You Can Practice Real-Time Marketing With The Lights On

What is real-time marketing?

I’ll get to that in a moment, but it’s not about dunking cookies in the dark.

With the Super Bowl less than a month away, I’m sure many agencies have been asked to create Oreo-like campaigns. But Oreo’s famous Super Bowl tweet last year is not real-time marketing (although it was a brilliant marketing execution).

So what is real-time marketing?

It’s optimizing your marketing campaigns based on real-time campaign and performance data.

How do agencies and marketers practice real-time marketing? By analyzing their marketing campaign performance across channels on a continuous basis and optimizing campaigns accordingly.

Here’s what marketers and agencies can do to take advantage of real-time marketing:

1.      Study local campaign patterns: Despite the broad range of segmentation tactics available to marketers, our research has shown that prior local campaigns are a strong predictor of local marketing performance. Marketers who track channel marketing performance at the local level are able to identify marketing patterns and cluster similar-performing local markets together to create marketing regions. So residents in markets like Hartford–New Haven, Connecticut and Portland, Oregon might respond to the same marketing messages despite being located 3,000 miles apart. Marketers who can analyze and respond to cross-channel marketing performance at the local level can take advantage of this understanding to create unique ‘marketing regions’ (like Hartford–New Haven and Portland in the previous sentence) based on real-time cross-channel marketing analytics.

With most shoppers shifting their Web access from stationary desktop computers to mobile phones, tablets and other mobile devices, local is taking on a greater significance in online marketing. Therefore, marketers who can analyze campaign performance on a local level will be in a better position to take advantage of the emerging local opportunities on the mobile Web.

2.      Look for patterns across channels:  The secret sauce of real-time marketing is understanding which marketing channels impact other channels and then amplifying marketing activities in order to take advantage of these synergies. For example, for TV campaigns supported by online videos, we have seen an increase in social sharing and viewing of the online videos as the marketers broadcast more TV. Marketers who create relevant and engaging online videos to complement their TV campaigns are benefitting from the synergy between TV and online / social video, which amplifies the resonance and deepens the consumer’s connection, resulting in a better marketing ROI. Other synergistic cross-channel patterns we are seeing include TV Campaigns which are amplifying the impact of Search Engine Marketing and Online Display Advertising, which is increasing the impact of both Social Media and Search Engine Marketing.

To take advantage of cross-channel synergies, marketers need to continuously monitor campaign performance by looking for cross-channel correlations that can generate better overall marketing performance.

3.      Integrate relevant environmental factors into the marketing: For many marketers, key environmental factors play a significant role in impacting sales. If you’re selling ice cream, temperature will obviously impact sales. But most categories are impacted by environmental factors. Real estate sales are impacted by interest rates and housing prices and availability. Clothing sales are affected by weather, seasonality and clothing prices. Taking advantage of environmental factors -- like an increase OR decrease in temperature -- is the ultimate example of real-time marketing, yet other than the Weather Channel, few are capitalizing on it.

To take advantage of relevant environmental opportunities, marketers need to look beyond dunking in the dark and make environmental factors a new data stream to be integrated alongside existing sales and marketing data.

4.     Break down the silos and integrate campaigns across channels: The greatest challenge marketers face in embracing real-time marketing is the current marketing silos that exist in most marketing organizations. With separate groups for TV, display, direct marketing, PR, social media, search, etc., and each having its own set of agencies, practicing real-time marketing is not unlike turning a cruise ship on a dime.

Marketers need to break down the silos. All marketing channel-specific teams need to be working off of the same playbook and working with each other on a regular basis in order to improve overall marketing performance for the brand.

With most customers moving targets in our multi-device world, the only way that marketers can create a seamless user experience is by breaking down the channel-specific silos and thinking and creating unified marketing messages across channels.

Today, we have the technology needed to practice real-time marketing. We just need to continuously monitor our marketing campaigns using relevant data streams from within a brand-centric as opposed to a marketing discipline-centric organization.

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