We’ve spoken a lot recently about real-time marketing (RTM), not only here on the blog but at conferences and in articles as well. I had heralded this year as the Rise of the Idiot Brand and I have yet to be proven wrong; 2015 has seen some spectacular belly flops from brands as they try to get down with the kids and evoke some LOLz.

It’s all well and good talking about how NOT to do RTM, but I’m over being a hater so let’s talk about how to do it right. We’ve been working in RTM for a few years now and we’ve learned a lot, through big events such as the FIFA World Cup, through issues and crises and, more recently, through the introduction of Story Connect at SXSW this year- Omnicom’s always-on, data-driven, socially-enabled, content and advertising center.

Taking this experience into consideration, coupled with the selfish motive of just wanting the brand belly flops to stop (my eyes, my eyes!), here are our three top tips for getting RTM right.

1) Plan for success

It might sound counter-intuitive to the very concept of RTM, but the more you plan ahead, the more likely you’ll be able to act fast. Scenario plan it to bits! Plan for the good, the bad, the strange… and the customer service queries. For instance, say you’re handling a sports brand and there’s an important football match coming up. Think about charismatic or quirky players. Any obvious Animal Spirits? Who is likely to score? Any bad blood between any players, or teams? What if one team smashes the other? Imagine some surprise upset scenarios. What could stop the game? Prepare some backup content assets accordingly.

2) Stop, collaborate and listen!

Real time is not as straightforward as it initially seems. You need a well-oiled dream team to make this work; people who can talk honestly, respectfully and arrive at consensus quickly. This can be tough in a client plus multi-agency ecosystem, but when you have a good spirit of partnership between all stakeholders, it’s super fun and productive. On this point, ultimately – though by no means entirely – the client must foster this spirit from the get-go. This is done by having clearly drawn roles, an agreed chain of command and open lines of communication. Respect is paramount here – both for others’ ideas but also for the chain of command, given that in a real-time environment, you need to be decisive. In terms of what the team comprises, you need an analyst to crunch the data and develop insights; social media moderators to track, engage and report on the conversation; content specialists to develop content on the fly; and don’t forget to include a graphic designer and potentially a video editor. Also, you need at least one media advertising operations person to target and amplify the content, and a social media producer or project leader to make sure everything stays on track as scheduled, and that the cogs are chugging along cohesively. The client should be a bastion of cool, calm, collectedness – to be brave but more importantly, to sanity check everything before signing off. This can be considered as The Chief Executive Officer of Common Sense, if you will.

3) Pull out the big guns: Man + Machine

To get RTM right, you need to a) find a great insight and/or the right moment; b) agree on the content and develop it; and then c) amplify it. Too often brand teams get step a) wrong and completely overlook step c). The right moment and its insight must be relevant to the brand – their response needs to be timely, relevant and on point. In order to retrieve the insight and understand the moment, it’s important to invest in the correct technology for analysts and content specialists to understand the audience’s nuances – to understand the nuances of the zeitgeist, the haters, the lovers and those with clout. You need technology to segment, target, publish and amplify, and most importantly, you need a team of digital analysts to harness all the info and make sense of it all. Once the content has been agreed on and published, amplify and target it. There’s no point in spending valuable time and resources on creating great content if it doesn’t reach as many of the right people as possible. Therefore, consider your content ROI as it pertains to reach, relevance and engagement. Again, here is where you require your analysts to measure both qualitative and quantitative aspects of your endeavors, in order to learn, evaluate and evolve.

Get these elements in place and you will be poised for all the RTM success. Be like a duck gliding across the water, looking effortless but paddling like mad!

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