Marketing In The Moment

Over the last month I have given a presentation entitled "Marketing in the Moment" at several different interactive conferences, including the SMX Toronto personalization panel, the PubCon Dallas real-time and social panel, and at Search Insider Summit Marketing Strategy panel in Captiva (click here to view the presentation on Slideshare).  Today I want to elaborate on this presentation, and discuss how search and social are becoming imperative elements of a holistic marketing strategy, and how organizations must embrace the concept of marketing as an "in the moment" medium. 

When I speak of marketers needing to be "in the moment," I am not referring specifically to real-time search, social, or the real-time Web.  This refers to becoming fully connected to your audience -- directly and indirectly -- and even more so, also being present and engaging with your audience in a meaningful way. 

While brands are becoming increasingly connected, the aspect of being present and acting "in the moment" most often falls by the wayside.  As it stands, most major brands spend two to five years in redesigning their static website; they view social media in a campaign-based, start-and-stop manner, and they are getting swung around by their tails by various networks.   



Your marketing strategy is only as good as it is right now, on any given day.  And "today" is measured by all of the past "right now" moments. What you are doing today is also simultaneously setting up for success in the future. 

In considering this scenario of acting "in-the-moment," allow me to paint a picture of the current online landscape:

The changing landscape is not so much about "social networks," as it is about society being networked. In my talk at SIS on April 16, I put this assessment of our social terminology into blunt terms:  The phrases "social networks" and "social media" are a disservice to the network medium itself, and sells it grossly short of its potential.  

Of course the merits of social media still stand, but it is time to start thinking about this in the bigger scheme of things, with the consideration of the fact that virtually everybody is wired, and that marketers don't need a catchy buzzword that suggest the reinvention of the Internet.  EMarketer recently published data stating that there are more than 250 million people online in the U.S. alone.  With the world buzzing 24/7, the surfacing reality is that a brand that is not interacting fluidly, or lacks in-the-moment presence, might as well not exist.  The compilation of many missed moments in this new landscape will be the death of some brands, and this embracing of "right now" will be the ascension of many others.

The entire Web is evolving into a real-time, networked and synaptic environment.  Algorithms and humans are now disseminating published content instantaneously, and the networking of society has hit critical mass.  Things are moving so fast online (and will get even faster) that the network is looking more like a living organism every day; one that fires off impulses that cascade throughout its entire being.  Not being a part of it, or present "in the moment" is equivalent to non-relevance and non-existence.  Furthermore, acting with the agility, fluidity and sincerity to ride with these synaptic connections will be the lifeblood of marketing efforts.

"People" aren't just "searching;" real people are searching for something right now.   Behind every search there is a real person with complex problems and search intentions.  The term "search" doesn't just mean the Google results page, in fact search is everywhere, in both the online and physical worlds.  In search there is also an entirely new opportunity to connect, if not passively, in a profoundly meaningful way with the person you wish to connect with.  Future marketing strategies will need to go much deeper in connecting via content in a sincere and useful way, one that will facilitate a connection that fits both you and your target audience.  Get past thinking about ranking reports, last click attribution, simple content creation, and even direct response - these are real people who deserve a lot more in what is presented to them in search and content publishing. 

In thinking about the entire marketing landscape, it is also worth noting that though search and social are often compared and pitted against each other, these two are entirely different animals, and will co-exist in their own ecosystem, with each giving and taking from the other.  So it's time to stop worrying about whether or not search or social will cannibalize each other, because the mindset of the user is entirely different when engaging in each one.  Accept that they are different and begin to strategize holistically.

In my next column I will delve deeper into what I refer to as the "simple truths" of a present, and in-the-moment strategy, and how it ties in as an inseparable aspect of marketing as a whole.

6 comments about "Marketing In The Moment".
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  1. Ashley Hedlund, April 28, 2010 at 9:55 a.m.

    "Not being a part of it, or present "in the moment" is equivalent to non-relevance and non-existence."

    Great point and very relevant to everything that is happening right now with the Web. It is a critical turn in the road for the internet. Social media is changing the Web, leaving the permanence of industrial media in the dust. Just as easily as social media can be altered; it can now reach a global audience of “friends” in less than a second. There is no excuse anymore to produce poor content and no way will it survive the social networks of online critics.

    Yes, its very important to be present, but it is equally as important to distribute content with value. Read more about the Social Media Constitution here:

  2. L john Yarusi from Olive LLC, April 28, 2010 at 12:10 p.m.

    Nice piece - totally spot-on... It's time for the "In The Moment" marketer to take control... Life moves at such a quick pace - brands and marketers need to mirror that behavior...

    Maybe we should steal the classic latin quote Carpe Diem and change the motto to "Seize The Moment" Marketing... Money never sleeps nor does marketing in this wonderful new "Social Media Age"...

    Just my 2 cents... Au revoir -

    LJY - Olive LLC

  3. Shelly Kramer from V3 Integrated Marketing, April 28, 2010 at 2:05 p.m.

    Terrific post, Rob. I especially love this comment "With the world buzzing 24/7, the surfacing reality is that a brand that is not interacting fluidly, or lacks in-the-moment presence, might as well not exist" so much that I quoted you in a blog post I just finished writing.

    Really great thoughts. And, I agree with Ashley, above, when she remarked on your thoughts. Not being part of it is the equivalence of not being relative - or even around at all.

    Thanks for a great read.

  4. Barbara Coll from Inc., April 28, 2010 at 2:26 p.m.

    Rob - when I was on the panel with you at SMX Toronto I made notes furiously while you were talking about 'in the moment'. I will take it a step further and build on your article here.

    It is about taking control of the moment - or dominating it as I like to say. And if you can't control it then you better be influencing it. Influence and control both require writing content that can be reused in many forms including retweeted, liked, commented on, rated and reviewed. Companies should provide the fodder for serious user-generated content (UGC).

    We must do that real-time / UGC panel again, maybe on the 'spur of the moment'.

  5. Rob Garner from Author of "Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing Wiley/Sybex 2013, April 28, 2010 at 9:51 p.m.

    Thank you all for the nice comments.

    L John - I think there is definitely something valid to your statement about the about the "in the moment" marketer : )

    Shelly - thank you very much for the quote.

    Barbara - agree on all points. Look forward to our next panel, whenever that may be.

  6. Kaila Colbin from Boma Global, April 29, 2010 at 5:50 p.m.

    Love it, Rob! And couldn't agree more -- being truly awake and dynamically adaptive are two critical characteristics for success in our wired world. Thanks!

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