Real Time Marketing Collage

How to Use Real-Time Marketing to Boost Your Brand

You’re probably well aware of the term “real-time marketing” and probably have seen it happening in your Facebook and Twitter feed. Popularized by marketer David Meerman Scott, real-time marketing is what happens when brands and agency marketers react quickly to local, national or global events happening online or offline, in an effort to interject corporate marketing into consumer conversations via social media messaging, boost brand recognition utilizing marketing platforms, or draw attention to their own content.

The days of a launching big, expensive, one-size-fits-all campaigns into the world and hoping the messages will stick are over. Instead, it has become vital to be agile and adaptable when executing campaigns, and to be able to evaluate success in real time.

What is Real-Time Marketing?

Real-Time marketing is the ability to engage with your customers or fans instantly based on real time information — like their actions and behavior, changes to your own data or external news or events.

Real-Time marketing is an on-the-fly tactic that attempts to deliver the best possible offer to make a sale. At one time, real-time marketing strategies were based on responses to current events. Today we can deliver personalized messaging to individual customers and measure responses better than ever before. The core philosophy of real-time marketing can be summed up as “delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time.”

Real-time marketing is marketing that links into current events that are relevant to an audience in order to engage them with a brand. Today social media means that brands that can tap into current consumer interest in a topic have the opportunity to reach a large audience rapidly, potentially at a lower cost than broadcast advertising.

Internet users in 2019 are consuming more content than ever before and since 2012 the average daily interaction with social media has been increasing by 52 minutes per day year on year. However, as more brands, creators, and influencers utilize the power of fresh, relevant and consistent content, the more saturated the average social media user’s feed has become. As a result, brands are finding it increasingly difficult to get their message noticed. 

Unpaid distribution of social media content (i.e. organic reach) is on the decline. As brand activities migrated to social media, the timelines of Facebook and Twitter became cluttered. In response to this development, social media such as Facebook, Twitter and recently Instagram introduced algorithms to function as gatekeepers. Messages only pop up on one’s timeline when these algorithms identify a message as potentially relevant for that person. As these algorithms attribute less relevance to brand messages than to messages from friends and family, only a small percentage of the brand’s fan base will have an opportunity to see its messages and share them with others. Facebook restricted the organic reach of brand content to only 2% in 2014. In 2019, it is .65% for pages with less than 10 thousand likes, and is eventually expected to head towards zero. To open the gates of Facebook or Twitter’s algorithms, brands have to pay or offer the right content at the right moment, so that social media users are motivated to share with a larger audience through friends and followers.

Real-time marketing presents an opportunity for brands to capitalize on events that are already generating buzz, and utilize the event to increase their own brand equity and recognition by uniting with customers during crucial times when engagement will be most productive.

Real-time marketing is not a new idea but its popularity and efficacy have exploded with the rise of social media. Simply put, real time marketing capitalizes on current events, trends and affairs to market products or services. The goal of real-time marketing is to connect with consumers through an associated event or phenomenon. It involves a highly personalized digital marketing strategy that is tailored in real-time to a customer’s desires and mindset.

Besides external events, real-time marketing, can also mean targeting meaningful situations on the individual customer level. Such as, when consumers spontaneously happen to look for interesting on-site activities at their holiday destination or glance online at gifts to splurge on. These are moments that consumers are especially receptive to tailored marketing messages. Delivering the right messaging at the right time could even be the final nudge on the path to purchase – so no wonder real-time marketing is such a big ticket.

At its most basic, effective real-time marketing requires a brand to leverage technology capable of “listening” and gathering customer insights on social media, online, and other channels and consumer communities, such as customer support feedback, and local, regional, and national news, events, trends, etc. It also requires customer centricity.

Importance of Real Time Marketing

Real-time marketing allows marketers to modify their messages to a particular context, and the benefits go way beyond improving brand awareness. There are measurable, real and positive impacts on revenue and some other key metrics. Research proves that approximately 85% of businesses understand excellent customer experience as a significant profit source, additionally, better customer experiences lead to loyalty (an essential benefit of real-time marketing for 48% of businesses) and improved sales (a key advantage of real-time marketing for 75% of businesses). By the way, real-time marketing also offers a broader possibility to rethink customer cooperation, to be more special and appropriate, and to engage clients with highly targeted, timely and relevant messages that transform. Furthermore, real-time marketing influences various parts of your business, like interaction, brand awareness, customer reviews.  Allow me to clarify these comprehensions one by one.

  1. Engagement. One of the aims of real-time marketing is to increase engagement. If you create content based on daily events or trends, it will help you to engage people’s attention because people are interested in daily activities. Moreover, you can get your existing audience again. Your approach will influence their loyalty positively. Creating real-time marketing ideas and content will probably assist you to enhance the interactions with customers.
  2. Brand awareness. If your target is daily events and you use the right tools in the posts (for example, relevant hashtags or posters), then your contents will deliver you to the broad audience. Remember that; more people are always essential for brand awareness.
  3. Customer reviews. Sharing your creative contents again and again will help garner customers’ reviews and talks about your brand. It’s an effective way to increase social proof factors, it will influence interest in the brand.

On the surface this might seem like something PR people have been doing for years. But real-time marketing takes the practice to the next level, helping blog content and social posts to instantly reach interested followers. Effectively, this means real-time marketing can have an immediate impact, allowing brand marketing efforts to either become part of the trend or get ahead of it as it’s happening, capturing the highest traffic for popular keyword and hashtag searches.

Real-time marketing could be the answer to one of today’s biggest marketing challenge — how do businesses reach and engage the always connected consumer?  Not only does marketing need to cut through the noise, it needs to connect with the right person at the right time, in the right place, with the right message.

How can marketers use real-time marketing successfully?

News is breaking 24/7, so there’s no shortage of opportunities for you to get started. In this blog post, I’ll help you fully understand what real-time marketing is and how to start infusing it into your content strategy right away.

Real time marketing is a tricky and delicate thing when it comes to brand marketing and certainly has it’s risks. But when businesses learn how to effectively navigate Twitter (and other real-time social communities), there’s a lot that can be achieved by playing into the news of the day.

With the right real-time marketing strategy, your organization can use your own blog and social media channels to become a source your community looks to for timely information and commentary.

Real-time marketing is about quick wins. Brand awareness counts for everything in today’s digitally-fueled world, and with so much noise on the web, it’s tough to get out in front of your competitors. But real-time marketing helps you do just that. In fact, it helps your business:

  • Improve brand reputation
  • Turn into a thought leader
  • Boost traffic to your website and social channels
  • Improve authority and in turn, SEO
  • Acquire new customers 

So, Rohit, how can my business do this?’ 

That, my friends, is a great question. Here’s everything I know.

  1. First and foremost, you need to understand the lifecycle of a news story and a technique to use to your advantage.

    The Life of a News Story. Not every story will make sense for your brand to align itself with and unfortunately, the hype behind those that do won’t last forever.  A lot happens between the time a story breaks and before it reaches its peak. As you’ll see in this graphic from Scott, this time period could last days or weeks, or even a few hours.

    Here’s a brief description of the stages in the lifecycle of a news story:

    Stage 1 – Breaking News: An event happens. News outlets report whatever details they have available to get their stories out as quickly as possible. Since the story is new, it gets ratings (web traffic, TV views, etc). Once a story breaks, every other news outlet reports what the original source provided until they can get their own information.

    This is when you should seize the opportunity.

    Stage 2 – The Scramble & Excitement: Depending on the impact of the event and the initial hype, journalists scramble to find new information. They’re looking for new angles, expert insights, interesting details — basically anything they can use to get more attention.If a story breaks and is a complete dud, journalists and brands will likely move on to the next hot topic, but if the public excitement grows, so do the real-time marketing opportunities.

    Once journalists have gathered enough supporting data, they’ll edit the original posts and/or publish new posts with their new spin. The same cycle continues where all other news outlets repeat anything “new” that surfaces from other news sources. You can still do real-time marketing at this time, but you will need to bring a completely new spin on the story to the table.

    Stage 3 – The Peak: By now, the general public is aware of the story and has heard several spins on the subject matter. Through social media and word-of-mouth, the story grows until it reaches its peak and the public moves on to the next trending story.

    Stage 4 – Old News: All of the possible angles have been exhausted and people have lost interest in the topic.

    Overall, the key is getting your brand involved in the story as soon as it breaks and people are scrambling to find their angle, or at least, an update to report.Jumping on a story at its peak or later is unlikely to deliver the results you want as interest is no longer growing (or taking to search engines to learn more.) 
  2. Choose topics to monitor. To become a newsjacker, you need to have your finger to the beating heart of the media. That requires listening closely to the web and social for opportunities you’ve identified as relevant. Using a monitoring tools like  Hootsuite and Mention, create alerts for important keywords or topics in the news or on social media.
  3. Find a tie to the story. When journalists rush to find information on breaking news, they’re looking for why the story matters. Your job is to create that information. Offer expertise or entertainment around a topic that journalists will want to pull into their own articles.

    Tread carefully. Not every story is for your brand. Your company should have a legitimate reason to create content around the news. Ask yourself the following questions to see if the topic is a good fit:
    • Will your company look insensitive if you post about it?
    • Will it look like you’re trying too hard to make a connection?
    • Do you understand the topic? How much time would you need to spend doing research?
    • What are other people saying about it?
    • How do you see a newsjack affecting your goals (social media shares, more sign ups, etc.)?
    • What value can you bring to the story that hasn’t already been said?

      By asking these questions, you could be saving your brand from getting involved in a PR nightmare. It’s hard to recover from a bad newsjack. So err on the side of caution and discuss it with your team beforehand – it will only help your brand.
  4. Prepare what you can.  You can’t plan for everything, but monitoring will help you find the best stories for your brand. If a big announcement or event is coming up (IPL, the Oscars, new Google update, Apple’s iPhone or smartwatch, etc.), create alerts and be prepared to insert your brand into the conversation. Use an editorial calendar to remind you when events will happen and what you’re doing about it.
  5. Create content (Fast). You don’t have long to get your real-time marketing piece out there. The longer you take to come up with ideas and get approvals, the less impact you’ll make.

    It’s only ever the first business to do something that reaps the reward. As soon as someone does it once, it’s old news. Game over. Done. Don’t sit and wait. Write, and write fast.
  6. Spread the word. Now that you’ve got the advert, blog post or social media post, it’s time to put it to work. The final step of a successful newsjacking campaign is to get your word out there.

    If you’ve written a blog post, make sure you push it out on your social channels, but be sure to monitor how long this news story remains news.

Top Indian Brands That Have Mastered Real-Time Marketing

In order to leverage real time marketing brands have to be extremely intelligent and extremely careful. A marketing message interfering with a rather important piece of information can look extremely forced and unwanted.

However, when done in the right fashion taking care of factors such as timing and relevancy, real time marketing can lead to a lot of free media impressions and impress a few users out there to connect with your brand.

Here are some of the top Indian brands that have mastered real time marketing:

  1. Amul : The Indian brand that has been mastering newsjacking since decades
    Through Amul butter topical, Amul has been leveraging real time marketing by associating uncountable events with the brand since the last 53 years. I don’t remember a moment when these ads have been distasteful or unintelligent. Amul did master the art of real time marketing long before the term was coined. This marketing communication strategy for Amul has always worked and continues to work to propagate the brand message of “taste of india”.

    Tu Bees Hai Badi Mast Mast
    Utterly Butterly 2020!

    Amul Milk Christmas Ad 2019
    Merry Christmas to all!

    Amul Article 370
    J & K loses special status under Article 370.

    Amul Cannes 2019
    Deepika Padukone and Aishwarya Rai feature as Amul girls in the
    brand’s topical about the actresses’ Cannes appearances.
  2. Fevicol : Leveraging legacy to the hilt
    Fevicol has a legacy of being a brand that communicates through humor. It helps establish a connection with the people at large. This has been true for them during the television run as well as in the digital world. The Majboot Jod factor has been consistent throughout. This legacy helps the creative team to build on and create relatable content for consumers.

    GOT Cersei Elephants
    The elephants belong to House Fevicol! #FevicolKaJod
    Scene from the series finale of Game of Thrones.

    fevicol google map ad

    Fevicol turns a Google Map which shows the route to the Pidilite office with heavy traffic near the area into a social media ad. brand hints at the closer to Fevicol you are, harder it is to move. 

    fevicol yuvi retirement

    As 2011 World Cup hero, cricketer Yuvraj Singh calls it quits, Fevicol bids farewell to the ‘sixer king’.
  3. Zomato
    Zomato’s approach to marketing their brand has always been a little tilted and has helped them create a memorable brand history. They succeed in bringing forth something relevant and shareworthy around the most talkable events/occassions. And true to their marketing strategy, they always do it innovatively and differently than other brands. 

    Zomato iPhone11 Pro
    While Apple launches are eagerly awaited events in the technology and consumer space, it also ends up inviting immense online attention through memes and trolls especially in India where users go berserk talking about Apple products high pricing and design changes.

    Zomato relied on the 3-camera iPhone 11 Pro to showcase its quick and affordable offerings. It tweeted a picture of three cups of tea, strategically placed in a manner that mimicked the camera design of the newly launched iPhone 11 Pro. The ad copy comes with the tagline ‘for less than ₹199’ while the tweet goes with the caption, ‘Do it like a Pro’. The online ad is a testimony of moment marketing which Zomato has come to ace over the years. 

    Zomato’s funny tweet, ‘Guys, kabhi kabhi ghar ka khana bhi kha lena chahiye’ was a great success with likes over 18,000. In fact, it earned media over other platforms as various other companies re-tweeted the same post with a different taglines.

    Food Has No Religion

    By taking a moral stance on the issue and communicating it effectively, Zomato circumvented the need to respond to any uncomfortable questions regarding their delivery service and highlighted the bigotry of the customer who came under fire. 


Planning and agility are key to make campaigns based on real-time moments feel authentic and memorable. Real time marketing needs to not just leverage a moment, but create a consistent thread across a common brand value/voice that delivers or leverages the power of moments on a trend to trend basis. Another important point is to marry ‘content with context’, by being the brand that has its pulse on what’s cool and relevant. These interventions communicate to the consumer that the brand cares about the same topics that the consumer cares about, thereby building exponential empathy and relevance.

Real-time marketing can be a fast and easy way to generate attention for your brand. The key is to use tools that help you listen closely to the web and social media for the right opportunities, as well as help you react quickly.

Real-time marketing is good for brand awareness, company growth, SEO and your social channels. Just be completely sure that what you’re saying has no negative connotations. What could propel your business into the limelight could just as easily send it to the gallows.

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