How to plan for real-time marketing

Today we expect everything now. We have TV and Video on demand, News the second it happens, shopping delivered to your door, instant updates on friend’s activities. We are media hungry and impatient. If a brand does not live in the moment with us it seems old fashioned and slow.

In this world of constant frenzied marketing activity and the need to create content that shares in our customer’s experiences, the pressure is on!

But do the brand decisions around RTM need to be so reactive and nail-biting each time?

It is actually very rare to get a reactive real-time opportunity for your brand to be a part. It needs to fulfil some very important criteria for your brand to look relevant to the marketing message and not just taking an unrelated opportunity to make some noise.

Reactive marketing is actually a very small percentage of real-time marketing we see. Real-time marketing is actually about 90% planned to some extent or another. Take Valentine’s day for instance. It’s something that happens on the same day every year, but we only really think about it for a couple of days. Maybe a bit longer if you are recently attached and trying to impress. The reach in February alone is 7.4 million and logic says that reach is achieved by the 14th of the month and not beyond. So, can this type of event be clustered into real-time marketing? As you are adding your brand voice to an occasion that has a small marketing window with a short conversational relevancy, I believe so, with many similar occasions like it. Yet how many times have I seen events like this been missed or content created in a panic due to lack of planning around the moment, a lot if you were wondering.

So how do you proactively combat this panic marketing for both reactive and planned RTM?

The first thing you need to understand is what type of event or opportunity is relevant to your brand and it’s customers.

Target market

Know what your customers are actually interested in. Research what type of media they are immersing themselves in every day. Also think about the other interests they have, that can be related to your brand. For instance, Beer with sports events, Wellies with Glastonbury. Don’t try to wedge yourself into a conversation that is in no way relevant to your brand, it will just result in awkwardness. You don’t want to be the Dad that joins the kids on the dance floor, now do you!

Tone of voice

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. You need to speak to your audience as if they are your peers. You need to say something that they understand in a way they understand it. That carries their conversation on while inviting others of a similar age and opinion to add their view. Nobody wants to be preached to, talked down to, or be a part of a conversation they either don’t understand or care about.

Brand strategy

Stay true to your strategy. If you add your voice to every event that has a dubious link to your strategy, then your message becomes unclear and eventually lost. Choose wisely.

One great example, an oldie but still good, of a brand connecting their strategy to a reactive real-time event was the Jeremy Clarkson punch incident. When he had a tussle with one of his crew members because he couldn’t get a steak late at night. Snickers sent him a box of chocolate bars with their strapline ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’.

Create an events calendar for planned RTM

When you have a very clear picture of your strategy, create a calendar of occasion events that have relevance to your brand. This can be anything from special days to funny days like ‘Be late for work day’ or even solar activities and celebrity birthdays. Make sure you keep an eye on the event dates around the world as they may only be market specific or vary their celebration days. So, posting them on your global social media page may cause some confusion for your global customers.

Now you have a marketing in the moment plan and a checklist to always make sure your RTM content hits the mark with being relevant to your brand?

Planning real-time opportunities will make sure you keep a constant and relevant conversation going with your customers and most importantly, being front of mind when they make their purchasing decision.