitter users to think about how they would prepare for a disaster. The result was an engaging and informative live tweet session that drew attention to the Red Cross and its mission.
Know what you’re talking about. If you’re going to take advantage of a trending topic or hashtag for real-time marketing purposes, you need to make sure you fully understand the context, otherwise you could be headed for disaster. Consider a fashion boutique’s misinformed attempt to capitalize on the trending #Aurora hashtag in the wake of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, mass shooting in which dozens of people were murdered by a gunman in a Century movie theater. The fashion brand, oblivious to the tragedy, tweeted, “#Aurora is trending on Twitter, clearly about our Kim K inspired Aurora dress ;).” The company later issued an apology saying that it was “not aware of the situation in the US.” All of this could have been avoided with a quick Google search of “Aurora” prior to tweeting. The bottom line? A little bit of research goes a long way.
Be prepared to strike when the moment is right. One of the best things your brand can do when it comes to real-time marketing is add value, whether that is enhancing customer service or providing your customers with great information. For example, during last year’s Golden Globes, Target quickly responded to the buzz caused by Tina Fey’s dress, showing customers how they could achieve the look themselves and on a budget. Of course, this didn’t happen by accident. Target clearly had organized the resources necessary to capitalize on the real-time power of the Golden Globes and likely had graphic designers, community managers, and paid media specialists on standby. When the right moment came up, they were ready to strike. If you are going to employ any kind of reactive real-time marketing strategy, make sure you have all of your resources ready to go ahead of time.
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