The key to success with real-time marketing is knowing exactly when and where to apply it. Sounds easy, right? Especially given the fact that social media has had some years to mature. Yet some brands still continue to struggle, while others are reaching new heights of social media success.
British betting exchange Betfair has garnered a reputation for effective marketing in real time to encourage players to bet on sports events. Its success has come from quickly reacting to games and tournaments with sharp tweets and Facebook posts. On top of that, the company really invests in its real-time marketing. Betfair utilises real-time bidding to retarget its messages in Facebook feeds or display ads – as a means of cashing in on any Tweets that are put out organically.
Although Betfair’s humorous and informative content often works, the company is astutely aware that dedication is key. And to quote the brand’s digital director, you must “be prepared to have content that doesn’t fly.” Other success stories include Cadbury’s and BMW’s MINI.
This year’s World Cup has seen some brilliant real-time marketing lessons, with Nando’s making the most of the Suarez scandal by urging him to instead tuck into one of their tasty meals.
Meanwhile, Oreo’s effective “Daily Twist” endeavours spawned countless examples of brands simply playing copycat, with attempts from Virgin and its overcooked marriage equality tweets – as well as New York Life’s tragic and try-hard Oscars tweet, “In the movie of your life, who’s your co-star?”
Bastardising someone else’s idea, by desperately searching the Web for the latest big event and making a witty remark about it, just isn’t going to cut it.
And let us not forget that even the best social marketers have plenty of threats beyond their control to contend with. Burger King completely lost control of its Twitter account after it was hacked last year. The hacker even went as far as to change the name and logo to that of the company’s number one rival, McDonald’s. That episode might have provided us with a few laughs, but it serves as a reminder of the problems real-time marketing can create when the right controls and strategies are not in place.
To find where the money’s at, brands need to first leverage their advocates and sponsors in the digital homes where they reside. Then they need to engage them by sparking a conversation that really means something to them.
It’s not revolutionary; it’s not even new. It stems from the very heart of what marketing has always been about: putting the customer first.
In the words of Idries Shah, “It is not important to have said a thing first, or best – or even most interestingly. What is important is to say it on the right occasion.”
Timing is everything in the real-time world, so remember: Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should!
Georgiana Foster – Global Business Development at gyro London