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Are Brand Attempts at ‘Real-Time Marketing’ Just Dancing in the Dark?

October 2, 2013

During the Super Bowl blackout this year, Oreo tweeted an image of a cookie surrounded by shadows and paired with the line: “YOU CAN STILL DUNK IN THE DARK.” It was an instance of “real-time marketing” that worked and received lots of attention.

But as Digiday reports, other brands have misguidedly been trying to replicate Oreo’s social-media success by glomming on to nearly every major event in the country. Whether it’s back-to-school season, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day or the series finale of “Breaking Bad,” brands now feel the need to add their two cents in real-time — with results that range from somewhat clever to downright painful.

“The Oreo tweet was a great idea for a marketing execution, but it doesn’t mean it’s a great idea for a continuing strategy … you can’t plan and manufacture that kind of serendipity,” says Matt Britton, CEO of the MRY agency. “It’s herd mentality, and for a lot of brands, it’s really just embarrassing. It’s actually hurting the field of social-media marketing. You have brand marketers who have spent 50 years crafting their brand and now all of a sudden they are dumbing it down with clipart trying to replicate magic that happened once.”

As Britton sees it, social-media marketing should move past the obsession with real-time to what he calls “predictive” marketing. “The next phase is about consumer predictions — taking the notion of big data and putting it toward predictability to have content out there before consumers are seeing it on TV or before everyone else is doing it.” — Greg Beaubien


Rob Carpenter says:

I agree that real-time marketing needs to evolve from the current media defined definition.. and predictive analytics will be a big part of that. But, in a way, it already is. I discuss in detail in my blog post today about the history of the term "real-time marketing", what 235 marketers actually think the term means, and some practical use cases for real-time marketing today.. including using real-time big data to respond to past and current consumer behavior in real-time, in the moment.. not hours (or minutes if your brand is fast) later on social media. Would love your thoughts...

October 29, 2013

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