We can do better.
Recently, I attended an industry roundtable alongside a variety of marketers from different industries, all on the brand side. These are smart and accomplished individuals who gathered together to discuss real time marketing and what it means for their organizations. When asked what their favorite example of real time marketing was—most deferred to the obvious answer: Oreo's "dunk in the dark!" With much respect to the brand that got the real time conversation started—it's time to move on.
From Real Time Marketing to Building Responsive Brands
Real-time marketing is indeed a real thing, but we're going to have to stop chasing our own version of the Oreo moment if we're going to make progress in this area. First we have to really get our heads wrapped around the foundation to understand what we're actually trying to do—and what we're trying to do is build brands differently. We essentially have two tools at our disposal: content and engagement. This is where many of us miss the mark. We underestimate how difficult it is to use these tools. A recent article featuring Coke's content efforts underscores how arduous a task it is for a brand and organization to create, curate and publish a regular stream of valuable content. In the race to real-time, we've over simplified this. Secondly—when, how, why and how often a brand engages has become an art and science. The NYPD learned this lesson the hard way when they wanted to simply promote their cause.
Re-Thinking Our Core Teams
Before we go any further down the rabbit hole of real time marketing, we must take into account that the core team needed to actually take on the role of planning & producing content as well as partnering with third parties and coordinating media purchases looks a little differently than the traditional core teams whether it's an advertising model or other. Editorial sensibilities must be combined with creative instincts and craft. Social aptitude must be core to engagement strategies and tactics. Media spend is increasingly becoming difficult to separate out as it becomes part of the content strategy and analytics must be more agile than ever.
Enter The Content Strategist
Content strategy or content marketing for that matter isn't new—but there aren't exactly thousands of content strategists with years of experience under their belts sitting around waiting to take their rightful position as key member of today's responsive brand building team. Content strategists will also look differently from how they may have operated in the past with a holistic view of the way content can live, breath and flow across paid, owned, earned and shared properties and media. They will need to partner closely with media counterparts and be intimately involved in the connections planning.
Having put this thinking forward—there's much to be said about in regards to culture, talent and pure ingenuity. When it was my turn to say what my favorite example of "real time marketing was", I gave a recent client example because I was close to it. If I had the chance to answer again—I would have said Honey Maid. Take a look—now that's a responsive brand.