Real Time Marketing – How Brands Are Embracing The Trend

Last week AdTech descended on Melbourne for another year, and whilst I couldn’t find the time to attend most of the event I was glad I found the time to hear Ekaterina Walters from Branderati present 5 trends marketers can’t ignore.

Amongst the key trends covered was that of real time marketing. Whilst this concept is not new it is starting to come of age and it got me thinking. How have global brands successfully leveraged the trend and what can be learnt from it. And more importantly what does it take for organisations to embrace real time marketing?

What is real time marketing?

A quick definition for those unfamiliar with the concept of real time marketing;

Real-time marketing is the outcome of a deliberate process that allows brands to respond authentically, quickly and based on the context of conversations through content, experiences or service.

Virgin Real-Time MarketingHow global brands have adopted real time marketing

By now most of you would have heard of Oreo’s successful real time marketing efforts during the Super Bowl – so rather than regurgitate this case study how has other brands leveraged real time marketing. Here are a few clever examples I have come across;

Within minutes of the bill legalising gay marriage in the UK, Virgin Holidays tweeted this image and posted it to their Facebook and Google+ Pages. Selecting the most appropriate “real time marketing opportunities” for a brand is key – otherwise it can feel a little forced / commercial. For Virgin, legalisation of gay marriage was one of those relevant moments based on audience fit, their founders’ views of gay rights and the fact they offer honeymoon vacations. They used the #equalmarriage hashtag to expand their reach and were rewarded with 265 re-tweets from their community.

Pantene’s hairstyles of the stars

For Pantene, the Oscars marked the ideal time to try their hand at real time marketing. With luscious locks on display from celebs Pantene decided to get a piece of the Oscars buzz by sketching the trendiest Oscar hairstyles of the most popular celebrities in how to formats featuring their own products. For years women’s’ magazines have given tips to re-create a celebrity look and Pantene have learnt from the experts bringing this concept to life in real time.

SmartCar – it takes more than just one bird

Too often consumers are tweeting on deaf ears – but not this time. @adtothebone tweeted that he “Saw a bird had crapped on a Smart Car. Totalled it.,” SmartCar saw this as an opportunity to extend a simple tweet into a branded SmartCar message through the creation of a hilarious / engaging infographic and tweeted back, “Couldn’t have been one bird, @adtothebone. Sounds more like 4.5 million. (Seriously, we did the math.)”

SmartCar USA was rewarded with over 500 re-tweets and 300 favourites by being great social listeners and capitalising on an opportunity to engage.

SmartCar Real-time MarketingWhat it takes for organisations to embrace real-time marketing

This form of marketing goes far beyond simply posting a timely tweet or status update. To succeed in this brave new marketing world Ekaterina Walters identified some of the key fundamentals during her presentation at AdTech Melbourne.

Empowerment

In a real time world there is little time to work through traditional approval processes – thus real time teams need to be empowered to make the decisions they think are appropriate at the time. Related to this concept of empowerment is the need to be agile / nimble. The vast majority of advertising creative is generated the same way it has been for decades: first comes the creative brief, followed by several concepts / ideas followed by selection and approvals before the piece finally sees the light of day. But tomorrow is too late when it comes to real time. Re-architecting internal processes is an important consideration for brands wanting to engage in real time marketing (and these processes usually extend beyond marketing department boundaries). Rick Wion, Director of Social Media at McDonalds stated in a recent interview “our partnership with our legal team comes in handy. They help us understand what we can react to very quickly, what things are going to take a little bit more time to do, and what things we would probably avoid.

Think and operate like a publisher

In the world of real time marketing – content is king. For brands it’s important to shift away from broadcasting the products and services we offer and instead focus on publishing content desired by their audience. Pantene did exactly that during the Oscars, they learnt from publishers who regularly communicate with their audience to tell a relevant story in real time.

Allow on brand risk taking

Cutting through in real time is a challenge and for some brands it hasn’t panned out – but for those actively engaging in the real time marketing space brands need to be prepared to take “on brand” risks. For the risk adverse this is a challenge, it is also difficult for organisations who don’t celebrate failure as part of the journey to success.

Budget

When the Super Bowl hit, Oreo’s social media team as well as their agency were waiting for an opportunity to get in the game. Activating resources incurs costs as does investing in the tools to effectively monitor the social space to identify opportunities and paid media spend to amplify earned media. This is not to say that real time marketing is therefore only for the big end of town – but if you want to get serious about real time marketing then marketing investment is an important consideration.

In addition I believe it takes leadership. Why?

It takes a brave and bold senior leader to champion real time marketing and drive a change in ways of doing things.

Real Time Marketing EffectsSo is it worth it? Do the numbers stack up?

Whilst research on the effects of real time marketing to the bottom line is somewhat few and far between, preliminary research conducted by GolinHarris in 2012 found consumer behaviour from awareness through to try / buy is positively impacted by exposure to real time marketing.

But if this isn’t enough to convince you to try it for yourself – it is probably case studies like that of Oreo that helps to paint the picture of the value of real time marketing. Oreo’s Super Bowl real time marketing efforts generated in-excess of 17,000 re-tweets combined with a substantial amount of press coverage which in PR value alone probably more than justifies the investment.

Video: What is real-time marketing? (from Adobe Summit 2013)

References

http://www.digiday.com/brands/the-great-oreo-debate/
http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Real-Time-Marketing-Drumbeat-Gets-Louder-Agencies-Brands-Sign-On/1009869
http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/marketers-jump-super-bowl-blackout-twitter/239575/

 

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Understanding The Role of Tablet Devices

Australians appetite for technology has been unabated in recent years despite soft economic conditions with tablets becoming the object of affection. More than 5 million Australians now have tablet devices – with 2.4 million tablets sold in Australia in 2012 alone. What’s more this growth is only anticipated to gain momentum in the years ahead with Telyste forecasting this annual figure will rise to 7 million by 2017.

Whilst many organisations are still grappling to understand the role of mobile, fewer are able to dedicate the time to consider the role of tablet. In fact tablets and smart-phones are often lumped into the same bucket – due to a lack of understanding of the differences in device consumption. Furthermore few also consider tablets beyond Apple – even though Android is anticipated to account for nearly 70% of tablet users by 2016 (currently controlling 36% of the Australian market).

Connected Consumer Device UsageBy understanding the profile of tablet owners as well as their usage behaviours in terms of the types of content consumed, brands and publishers have an opportunity to tailor experiences to make them more relevant, engaging and useful.

What local & global research tells us about tablet users

Understanding the “who” and “when” of tablet device consumption
Over recent years, the proliferation of mobile & tablets in Australia has created a more complex digital environment for marketers. Understanding basics like the profile of tablet ownership and time of day usage by Australians can influence media buying decisions as well as support tablet strategy investment decisions.

Tablet ownership by age

Both global and local research suggests tablet penetration is higher amongst a more mature audience. The recent “Nielsen Australian Connected Consumer Report” revealed tablet ownership was highest amongst the 35 – 44 age group whilst smartphone ownership was highest amongst the 25 – 34 age group.

Peak usage time of tablet devices

Tablets like laptops tend to peak in usage terms after work / dinner – as consumers begin to settle down for the evening.

Device Time Usage Stats

Tablet share of user time

The recent Australian IAB mobile advertising landscape report revealed the percentage of time consumers spend interacting with each device – with tablet now commanding 1 in every 5 minutes.

Device Share of Time
A device to entertain and to shop – the “why” of tablet usage

Tablets have been dubbed the new in-home entertainment device as a result of the way in which consumers are interacting with the device. According to the comScore “mobile focus in future 2013 report” some of the most popular tablet based activities include playing games (66.3%), watching video’s (50.9%) and reading books (51.2%).

Tablet UsersBut tablets aren’t solely used for passing the time away. As tablet functionality more closely resembles that of the computer or laptop, the impact tablets are influencing in-home shopping behaviour. The comScore research revealed tablet owners are twice as likely to purchase an item on their device (38%) than smartphone owners (19%).

Mojiva research delved into consumers’ preference to utilise tablets vs. smartphones for key activities and found similar trends with consumers’ preferring to use their tablet to perform entertainment based and shopping based activities. In all demographic segments, watching video/TV and reading topped the list at 63% and 48%, respectively. 45% of all respondents indicated they would use their tablet to make a retail purchase, as opposed to their mobile.

Multi-Screen Computer Device

In a sequential screen context, being able to move cross device and pick up where you left off is crucial – which means device based experiences should not be built in isolation.

Watch: The Mobile & Tablet Advertising Market: 2013-2020

References
SMH Tablets To Reach 70% by 2017
Mojiva Tablet Rule Report
Google Report: Navigating The Multi-Screen World
comScore Mobile in Focus Report 2013
IAB Australia Mobile Advertising Report
Nielsen Connected Consumer Report 2013

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