Everything You Need To Know About Real-Time Marketing [in 2021]

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It’s 10th April today, and I’ve just seen perhaps the most viral ad in 2021’s Indian market – the CRED ad ft. Rahul Dravid.

Not gonna lie – I saw it multiple times. Even more than that, I saw many new-age startups and social media-active brands bank on CRED’s virality. That banking on momentary virality is an example of real-time marketing, the concept I am here to discuss.

In this article, I will share everything you need to know about real-time marketing, including what it is, why it’s worth practicing, how to go about it, and global examples that can widen your horizon. Let’s start!

What is Real-Time Marketing?

Real-time marketing is about creating a relevant/optimal message based on a real-time (& often unanticipated) event happening on social media or elsewhere.

Basically, real-time marketing is about reacting rather than creating — reacting to current events, trends (like memes), mishaps, feedback (e.g., replying to comments), etc. In other words, you can’t put a real-time marketing message on your marketing calendar.

Why invest in Real-Time Marketing?

Real-time marketing humanizes your brand. People know the message/tweet/email wasn’t going to be there if something else (i.e., the trend/news/meme/etc.) hadn’t happened. It’s more of an entertainment/celebrating creativity kind of thing more than interacting with a brand/ad.

Moreover, people like to be a part of a new trend — and interacting with anything related to the trend in that particular window releases dopamine.

Let me explain it with an example if you are a numbers person. Compare this (real-time marketing) tweet of Zomato:

With (pre-scheduled) this:

The former has about 40x more likes, 60x more retweets, and twice the replies. Also, let’s not forget the screenshots of the tweet that would’ve potentially reached millions of people across the mediums.

Such numbers are appealing, to say the least. Compared to the impact real-time marketing can have on your business, the cost is negligible. You just need to make sure of a few things.

How to do real-time marketing?

Real-time marketing is about reacting almost instantly. Making sure of the following things is all you need for effective real-time marketing.

1. Know what people are talking about

The first step to real-time marketing is finding real-time marketing opportunities. You need to know of the latest trends, meme formats, news, comments on your last post, events concerning your target audience, etc., at all times.

  • Check the Twitter Trending section to see what people are talking about, the hashtags they are using, the overall vibe surrounding the topic, etc.
  • Check Google Trends to see what people are actively searching for & why.
  • Follow pages & accounts that essentially feed their audience with what’s trending. E.g., meme pages, infotainment channels, etc.

P.S. It’s been two days since the CRED ad trended, and it has almost faded. Be quick to spot opportunities!

2. Create relevant response(s). Instantly!

You not only need to find the perfect real-time marketing opportunities but also need to create the best message in the short window.

  • Have yourself or your creative writer/graphic designer/social media person ready to roll. 24/7.
  • Hire a freelancer if the need be. (The quickest way is to look for relevant professionals’ gigs on Fiverr if you don’t already know the perfect person or your go-to person isn’t available).

3. Be a part of the conversation

“Phew! Tweeted a relevant, funny text; emailed the email list; created a shareworthy Insta post. Let’s sleep.” No!

Real-time marketing isn’t about broadcasting a message. It’s about responding & being a part of the community.

  • Publish more relevant posts,
  • Reply to others’ take on your tweet or trend,
  • Interact with your community with the about-to-die-but-at-its-high jargons.

Be a part of the conversation!

3 inspiring real-time marketing examples

New to real-time marketing? Get inspired by these successful real-time marketing examples by global brands:

1. Oreo’s Power out? No Problem.

In February 2013, Super Bowl, an Americal National Football League (NFL) championship, was held in New Orleans. Due to a power outage, the biggest game to happen every year was halted for 34 minutes!

Almost instantly, Oreo Cookie came with this tweet:

“Power out? No Problem. You can still dunk (Oreo) in the dark”

People were in awe of Oreo’s real-time response, making it the talk of Twitter. What better would you want from social media marketing efforts?!

Five years later, during #CESblackout, they tweeted a contextualized & yet another super-creative tweet. Again, a great sight of real-time marketing.

2. ASOS’s disaster to opportunity

ASOS, a UK-based fashion retailer, converted a disaster into an opportunity with a real-time marketing tactic. I didn’t know of this earlier, but now that I’ve found it, I have one word: Brilliant!

“Ok, so we may have printed 17,000 bags with a typo. We’re calling it a limited edition.”

Asos printed 17,000 packaging bags with a typo – instead of “online,” the print read “onilne.” Instead of throwing away the batch or using it like nothing happened, they addressed the problem in a way that people wanted to buy it because of the typo, let alone despite the typo.

3. Wendy’s masterstroke

Wendy’s “18 million” answer to Carter’s “Yo @Wendys how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?” is an example that can feature in almost any kind of social media marketing tips related article. E.g., Wendy’s featured in my “how to grow organically on Twitter” article.

From a real-time marketing standpoint, finding an opportunity in your comments section or tags section is the easiest of all. Just entertain/help people with your reply.

Final Words

Real-time marketing is the most cost-effective way to attract eyeballs. The context & conversation is set; you just need to position your brand naturally with an optimal & relevant message in almost no time from the opportunity arriving.

People don’t think of real-time marketing as marketing or ad. And that’s the best kind of marketing, in my opinion.

Of course, you won’t get a response like these top brands do, but I am sure you’ll see better numbers than usual. Plus, it will add greatly to your efforts with the rule of 7. What do you think?

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