Real-Time Marketing Unmasked

an interview with
Teresa Caro SVP of Social and Content Marketing, Engauge

With the Superbowl just a week away, leading edge marketers are, in the fabled words of Tim Curry, “breathless with anticipation” of the potential Real-Time Marketing opportunities awaiting them. These folks have been scenario planning for weeks if not months with the hope that they can steal the show away from the ads, football players AND reigning RTM champ, Oreo. So its little wonder that RTM will be a hot topic this coming Thursday at the Social Media Insider Summit AND lucky for you, I’ll be moderating a panel on that very subject. Among my savvy panelists will be Teresa Caro, SVP of Social and Content Marketing at Engauge, who was kind enough to once again share her insights on this here blog.  Thanks Teresa.

Drew: Define Real-Time Marketing in the fewest number of words possible.  

Done right: Timely, on-brand content that is relevant to an event or trend, created to elicit an emotional response and/or drive action.

Done wrong: A shiny marketing object, fueled by a knee-jerk reaction, that once posted, makes you the subject of ridicule by your peers.

Drew: What does it take to launch a successful real-time program?

  1. Be realistic about your organization. Every company is different — has different types of legal regulations, different approval processes, different levels of trust in their agencies and employees, etc. The amount of preplanning required is ultimately determined by what it takes to ensure a brand feels comfortable navigating the real-time space.
  2. Recognize real-time marketing is more than a well-timed Tweet. You need to think of it more broadly as timely, on-brand content that is relevant to an event or trend, created to elicit an emotional response and/or drive action. Real-time can be how you handle a physical event in the social space. How you handle a crisis. It’s how you address consumer needs or consumer love or express of frustration. Take it into the offline world and it is the use of data and mobility to share messages with people performing certain actions or in a certain location.
  3. Have a strategy. What are your goals and objectives? What are you looking to achieve? What is your brand voice and tone? You need to have this first so when an event or meme presents itself than you have a filter to determine if the opportunity even makes sense.
  4. Have a plan. The extent of this plan depends on #1, #2 and #3.
  5. Promote it. I don’t need to remind you that the “build it and they will come” does not work here. It needs to be promoted somehow, someway to the right audience through the right platform.
  6. Practice, practice, practice. Don’t expect to hit it out of the park the first time around – and if you do, You Go Girl. This is something that requires practice, a theme, relationship building with your fans so they are ready to receive it and promote it, etc.

Drew: Tell me about your RTM work with Chick-fil-a?  

7.3 million fans on Facebook, 333k followers on Twitter and 36.8k followers on Instagram doesn’t happen overnight. It requires daily care and feeding to grow and ensure there are engaged audiences to receive the content and have an emotional response… Without the ongoing piece, there would never be anyone to create a big bang. As a result, we take an integrated approach of great planned content, real-time fan engagement and opportunistic content. Examples of real-time include:

  • Unplanned and reactive –
  • Planned and reactive –
    • We spend a lot of time working on our monthly content calendars, getting them approved and getting them scheduled, yet sometimes you need to pivot when you have an opportunity such as acknowledging how cold it is through out the U.S.
  • Planned and proactive
    • And sometimes you just need to be prepared for what’s coming and be timely, relevant and unique. How many did something relevant to New Years vs. heading back to work?

Drew: Why is real-time so hard to get right? 

  1. No objectives
  2. No brand definition
  3. No talent
  4. No process
  5. Too much process

Drew: What’s your favorite real-time program that your agency didn’t have a hand in?

Mini (see link.) This isn’t the first time BMW Mini did a campaign like this. They did a campaign several years ago and coupled it with social listening. They found the share of voice they received for the campaign back then, generated sales three months later.

Drew: Should we be talking about real-time as a separate thing or is just part of a smart social strategy today?

Part of a smart social strategy. Goes back to why it’s so hard to get it right… it’s currently a shiny object, fueled by a knee jerk reaction… it’s rare you’ll get this right.

Drew: Will we still be talking about real-time next year? If yes, why? 

Smart marketing and really bad marketing will always be talked about. Take a smart piece of content that was turned around in amazing time and it will always be talked about… Well, that is if it’s promoted the right way.

Drew: Okay.  Lightning round.  Let’s bang through the logistical issues…

  • DN: What does it take from a staffing standpoint?  TC: Depends on how much you want to do, what types, how frequently (special events vs. continuous)
  • DN: Client approval processes? TC: Some brands can’t manage to pull this together because there is such need for multiple approvals of one post
  • DN: What brands should avoid altogether? TC: Topics that don’t align with their brand. Emotionally charged topics.
  • DN: Other barriers to success? TC: Lack of planning. Lack of understanding their own brand. Lack of understanding what they are looking to achieve.
  • DN: What are the right metrics? TC: Depends on your objectives.

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