Being In the Moment

an interview with
Marshall Wright Director of Social Media, T3

Unless you’re new to TheDrewBlog, you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m moderating a panel this week on real-time marketing down in warmish Florida. Marshall Wright, Director of Social Media at T3, is another illustrious member of our panel and brings lots of insights and experience to the conversation.  I particularly enjoyed learning about how the team at T3 has worked the Windows Phone into numerous real-time conversations.

Drew: Define real time marketing in the fewest number of words possible.  

Real-time is being in-the-moment without looking like you’re trying to be in-the-moment.

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

It takes knowing who you are as a brand, what your voice is, what your business objectives are and what your customers want from you. It takes buy-in from the C-suite down to the day-to-day client level, and having all the right people ready to take action. It takes technology and creativity. And it takes a shit ton of planning.

Drew: Tell me about T3’s real-time efforts on behalf of Windows Phones?

Over the course of over 50 brand and competitor device launches, we’ve learned that most device conversation happens within 48 hours of a launch so we wanted to take advantage of that while still staying true to who the brand is. So for the launch of a competitor device, we prepped by doing a ton of social listening and research to find what people were saying about key features likely to be announced – tone, sentiment, etc. and developed a messaging strategy and content to insert our brand at the right moments in the lead up, during, and after the announce. This allowed us to find the key brand–relevant moments for us to join the conversation, resulting in one of the most retweeted posts of the (launch) day.

Drew: What’s your favorite real-time program that T3 had a hand in and why?

Honestly, one of the most simple moments came a few years ago when the turtles escaped on the JetBlue runway at JFK resulting in a ton of delayed flights. This was shortly after the Bronx Zoo Cobra Twitter stunt, so someone created a JFKTurtles Twitter and started tweeting the journey of the turtles. It was great and caught on immediately. We were managing Windows Phone social and caught on to what was happening and started following along. Angry Birds had just launched that day on the phone and the turtles tweeted they were going to play a game of Mario Bros. It was a perfect moment for the brand to participate in the conversation without looking like they were just trying to be part of a “thing” and we had a great 4-5 tweet conversation with them in real-time that wound up on a list of the best brand responses to the turtles.

Drew: Why do real-time programs seem to fall flat so often?

Because there’s a perception that newsjacking – inserting your brand into every pop culture, trending moment — is real-time. And it’s not. Yes, it can be a part of that, but it really takes knowing who you are as a brand and where you fit. If your not authentic or relevant to the moment it shows immediately. As a brand, you need to pick and choose your moments.

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

It’s smart strategy. At T3, we actually refer to it as “always-on” rather than real-time because it IS smart strategy. As a brand, if you’re going to be in social media, if you’re going to put yourself out there you should be ready to engage whenever your customers are ready to engage. Not just during key cultural moments but all the time. Have a social listening program set up and know what you’re listening for. Then engage when it makes sense all the time. Doing that sets up the foundation for you to be able to take advantage of those cultural moments in ways that makes sense for you and that give your customers a way to celebrate for you and with you, like in the JFKTurtles example.

Drew: Will we still be talking about real-time next year and if so why?

I guess it depends on what happens during the Super Bowl this year.

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