Real-time marketing is a modern strategy in conducting marketing that can be completed on short-notice. Marketing Land defines real-time marketing as follows, modified:
Real-time marketing or “RTM” moments occur when brands and agency marketers react quickly to local, national or global events happening online or offline, in an effort to interject corporate marketing into consumer conversations via social media messaging or marketing platforms.
To understand this, consider how marketing is traditionally conducted. Marketing is traditionally conducted by introducing a marketing plan. A marketing plan includes the following, as listed by The Balance:
In contrast, real-time marketing demands you quickly craft a campaign within a few hours after an opportunity arises, or even a few hours before that opportunity arises. This is what our article outlines.
What should be your mentality when conducting real-time marketing?
Real-time marketing involves being able to engage your customers in a meaningful way. Harvard Business Review lists the following important points you need to remember when deciding to shift to real-time marketing:
Replacing the broadcast mentality that has long dominated marketing with a willingness to give consumers access to the company and to view their actions and feedback as integral to developing or improving products;
Focusing on real-time customer satisfaction, providing the support, help, guidance, and information necessary to win customers’ loyalty;
Being willing to learn how information technology is changing both customer behavior and marketing, and to think in new ways about the role of marketing within the organization.
At the time the article was written, the author noted that no company has fully shifted to a real-time strategy. However, that is because it was not yet possible at that time to fully embrace real-time marketing.
Commentators generally put the first instance of a successful real-time marketing campaign to Oreo during the Super Bowl XLVII in 2013:
After that, major brands started following the frenzy of real-time marketing, with varying successes.
The next section will detail the primary channels for real-time marketing.
What are the primary channels for real-time marketing?
The same article quoted in the previous section predicted that real-time marketing will become possible in the near future due to the emergence of technologies that will help the companies interact with the customers directly. Today, real-time marketing is done via the digital channels. Let us consider three out of five real-time marketing channels listed by Marketing Schools:
Social Media – This is the main digital channel for real-time marketing. Social media allows direct interaction between the company and its existing and prospective customers. Additionally, it is relatively easy and cheap to deploy new marketing campaigns via social media. Social media also allows trends to quickly grow, thus becoming one of the mainstream digital channels for marketing in general.
Search Engine Ads – While there is no active interaction between the company and the target customer, the existing analytics tools provided alongside the search engine ad spaces provide the company with sufficient information on whether their ads work or not.
Email Campaigns – Email campaigns offer a simple way to direct marketing campaigns towards a group of regular customers, further ensuring their loyalty to the brand. They are often in the form of exclusive offers. Nowadays, this can ripple down to social media, where the regular customers can post about receiving and availing of exclusive offers
How do you conduct real-time marketing?
Oktopost lists five tactics that you need to implement for real-time marketing:
Always Be Listening (ABL) - this means being able to catch trends as they unfold in both mainstream and social media. Besides watching what customers think of your brand and your industry, you should also do the following:
Set up Google alerts on trends within your market and industry
Monitor all real-time events in your market and industry, including your competitors
Follow influencers in your market and industry
Follow industry publications
Place ample resources - you need resources to act quickly. This also includes tools to monitor the trends in digital channels and even to prepare templates that can be quickly edited at a moment’s notice.
Maintain an ambassador network - getting well-known ambassadors and influencers to back your real-time marketing campaigns will help make your campaigns trend quickly before the trend disappears. Additionally, these ambassadors and influences have access to a portion of your target market that you may not yet have, further boosting your reach.
Know where the conversation is - this does not only involve putting your ears everywhere as in our Always Be Listening tactic above, but also studying your online customer’s journey from awareness to conversion.
Participate in the conversations - real-time marketing involves not just responding to the growing trends, but also can sometimes involve you making the trend. This can be done through active interactions with your customers on social media. This is why companies now hire social media teams: they handle the fun interactions in social media, enhancing the brand in the process.
What is the biggest obstacle in real-time marketing readiness?
It’s easy to look for tools to address various aspects of real-time marketing. In fact, there are so many tools nowadays you might have a hard time choosing the best ones for your company and market. In choosing the tools, take note of one important obstacle that you need to overcome:
Martech Today identifies the inability to consolidate the wide range of tools being used by companies as the biggest obstacle in real-time marketing readiness. Martech Today further explains that these tools must be stitched together to create a “centralized decision authority” – one that can deliver actual, real-time marketing events based on customer engagement across channels, historical data, purchase interactions and more.
How do you assess your company’s real-time readiness? There are 4 D’s of real-time readiness:
Detection - ability to sense the opportunities for real-time marketing that arise all the time
Data - ability to access the data that it needs in order to interpret context in real time.
Decision - ability to make a decision in the moment
Deliver - ability to deliver a marketing campaign to take advantage of an opportunity in the moment
To further assess your capabilities, answer the four questions posed by We Are Marketing:
Platforms: What data do we get from them and how is it collected, aggregated and used?
Analytics: What does the data tell us about purchasing behaviour?
Channels: What are they and what do our customers need in the different channels?
Experience: What is the overall perception of the brand by the customer at the different points of contact?
This will help you see your capabilities and points for improvement to be truly real time.
What are some tools you need to conduct real-time marketing?
As mentioned in the previous section, a wide range of tools need to be used to be able to conduct real-time marketing. They include the following:
Real-time social media manager
Real-time analysis tools
And a way to integrate them together for real-time marketing.
Fortunately, our upcoming app, Lido, integrates different marketing and e-Commerce services into a single dashboard, providing all the metrics you need to see the big picture in real-time. This includes social media sites such as Facebook, e-Commerce services such as Shopify, and analytics such as Google Analytics.
Real-time marketing is a form of marketing where marketers quickly react to local, national or global events happening online or offline via social media messaging or marketing platforms, inserting the brand into the conversation. Real-time marketing demands you quickly craft a campaign within a few hours after an opportunity arises, or even a few hours before that opportunity arises.
Real-time marketing requires you to shift your mentality to allowing your customers to participate in the process of development and improvement of your products and services through meaningful conversations.
The main channels that can be used in real-time marketing are social media, search engine ads, and email campaigns. All of them are digital channels that allow you to quickly deploy your marketing campaign with the maximum impact to your target market.
In conducting real-time marketing, you should do the following:
Always be alert for the trends as they form
Has ample resources to be used at a moment’s notice
Maintain an ambassador network to further boost your reach
Know where the conversation is
Participate in the conversations
As real-time marketing requires you to have real-time awareness of the trends and the contexts of your target market, you need to select tools that can be integrated for quick data-gathering, data analysis, and decision-making. Integration of tools will give you a huge advantage over your competitors.