Thursday, June 20th, 2013 | 7 min read
Real-time marketing as a concept and capability has quickly become a priority for marketers everywhere. Unfortunately, we must also acknowledge that despite the hype, real-time marketing is too complex and costly for most brands to actually execute against. Take the example of Johnson & Johnson’s Diabetes Group featured in Digiday:
“We are FDA-regulated and must be healthcare compliant,” Panchak said. “We have to go through a lot of steps to get a piece of content posted.”
For J&J, that means tons of preparation. The first thing the social team at J&J does is put together a content calendar, and then it comes up with a legal-approved list of statements and comments to use as responses that will come out of the post. It does take some guessing, but knowing your audience is key here, because there’s no other way to anticipate how people are going to react to something. J&J has put together what it calls the “social action team,” with one person handling each platform. Also part of the team is someone from J&J’s legal personnel and an agency counterpart. – Thomas Panchak, Senior Director of Integrated Marketing, Diabetes Group at Johnson & Johnson
The definition of real-time marketing is “on-the-fly” participation by brands in the events, topics, and ideas trending at that very moment among target audiences online. The trend is most famously exemplified by successful marketing tactics like Oreo’s tweet from the SuperBowl blackout and disastrous ones like Kenneth Cole’s tweet about protests in Egypt or Epicurious’ tweets following the Boston marathon bombing.
The appeal is obvious: participating in a mass cultural event and earning huge amounts of earned media for very little visible cost is incredibly tantalizing to any marketer. The problem however is that almost every real-time marketing example today is an example of flawed and unsustainable business practice.
The hallmarks of successful real-time marketing are:
In order to achieve this, brands have embraced one of two models for their real-time marketing – the war room and the lone contributor. Neither of which is particularly good.
Entrust a multi-talented community manager with responsibility to find and join social trends that matter, create content that is appropriate, publish that content, and interact with ensuing commentary.
While this solution is fast, it doesn’t have the controls most brands need and puts far too much pressure on a single individual:
Plus, even if your community manager is a funny copywriter with killer graphic design experience, 10 years seniority, and a Red Bull addiction – how will they know which trends are the right ones to participate in outside of obvious big-time events like the Super Bowl?
Assemble a SWAT team of internal brand leaders and external agency partners. Get them in a room for the upcoming Super Bowl / Royal Wedding / Oscars. Equip them with lots of televisions, snacks, and Apple products.
War rooms are pretty clearly the Civil War ironclad ships of our era. Namely, they are a just good enough solution only useful for a specific moment in time:
Marketers need a new set of tools that make real-time marketing affordable, measurable and efficient. They need ongoing brand-specific trend identification, virtual workflow, and comprehensive analytics.
There are countless social trends every month that a brand could participate in. Marketers need some way to know what trends matter to their audiences. The trends that matter to Nike are different than the trends that matter to Kraft. And brands that know which trends matter today to their audiences can enter into hyper-specific conversations where they KNOW their target audiences will respond.
We built trend identification capability into our analytics platform to automatically surface topics and news that matter most to a brand’s specific audience. You can see how long the topic has been trending, how important is it to your audience, and whether other brands have already started participating – because no one wants to be the 14th (or 50th!) brand to make a harlem shake video.
Once a trend is identified marketers need a better solution than to pull the team together in a conference room. It doesn’t make sense to have a copywriter, a graphic designer, and senior decision makers in a room so you can tweet quickly once or twice a year.
There is collaborative workflow built directly into our real-time platform. Use it to easily highlight trends and then route them across your organization and agency for production, review, and approval.
Real-time marketing posts will always just be part of the responsibilities of social marketers. They must also maintain their day-to-day responsibilities of community management, daily content production and campaign support. Consequently, real-time marketing activities that occur in a vacuum are problematic – they break the measurement framework that a brand has put in place.
The Dachis Group real-time marketing solution is embedded directly into our social analytics platform. The result is unified social analytics across campaigns, day-to-day content and real-time marketing. All using our existing comprehensive set of 50+ metrics and powerful collaborative reporting capabilities.