Marketing Communication has come a long way in the last 100 years. In its evolution and diversification from print ads to the digital age, brands are constantly competing with each other to stay relevant to their target audience.
The Audience has on the other hand has mastered ad-avoidance and evolved to have increasingly short attention spans. If you can’t tell them how you as a brand are relevant in 5 seconds, chances are they will never think or believe you are relevant to them.
Brands are competing with media publications on Newsfeeds for attention. Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Upworthy, MIC, Scoop-Whoop etc., are all grabbing eye-balls through editorials that are constantly engaging a wider target audience. People seek content from these outlets. But, they try avoiding messages from brands? Why? Because they find it intrusive. Because they find it irrelevant.
With access to a plethora of content online, a large part of which barely reaches the intended target audience or is lost in clutter, how can brands stay relevant?
While brands cannot compete with the media publications of the world, they can invest in having a conversation with the audience about things that matter to them as a brand. The key here is to stay true to your core and create content that compliments those values while keeping the conversation going to stay top-of-mind.
Which brings us to Real-Time Marketing.
Real-Time Marketing as the name suggests is creating content and marketing it in real-time. It does not provide time for approvals. Timing, trust and accountability become key to decision-making. Sticking to what is relevant topic also becomes critical. Backlash is a real-possibility but so is instant connect and leverage.
Here are five reasons why you should invest in Real Time Marketing (RTM):
1. People are interested in your values
People buy into emotions more than they buy into products. They need to know your thoughts and opinions about things that matter to them. How your politics is reflective of theirs and how is it that you make the world a better place. Macy’s withdrew its line of Trump products because the values didn’t match anymore. People want to know who you are and what you believe in. Hence, participation in pop-culture events and conversations become critical.
2. Instant Gratification culture
For the millennials who have grown up in an instant gratification culture, patience is not a virtue. They don’t like waiting. They like participating. They are opinionated and expressive and they are looking for outlets to express. As brands, you just need to provide the platform and the topic to get the conversation started. And what better way to do this than leverage on something that is already taking place – be it your own event or that of a global scale (like Football World Cup, the Oscars etc.)
3. Conversation is happening in Real Time
Oreo’s tweet during the SuperBowl blackout was the most ReTweeted and made it the point of conversation. It’s all about timing. If people are genuinely talking in real-time on the internet, they expect responses in real-time. You stay relevant by being there at the right time and doing the right thing. A missed bus (or a tweet) would be a lost opportunity to connect with your audience.
4. Short snippets vs In-depth coverage
Real-time marketing (RTM) gives marketers and brands the opportunity to be a part of the conversation at the right time through short form content – Instagram photos, short videos, Periscope, Twitter. This becomes a trailer for the in-depth coverage that later follows in many cases. If the audience gets interested in the short content, they get interested in knowing more and more and start actively seeking content from you. In publishing, RTM supports and provides additional avenue for repurposing the in-depth content investment that has already been incurred. The brands also win because the short form content has reached the relevant audience who now perceive the brand to like or have certain associated values.
5. Quality with quantity
Good quality content is what connects and builds relevancy for the brand. Creating brand content for all the different platforms is now a full-time job which involves spotting trends, R&D and again right timing. While churning out RTM content, brands need to be careful and invest in good resources who are creative and understand different forms of content. The 140 character limit requires a different kind of content expertise than a 300 word article which will be different from a 2 minute video. Re-purposing content for different platforms while integral should not be at the cost of quality. Good content creators do not come for free. Cutting corners for content that will later impact quality is definitely not recommended.
RTM when done right, can leverage the brand equity in the hearts of its audience for a longer period of time. Better still, the strong connect ensures that they become your brand advocates and start talking about how your values and messaging fits in with their values.
Have you used Real Time Marketing? Any RTM campaigns you have loved? Let me know through your comments.