Commentary

How to Score Big With Real-Time Marketing: What You Need to Know For The 2014 FIFA World Cup

A sudden blackout in the Superdome during the third quarter of the 2013 Super Bowl suspends play for 34 minutes. It’s certainly unexpected, but what better time for fans to grab a snack and chat with friends in person or over social media about the game, the ads and the darkness?

And what impeccable timing for Oreo to release its now legendary “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” tweet. The simple, witty, and visually compelling tweet was real-time marketing at its best, stealing the show from its multimillion-dollar 30-second television ad counterparts and setting a new precedent for marketers at major events. Thirty-one percent of people who saw Oreo’s message retweeted, liked or commented on it, according to a survey by GroupM Next. That’s a lot of bang for very little advertising buck. 

Not surprisingly, at this year’s Super Bowl in February, we saw some similar real-time marketing campaigns executed, with major brands like JC Penney, KIA, and Coors taking some big risks on Twitter to leverage fanfare and social media at the popular sporting event. 

Its clear that major sporting events are where effective marketers need to be. And this year’s World Cup series is certainly no exception. The potential for brands to leverage social media for real-time marketing at this month-long global soccer event is enormous. Take, for example, the fact that the 2014 FIFA #WorldCup hashtag had already generated a staggering 6.9 million mentions -- and this is still just the beginning. 

With three billion worldwide viewers, one thing is for sure: the combination of great content and messages that brands send in real-time, while paying close attention to social conversations and game happenings, will have the greatest impact.

So here are some secrets to real-time marketing success to stay ahead of the competition at the 2014 World Cup:

  • Be authentic: Create content that works as a dialogue with your customers. Right-time marketing isn’t just fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants creativity -- it’s a response and a reaction to what customers are discussing. Pay attention to the conversations people are having on Twitter and Facebook as they watch the football matches and consider where your brand can make thoughtful contributions.
  • Be discoverable: In researching your audience and their interactions over social media, note the words they are using and the catchphrases that evolve throughout the tournament. These are the keywords to incorporate into your content. Speaking the language of the tournament and its fans will optimize your brand’s online reach.
  • Be useful: Without a takeaway, your content is a sales pitch. Create stories that speak to people, answer their questions and help them solve their problems. The content should enhance customers’ experiences of watching the tournament, telling them more about players they’re talking about and providing information about the game.
  • Be interesting: Millions of blog posts, tweets and attempts at viral content flood the Web. It pays to put effort into content that captivates. A video with the right soundtrack, clever writing and slick visuals can go a long way. This content, understandably, takes time to create and marketing in real time does not leave a big window for development. But it is possible to plan in advance. Anticipate what the big stories of the tournament might be, build multimedia content around those stories, but leave the window open for last-minute tweaks to accommodate the trends that emerge in the social market.
  • Be timely: The real trick to engagement is publishing content when you know it will resonate. Perhaps it goes without saying that with the World Cup only days away, now is the time to kick off (pun intended) those football-themed campaigns.

So what are you waiting for? To get started…

  1. Set up a social media war room with a command center to "listen" to the social conversations around the World Cup. Use uberVU to follow, teams, players, key terms and relevant hashtags. 
  2. Set up and empower a team to respond quickly.  Assemble a team of copywriters, social strategists and legal so that you can act and get approval immediately. 
  3. Monitor reaction after you have posted content, respond to any mentions (as appropriate) and adjust strategy accordingly.

Remember -- it’s your game to win, so be there in the moment.

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