It can be thought of as an almost instantaneous way for marketers to react and respond to events, trends, conversations or activities.
The purpose of real time marketing is to capture the moments when customers are particularly engaged with a product or service (either yours or someone else’s) and connect with them there and then. This can happen both externally and be present intrinsically within your company.
As the term implies, the quicker the reaction the better the response from your audience.
This is about having a high degree of social listening skills and tuning in to discover new fads that you, as a business, can tap into.
As we all know, it is so much more advantageous to be somewhere at the top of a consumer’s mind rather than having to draw them in. By positioning yourself within current and topical spaces, this can help to highlight your brand at a time when your customer is already engaged and receptive.
What you demonstrate by doing this is that you are listening and responding appropriately to the opinions and feedback of your audience, where they are watching or communicating.
Below are some examples to show how real time marketing can work in practice.
Examples of Real Time Marketing
Oreo and Super Bowl 2013
One of the best known and widely referenced examples of successful real time marketing is the copy and ad that was produced by marketing company, 360i, on behalf of the brand Oreo.
Super Bowl XLVII (2013) experienced an unexpected power outage which lasted around 34 minutes. During this short timeframe, 360i managed to create and post the following tweet:
This is a perfect example of an impulsive exercise, it does demonstrate the ideal in terms of a real time marketing response.
The statistics clearly demonstrate that the immediate marketing approach generated huge benefits by earning the brand 13,700 retweets as well as 6,773 likes.
Eason and #BookTok
Another recent trend that has exploded on social media channel TikTok is #BookTok. It can be described as the ultimate book club for ‘a new wave of book loving influencers’ who provide recommendations on their favourite literature for young adults.
The #booktok hashtag has attracted over 5.8billion views while some authors have been enjoying renewed interest in their novels, reporting a tenfold increase in sales (Evening Standard, 31 March 2021).
This fits so nicely with book retailers, many of whom including Barnes and Noble, Good Reads and Eason have responded to the trend, for example, by creating a dedicated landing page featuring the top picks on their websites.
As discussed previously, real time marketing efforts are not just focused on keeping up to speed with what is going on within your industry, it can be as effective as learning to communicate with your customer base at a time that is productive and informs them properly.
Wriggle Order Process
In order to reach not only an individual customer as well as potential customers, you don’t have to wait patiently for luck to be on your side. There are plenty of marketing techniques that you can implement right now to achieve this.
If you have an ecommerce site, one of the simplest ways to ensure that you are communicating with your target audience immediately after a purchase is to have an automated system that keeps them informed of their order status and allows them to track progress.
Below are two examples from the same order. The first stage was a confirmation email showing that the order has been placed while subsequent communication stipulates exactly the stage where the order is at.
This provides the customer with a transparent timeline while also engendering trust and promoting positive engagement between the company and transaction.
There is a further call-to-action included in the initial email encouraging purchasers to consider insurance that will adequately protect their device and give them peace of mind.
Amazon Real Time Delivery Confirmation
Similarly, amazon has mastered the order and delivery process which allows customers to track the location of their package as well as providing a definitive date of when this will arrive.
Etsy Feedback Email
The online ecommerce store Etsy which focuses on handmade and vintage products also provides a good example of real time marketing. Not only do customers receive a notification acknowledging their order. This is again followed up with a dispatch notification to advise customers of their delivery date.
Once the order has been received, customers are asked to engage with the seller once more to give their opinion on the product and what their experience was like.
This not only helps to nurture the relationship between the buyer and company but helps to collect and collate important market research.
Dublin Zoo Webcam
Dublin Zoo is an extremely popular visitor attraction in Ireland. In order to engage with traffic on their site, they have included real time content that users can watch while they navigate around their pages.
A webcam has been set up in the three different enclosures which allows viewers to have an almost ‘fly-on-the-wall’ experience of the elephants, penguins or african savannah as it is happening, from particular locations.
Especially as booking is limited at present this creates interest and excitement for prospective visitors as well as a learning portal from an educational perspective.
Viral Trends 2020
2020 is littered with so many examples of trends that managed to catch on so much that they made it viral and became epidemics in their own right. From sea swimming to banana bread, here are some others that might provide some inspiration of where your company could potentially benefit from:
- 18 Viral Trends Of 2020 That Can Never Be Forgotten
- A Look Back At 4 Food Trends That Went Viral in 2020
How Do You Develop a Real Time Marketing Strategy?
The meaning would suggest that companies get lucky i.e. a spontaneous opportunity arises alongside being in the right place at exactly the right time. While this kind of freak occurrence can happen it tends to be the exception rather than the rule.
On the contrary, a lot of this ‘luck’ can be actively planned for. The key is to make sure that you are in the right place to keep up-to-date with what is going on and produce the right content to respond appropriately.
Here are a few tactics to help you develop yours.
Listen In To Social Media
The best way to do this is to literally keep your ears to the ground. Check in to your social channels, email, paid media and earned media on a regular basis to see what’s happening. Assess for relevance and explore opportunities for potential content.
Real time marketing requires a conscientious approach and you might not always have the resources to dedicate to this full time.
A good place to start is by delving into your site and social media analytics to uncover more about what makes your audience tick. Tools that you can use to achieve this include:
- Sprout Social.
Monitor Social Trends
All of the social media channels including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook collect data and also present the highlights on a daily basis. By conducting a simple search for ‘twitter trends’ for example you can find out lots about what topics people are interacting with the most. See how these relate to your own business and industry.
These platforms are gathering reams of information constantly. This provides lots of opportunities as this data highlights what people are interested in and following. This in turn can inform your company’s strategy and marketing plan by making you relevant in current conversations and thus improve your chance of being seen within topical discussions.
Make sure that you have Google alerts switched on. Once you have this done, you will be notified with new information that can help to inform your strategy.
Review Internal Data
It’s obviously important to listen outside of your organisation however you should also be listening inside as well. This means carrying out a regular review of what your own data is telling you.
Carry Out Research
Do some market research into the industry that is of interest to you whether that’s for your own or perhaps a client. Gather real time information that will help you to deliver relevant content and clear marketing messages.
When you are developing a real time marketing campaign, give consideration as to how you would anticipate your response. This will be influenced by the type of conversation that is taking place and also the goal that you want to achieve.
Investigate Opportunities to Engage with Your Customers
Don’t forget to look at the most immediate and obvious ways to communicate real time with your existing customers. If you are an ecommerce site, this can be set up very quickly and simply.
Lastly, be confident and creative! The best of luck with it!