‘Tis (Always) The Season for Real-Time Marketing
Between awards season, the Super Bowl and Valentine's Day there are quite a few big events on the calendar this time of year, which means we typically see an uptick in real-time marketing (RTM). But while sports and pop culture definitely create exciting social media buzz, real-time marketing shouldn't be limited to a season.
Real-time marketing is about capturing life's moments and engaging with an audience around them. RTM, by definition, is "on-the-fly" interactive marketing intended to connect with an audience at a specific time and place. That time is daily and that place is online. Audiences now live on social platforms, where they are constantly talking and interacting, so how can we as marketers leverage these spaces to be more beneficial for brands? By building relationships with customers so that we can effectively market to them.
Authentically resonating with your audience requires answering the question, who are my customers and how do they relate to me? RTM helps brands address this by meeting the audience where they are and getting to know more about them through social media engagement. You can gather a wealth of data from these interactions in the moment, such as which demographics you should be targeting, purchasing behavior of your audience, what they care about and your potential new customer base. The ability to gather a broader data set and apply it to future marketing opportunities is invaluable.
Using real-time marketing year-round is also an effective strategy for staying relevant in the industry. If you are able to establish your brand as a thought leader in the space during quieter times, the brand will become a go-to during the "busy season" when there is a lot of social media noise. As people become familiar with and trust your brand they will still listen for your voice when things get noisy.
Some of the best real-time marketing opportunities happen outside of a planned event or season. Nissan's response to the royal family's announcement that Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, were expecting their second child is a perfect example. Less than 10 minutes after the news broke, Nissan U.K. tweeted a picture of its seven-seater vehicle, the X-Trail, with a crown on each seat and the caption, "Room for all the family." The tweet read "It could be triplets and there would *still* be enough room for the Queen... #XTrail #SevenSeats #RoyalBaby." No one had a social media "war room" at the ready. Instead, Nissan joined the conversation and interacted with their audience in an authentic way, and the results where phenomenal.
Now I'm not saying marketers should jump on every trending topic that goes floating through their newsfeed. What I am saying is that real-time marketing's ability to launch brands into the conversation, stay relevant and build repertoire with the customer is of immense value, year-round. Don't miss an appropriate opportunity to join the conversation. Be prepared for the unexpected RTM moments that may arise, rather than waiting for the red carpets to be unrolled in January. Engage with people where they are now, online, and ensure that they have an interactive experience, regardless of the time of year.