Monthly Archives: April 2013

Real-Time Beyond Social Media

Social media may be the current home for real-time marketing, but things are rapidly changing. Brands and their agencies are exploring how to bring real-time mindsets and efficiencies into their broader marketing and advertising planning.

Case in point: the media agency MEC has an executive whose title is “head of real-time marketing,” according to an article in the Financial Times today (FT has a gated website; a sign-in may be required to view the full article). In the article, Dan Plant, the MEC executive, describes a scenario in which TV ads could be created by developing multiple threads of video, which are then put together in a final product based on “live user feedback.”

“It means making more pieces of copy than you need to, but it’s the right thing to do to make media-spend work that much harder,” says Mr Plant.

I heard several similar scenarios in the interviews I did for my next eMarketer report, which will look at how real-time marketing is impacting the creative process for agencies and marketers. (If you’re wondering why the long silence on this blog, that’s what I’ve been doing.)

Marketers and agencies are focused on the real-time opportunities in social media because it has an easier path from concept to execution. There aren’t old-media barriers like approvals or the printing process to stand in the way of getting a message out in a timely fashion. But clinging to social media as the only venue for real-time is dangerous. Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication and Technology, says as much, writing that the concept of “culture-jacking” risks becoming boring to users and potentially dangerous to brands that jump in at the wrong moment.

Despite the chorus of proclamations that culture-jacking is the future of marketing, I suspect this artificial mandate to flood social channels with real-time ads in hopes of amplification by customers retweeting and sharing won’t last too long.

Perhaps we need to go through this “culture-jacking” phase in order to get to a better understanding of what real-time marketing actually is, and what it can do. And then the sky’s the limit.