If you’re in the marketing world you’ve probably heard about the 2013 “tweet heard ’round the world” – Oreo’s Super Bowl blackout tweet. It made quite a splash in the industry for its timeliness, and even beyond. It has been re-tweeted more than 15,000 times. Why was the tweet so effective? Because it was immediate.

    Three-quarters of marketers worldwide defined real-time marketing as the act of personalizing content for specific customer interactions, according to a February 2014 survey from Evergage. More than eight out of 10 marketing professionals noted that increased customer engagement was a benefit of real-time marketing.

    Real-time marketing happens on the fly. Marketers are working within the moment to determine the best approach to events or customers at a specific place and time. It puts all the principles of inbound marketing to use on a time-strapped scale. With real-time marketing, marketers seek to provide the right offer to the right customer at the right time – and that time is often now.

    Real-time marketing content capitalizes on the fact that in today’s connected world there is always something happening, and there is an audience that cares about that event. Advances in technology allow people from across the world to share and connect with each other. Smart marketers can go beyond demographic limitations by producing content that focuses around these global and/or national real-time events. This content has the potential to reach more people in the right context.

    Many marketers use social media channels as their main avenue for real-time marketing. This makes sense as conversations happen quickly through social media and brands with social listening strategies are poised to take advantage of this. In addition to social media, real-time marketing can also be deployed through email and brand websites.

    One of the biggest challenges in regards to real-time marketing is the sheer volume and speed at which consumer conversations happen, spurred on by highly advanced mobile and social technologies. For larger brands this can mean sorting through sizable quantities of data to mine out actionable insights that can be turned into superior content at a fast pace.

    By gathering and analyzing this data and using it in real-time strategies brands can deliver on a wide range of marketing challenges as well as empower themselves to more effectively make strategic decisions at a moment’s notice. Staying on top of this data allows brands to deploy smarter campaigns on a shorter notice, such as keeping up-to-date on social media trends and adjusting paid advertising campaigns to amplify brand exposure related to the trends. Brands with larger teams or those that have resources available to them can build multi-departmental teams to oversee, examine and act on this gathered data quickly.

    Perhaps the most vital thing to understand about real-time marketing is that telling stories and sharing content based on gathered data has the power not only to draw in customers but also to start a larger conversation and change the culture. When everyone has access to the same data, the group can better understand the challenges, trends, and opportunities associated with it.

    Brands that want to succeed with real-time marketing need to invest in strategies that focus on collaboration, listening, and responsibility.

    Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.



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