The real-time marketing concept has been around for decades, yet few marketers have developed the capability to conduct it on a regular and scalable basis, according to a white paper report by Dachis Group, a social marketing software and consultant company.
One reason is that real-time marketing requires "on-the-fly" participation by brands on events and topics that are trending at the moment target audiences are online, and most companies are not set up to make such rapid-fire decisions.
The white paper, written by Brian Kotlyar of Dachis says, "In order to become more real-time, brands must build the workflow and business process to efficiently and effectively execute on marketing tactics in a matter of hours, not days." This, he says, would require "a substantial transformation" for most brand companies.
The good news is that most brands already have the resources in place to establish a real-time marketing business process, and the technological hurdles are easily solved with what have become off-the-shelf solutions.
The white paper offers six stages or steps to real-time marketing. They are: Trend Identification, Content Creation, Brand Approval, Content Publication, Community Management and Analytics.
Marketers must first identify and select trends for their brand participation. This requires technology to find the trends and a marketing executive or agency with the right training to select the best options for the brand to pursue. The report says marketers can use free tools such as Google News or Twitter Trends, or can acquire trend identification technology that automatically hones in on what a marketer's target audience is talking about in real time.
The report says that while brands and their agencies already may have processes in place to create quality content, those processes move too slowly for real-time marketing and need to be accelerated. Dedicated individuals at both the company and agency must work on the real-time campaigns exclusively and "must be skilled copywriters and capable of good enough production of images and short videos."
Getting Up To Speed
To speed up the process, the report suggest that "wherever possible pre-approved creative components like artwork and photos" should be used. For paid media, the real-time content should conform to standard formats, with standing insertion orders also making the process move quickly.
In the content approval area, the report suggests that the marketer or agency needs to have someone who has been fully trained on brand requirements as it pertains to social media, and that they use a legal department approved checklist as a proxy for direct legal-team oversight.
Expedited legal approval is a must, the report says. "If direct legal involvement is required, fully brief the legal representative on the importance of timeliness for real-time initiatives and set strict SLAs (service level agreements) for approval or rejection of creative work."
Social Media In the Mix
The report recommends brands that are just beginning the real-time marketing process to use free social media and more limited social ad buys as a test for creative concepts before advancing into more complex and expensive placements.
Monitoring consumer response is an important element in reducing the risk of brand crises, the report says, particularly because real-time marketing tends to yield higher rates of engagement. It's recommended that a community manager skilled in real-time monitoring and management oversee this aspect.
Finally, every real-time marketing instance needs to have its performance measured and analyzed at a rapid pace. "If it takes two or more weeks to get your existing social reporting completed, then your existing solution is inadequate for real-time marketing," the report says.
"Real-time marketing is new and uncharted territory for nearly every brand in the world," the report concludes. "However, the thoughtful application of existing capabilities and the acquisition of a few additional pieces of technology makes it attainable for any marketing organization and its associated agencies. Real-time marketing is here to stay and it's time to get involved."