Karim Kanji

Karim Kanji

Digital Content Manager

Have Advertisers Figured Out Real Time Marketing?

I’m going to scream the next time someone writes an article or case study about how Oreo mastered the art of real time marketing (RTM) with their Super Bowl “Dunk In The Dark” tweet. Truth be told, they did not. Sure, we’re all talking about that same tweet almost one year later. And brands and their agencies are still trying to figure this whole RTM phenomenon.

And that’s the thing: If everyone is still trying to figure out how best to leverage RTM then I propose we stop. And here’s why: Everyone is chasing the wrong prize.

Let’s remember the goal of brands (and by extension, their agency): Sell more of their stuff. Whether you sell something food cars or cloud computing solutions, the goal of every company is to sell more of their stuff.

The goal isn’t to become a brand that “hijacks” the latest pop culture news of the day. It isn’t even to be the company that has the most followers on Twitter. And we already know this. The problem is that brands (as much as people) are vain: We all want to have our moment in the spotlight.

Knowing this, how should we prepare for RTM opportunities?

Start From The Beginning

Let’s imagine a world without the demand for being always on and available. Chances are you would be forced to focus on numbers, data, metrics, and driving measureable ROI for your company. This should still be the goal of marketing. How is the content you’re creating on a yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily basis helping your brand attract a larger audience and more consumers?  Keep these goals in mind and not how you can create the next “Oreo moment”. RTM is not a strategy. Rather, it is a marketing response to events happening in the moment.

Now we’re ready to move on…

Make Resources Available For Reactive Content

Having a content calendar is one thing. And, of course, it is very important to plan ahead. However, understanding your brand and your customers can help you determine if you need to save resources for immediate deployment. For example, if you represent a CPG brand, you should realize that consumers most likely use your product on a monthly (if not weekly or daily) basis. That being said, you should prepare yourself to respond to opportunities as quickly as they happen.

Practice makes perfect. (Otherwise known as Embrace – but don’t fall in love – with failure.)

Create a culture that supports the creation of content on a daily basis. I contend that the best way to create awesome content is to have practiced (and most likely failed) this dozens of times. Over and over again. If you’re creating content on a daily basis for one brand, chances are you’ve experienced a creativity block. Or maybe you’ve even produced less than stellar content. When this happens, the easy way through is to quit and change strategy. Wrong move. It’s during this time that you have to keep pushing forward. Creativity and success comes from practicing over and over again. We’ve all heard how Tiger Woods practices his swing and putting more than almost anybody on the PGA Tour. That’s one of the best golfers of all time doing the same thing over and over. And he does this during the good times and bad. What makes you and I any different?

Be Prepared For Opportunity

The definition of success is when preparedness and opportunity meet. The above points have helped us prepare. Now we need to keep our eyes open for opportunity and understand how to recognize it when it appears. One of the things that the Oreo team understood was that the Super Bowl is the most watched television event on the calendar. Another thing they knew was that a large number of people in early 2013 were already utilizing Twitter (and social media in general) as their “second screen” for consuming content and engaging with other people around content.

On October 8th in New York City, the GroupM Next “What’s Next?” event was just getting started. One of the main speakers that evening was Michael Zimbalist. Michael is the VP of Research and Development Operations for The New York Times. In his address he mentioned the Oreo tweet and questioned whether this was an example of content marketing or content innovation. One could argue either way.

What we know today is that the only reason it has been seen as innovative was because the Oreo team invested in content marketing. They understood that if they kept developing content with their brand goals and objectives in mind they would be faced with opportunities to produce content in response to real time events. The Super Bowl “Dunk In The Dark” tweet is a result of this.

Karim Kanji
Karim Kanji

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11 thoughts on “Have Advertisers Figured Out Real Time Marketing?

  1. Great post and an excellent reminder that just like in the field of battle, one victory does not win the war. Longevity, proper planning and focus on the long term goal is what counts. The ‘moments’ will come and go, the memories will mean nothing if you don’t complete the task of “selling more stuff”.

  2. Hey Karim,

    Nice opening post, sir. You’re right in that people who are looking at RTM as a silver bullet, or as an end goal in itself are missing the key point. However, it’s also important to recognize that the shift towards rapid and flexible development of content, combined with the ongoing shift towards more visual content and the convergence of earned, owned and paid media, means shifting how we allocate resources. Just saying that you’ll “save resources” isn’t enough – from an agency standpoint, it means opportunity cost or redundant resourcing, and from a corporate standpoint it means hard-fought FTE roles are underutilized.

    So, the key is approaching staffing in a way that provides that flexibility without being wasteful — and doing so in a way that facilitates cross-functional integration to ensure that the application of other skill sets to the situation are just as timely as the content development.

    We’ve laid out some of our thinking publicly (http://www.edelmandigital.com/2013/04/30/creative-newsroom-brand-storytelling-at-the-speed-of-social) and I recently spoke on this topic at Social Media Week Toronto, but there’s a whole lot more needed behind the curtain to make this work.



  3. You nailed it that great marketing is not about winning awards or going viral but actually is effective marketing that sells more stuff. Oreo had a quick thinking person behind their Twitter account who took advantage of the power outage.

    IMHO it shows that Second City Improv training improves marketing by strengthening and quickening the thought process to react to a situation like this.

  4. Hey Karim, great post. Real time marketing has to be couched carefully with Real time engagement. Dave fleet nailed it when we spoke about convergence, flexibility and proper resourcing. Consumers don’t have time for the necessary powers that be to approve content. This is where mindset needs to adapt to external expectations.

    What also needs noting is the balance that needs to be created to evolve a constant stream of engagement as a priority over these quick spikes in amplification.

  5. Nice post Karim. It’s always good to see people evangelizing that it is about business objectives rather than being cool, hip, or in the moment. To quote Crash Davis, “The moment’s over.” Companies need to ask themselves if they want to be famous or infamous. Is the pursuit of fame worth the risk?

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