Christine de la Huerta|Mar 13, 2012

SXSW Interactive is an annual conference for those living, breathing and dreaming in digital. So of course Digital Park journeyed over to Austin to bring you the most up to the minute content and access.

This session talked about how to stay relevant in today’s 24-7 media environment.

Today, brands aren’t built just through carefully orchestrated ad campaigns or splashy publicity stunts. Perceptions are also formed through the news stories of the hour and the rapid stream of online conversations about brands.

Savvy marketers are retooling their communications practices to market more nimbly and take advantage of fleeting opportunities, online and off. It’s the age of extemporaneous marketing.

The panel of experts debated the merits of real-time techniques in the marketing mixes of today and the future.

The panelists discussed real-time marketing’s value, practical tips for how to bring it to life in your organization, and what the future holds for early adopters. We were there to soak up the knowledge and put the advice into action.

Key learnings:

  • Real-time marketing means your message is linked to some external stimulus. Social media is just one part of it, not all.
  • Real-time marketing delivers what marketers want most. It makes people:
    • Feel positive about the brand
    • Interested in your brand
    • Willing to consider trial usage
    • More inclined to talk about it/recommend it to a friend, via social media or otherwise.
    • Nimble communications clearly linked to a brand are more impactful than year-round generic marketing.

How should marketers approach this?

  • Change the way we consume media. We need to seize on news cycles and capitalize on them. We have to live in the moment and in the magic of “thinking live.” We have to consume a lot of media and be ready to plan accordingly, reacting to news each day or all day. This is not easy in every organization, so you have to implement strategies ahead of time to make it work. Research has shown that companies that do so reap rewards in terms of customer loyalty and word of mouth.
  • Sometimes, a quick customer service success online can even become fodder for daily. A customer interaction – even if it starts out negative – can be converted into an opportunity.
  • One tip, research or and poll, if relevant to your brand, can be turned into an infographic and represent facts in a more visual way.
  • Social media has to be plugged in with other departments – research, customer satisfaction, customer service, and legal, among others – in order for it to be truly effective.
  • Abby Klanecky from Dow Chemical suggested that PR people can act as community managers, identifying trends and opportunities to engage. However, she feels marketers should also identify opportunities to have other people from within the organization be the voice. “Bring in the experts that customers really want to hear from,” she said. At Dow, it’s good for its scientists to actually interact with the public. “People don’t want to hear the canned messages and spin.”

These are the four crucial criteria your organization needs in place before executing a real-time marketing strategy:

  • People
  • Processes
  • Training
  • Tools

The answers to these are different for every organization.

Over time, you may find that by approaching your marketing in real time, your brand’s voice will have to evolve in order to speak with customers in the ways they communicate with you. That’s one way you know you’re doing it right!

Here’s the challenge the panel gave us:

Cancel all your meetings and everything on your “to-do” list. Watch the news, talk shows and read everything you can, and then try to ONLY come up with ideas that match what’s in the news. Be authentic, honest and not overly boastful.


Receive our rbb blogs straight to your inbox. Subscribe below: