Commentary

Real-Time Marketing Either Flies Or Fails Because It's Personal

On the "Trick or Tweet: Is Real-Time for Real? Is It for Your Brand?" panel at OMMA Social this morning, the definition and origins of "real-time marketing" proved elusive. Has it been around forever, or is it something new? Or, somehow, both?

Before we go any further, let's get this out of the way: real-time marketing did not start with, does not end with, and is not defined by the Oreo Super Bowl tweet. However, we can learn from it.

Matt Wurst, director of digital communities at Dentsu's 360i, which managed the tweet, said that the tweet had "guard rails" meant to keep the brand from "crash[ing] and burn[ing]." This can be applied to all forms of real-time marketing, whether it's in person, through an exchange, through Twitter, or any other platform.

Couldn't real-time marketing be described as any form of advertisement that takes advantage of knowing exactly what a potential customer is doing at a given moment? Like, say, offering coupons outside of a store. Except, without "guard rails" in place, such as making sure that coupon hasn't expired, the negative response could damage a brand's reputation. Why is that? 

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With traditional advertising, consumers understand that the ad was made beforehand, and there are limited options when it comes to altering the ads beacuse of current events. It's less peronsal. Real-time marketing is high risk, high reward, because it's more personal than traditional advertising.

It enraged Peter Griffin when the chicken gave him a bad coupon because it happened in person just outside the store. It was poor taste when a celebrity clothing boutique misused the trending topic of "#Aurora" to promote themselves during last summer's movie theatre tragedy because the country was mourning. Real-time marketing is a "we're all on the same page right now" kind of deal.

To me, that means that real-time marketing has been around forever. And, if others would like to argue that social sites like Twitter have ushered in a new era of real-time marketing, I wouldn't argue. Different platforms call for different tactics, but real-time makes it more personal regardless of the platform.

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