oreo dunk in the dark real time marketing

The blackout at the Super Bowl did more than throw the players for a loop. It caused a stir amongst brand marketers across the country. After the digital dust settled, Oreo came out on top with more than 10,000 retweets of its “Dunk in the Dark” campaign. But this lighting fast campaign is more than just a knee jerk reaction. It shows the power of a placing great content in the right place at the right time and the importance of having a team that is ready for reacting in real time. 

What is Real-Time Marketing?

Real-time marketing is off the cuff marketing campaigns that take advantage of a time-sensitive event or news with a relevant, targeted message. I hesitate to even refer to these as ‘campaigns’ because that denotes a period of dedicated planning, and while real-time marketing requires planning, it’s in the form of listening to your consumers and becoming your brand, rather than typical campaign planning.

Usually real-time marketing is done through social media as it’s the most immediate channel we can get our hands on. Successful real-time marketing also hones in on the emotions of the public and capitalizes on them.

Right now, the buzz is all about Oreo but other brands have seen great success with real-time marketing and it’s not always event-based. One example is McDonald’s, who started displaying their nutrition info publicly last year. During the press release where this was announced, the brand had a well-placed team of people on social media ready to inform and educate some of the naysayers out there.

According to a recent study by eMarketer, 53% of marketers plan for real-time marketing this year, which is rather ironic since you can’t create concrete plans around what might happen, but what you can do is prepare your marketing team for the unexpected.

How to Build an Effective Real-Time Marketing Team

  • Always be listening – Great listeners will be great real-time marketers. If you and your team aren’t on top of what’s going on with your consumers and in the world you’ll miss all opportunities for real time marketing. Get each member of your team on Twitter and following accounts related to your brand: news media, journalists, bloggers, key industry people, but most importantly your customers or target audience. What are they talking about and reading, and where? You’ll want to be right there when the opportunity arises.
  • Become your brand – If you don’t know your brand, your products, and your audience inside and out, then you’re going to struggle with real-time marketing. Immerse yourself in your brand. Look at every situation from the perception of your brand and your customer so that you see the world through that lens. This will help you differentiate which opportunities to react to versus those that just aren’t appropriate for your brand.
  • Hold fire drills – Think back throughout the last year: major news stories, product announcements, big events. Were any of those opportunities for your brand to respond in real-time? Pick one or two of those, and do a mock real-time marketing response with your team. Don’t take a ton of time (because you’ll never have it), but get team members thinking on their toes. 
  • Get pre-approvals – Especially for larger brands, gather the necessary approvals from higher ups to make important changes to your marketing plan at the last minute. You don’t want to sit on a brilliant idea at the right time while you wait for approval from the VP of Marketing.

There’s a lot that goes into the success of real-time marketing, but ultimately, it’s about getting the best content into the right conversation with the right people at the right time. If your team can figure it out, you’ve struck marketing gold.

pot of gold

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