Times are changing, technology is improving, and marketers need to keep up with the latest trends. Real-time marketing is the best example of how technology improved the way people promote and sell their products and services.

Social media platforms used to be a real goldmine for marketers. However, users are getting tired of reading the same ads every day, so they just keep scrolling. Some marketers even think that marketing is broken. We don’t think that’s true; marketing is not broken, but it has definitely changed from what it used to be. And real-time marketing is one of the examples of how marketing has changed.

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In this article, we are going to show you:

  • What real-time marketing is
  • How to use it
  • Examples of real-time marketing campaigns

What is real-time marketing?

Real-time marketing implies linking your brand to a recent event that had or still has an impact on your target audience. This way, you will be able to increase engagement and your customers will also appreciate the fact that you are up to date with the latest news.

But real-time marketing is not limited to external events. Brands are even using this technique to admit their mistakes or issues with their product or service by creating a funny or meaningful response. This way, they avoid an image crisis and regain the trust of their customers.

And real-time marketing can also be used to tailor answers for each individual. For instance, let’s say that you post on Twitter that you want to learn more about Romania. A travel agency could answer you with a personalized offer.

In his book, “Real-Time Marketing and PR: How to Instantly Engage Your Market, Connect with Customers, and Create Products that Grow Your Business Now”, David Meerman Scott mentioned that “real-time” means news breaks over minutes, not days. It means companies develop (or refine) products or services instantly, based on feedback from customers or events in the marketplace.”

How to use it?

First off, real-time marketing, like any other marketing strategy, can be planned. Important events are usually known weeks before they happen. This means you should plan your campaigns ahead.

Include real-time marketing in your monthly communication plan, but don’t overthink it. For instance, if there’s an important event coming up (like an award ceremony) and you think that it could have an impact on your audience (and your brand), start by creating some drafts. Once the event occurs, you can modify the drafts in order to cover every detail.

However, sometimes things happen overnight and you have to prepare your response ASAP. You don’t want to wait too long after the event! If you post your response two weeks after the event occurred, it will not have the same impact (if any).

When it comes to the message, it’s important to maintain your tone of voice. Otherwise, you will come across as untrue and that will reflect badly on your brand image.

Brands who figured out real-time marketing: 5 real-time marketing examples

1. NASA swept us off our feet!

NASA knows a thing or two about marketing, and they were one of the first and the best brands who have used real-marketing techniques during the Oscar Award Ceremony in 2014. A lot of brands posted about the Oscars, but NASA decided to post about something they actually know best: gravity.

Since the movie Gravity won a few awards that night, NASA decided to congratulate the team, as well as link the event to their mission. And they didn’t stop at one post, they made a mini-series with Space and Planets in relation to the Oscar Ceremony.

2. IKEA – The Royal Wedding did not take Harry away

The Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that took place on May 19, 2018 was live streaming and keeping their viewers with tears in their eyes. Knowing that Prince Harry was one of the most desired bachelors in the world, IKEA wanted to remind their customers that their Harry is still available in their shop.

While it wasn’t the real deal, the chair Harry brought a smile on the teary eyes of the women who were still hoping to marry Prince Harry. In their post, IKEA wrote “ Don’t worry, HARRY is still available.” They also posted a photo of the chair so there won’t be any confusions.

IKEA did not stop at this ad. They also prepared another one that also related to the Royal Wedding. This time they made the ad for their food container Pruta, mentioning that you need a space to place the leftover cake from 600 guests.

3. Netflix and chill with whoever you want

The political scene is another area where events tend to reach viral status on social media. This is why real-time marketing fits right in when a political event takes place. We all know that politicians love to get new bills accepted. However, in Romania in October 2018, they organized a referendum to define the marriage between two spouses into marriage between a man and a woman exclusively.

Netflix was one of the companies that took advantage of this opportunity. Their post stated “Do it with whoever you want – Binging”, thus managing to include what their audience does on their platform (binge-watching) as well as their position in this matter. However, when you represent a small brand, you need to be very careful with bold statements. They can come back just like a boomerang to ruin the public image of the company and to alienate most of your users.

4. ASOS – Own your mistakes

Real-time marketing doesn’t only revolve around events, the political scene, or Royal Weddings. ASOS shows us that even big brands can have typos. On March 2018, ASOS released 17,000 bags that had a typo on the front. Instead of overlooking the problem and waiting for their users to get over it, they owned their mistake in a funny and witty post.

They shared a photo of their “faulty” bag and they named the whole batch a limited edition. By doing this, they customers praised the brand for their honesty.

5. Keep your enemy (or competition) closer

Another great example of real-time marketing comes from two rivals that reunited for a special occasion. McDonald’s and KFC are well-known “enemies”. However, on December 1st, 2018 (Romania’s National Day) they launched a marketing campaign together.

KFC posted a photo with their chicken bucket and two portions of fries from McDonald’s, while McDonald’s posted a photo of their fries and the famous garlic sauce from KFC. Both brands mentioned that this day is a day where all should be united.

Real-time marketing is not only about linking your brand to an important event, showing your position in a political dispute or owning your mistakes. This marketing strategy is a new way to create a bond with your customers by making them relate to your brand voice.

There are many other ways you can do real-time marketing, especially if you represent a smaller brand:

  • Reacting to comments on social media, even if they are negative
  • Showing that you integrated your customers feedback
  • Offering a personalized product to a loyal customer
  • Communicating in real-time, every day, every hour

We hope these examples helped you get an idea of how you could implement real-time marketing in your communication strategy. Now that you’ve seen how it’s done, it’s time to start planning your real-time marketing posts for your brand!

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