The 3 Stages of Real-Time Marketing: How to Get from Micro to Macro RTM

By: Sofie De Beule

February 25, 2014

brand community
push marketing
real-time engagement
share marketing
user-generated content

We hardly ever know if a brand’s next big real-time marketing effort will be a brilliant piece of creativity or just a sly marketing trick. However, missing out on real-time marketing opportunities is a no-go these days. But, did you actually know there are 3 stages of real-time marketing and that by going through each step you can seize the “marketing moment” more effectively?

Knowing what and when to send out to your fan base on social channels is a sink-or-swim situation. You either nail it, or you don’t. The inflection point for the ongoing RTM conversation, Oreo’s 2013 Superbowl tweet, is the most classic example of “flawless” real-time marketing. Many say it defined a new type of marketing and has become the case study for anything topic-related. The popular ad got over 15,000 retweets and earned the approval of the Twittersphere.

Consequently, brands thus far have made some ill-conceived attempts at the Grammys, Oscars, and the Royal Birth to imitate that success. However, those are not actual “acts of real-time marketing”, but instead failed attempts to force ads into a broad cultural conversation.

But how has real-time marketing evolved nowadays? How can we improve our efforts to be noticed even more in the social sphere? Let’s take a look at the 3 stages of real-time marketing and start defining clear goals to boost your efforts.

1. Micro RTM: Start with One-on-One Real-Time Engagement

Any thoughtful or witty response (known as ‘customer engagement’) should be considered a real-time marketing opportunity. If you instantly react to what individuals are saying in a way that completely fits your brand’s story, the strong, yet simple, one-on-one marketing message already gets your foot in the door with a larger audience.

Needless to say, it’s crucial to talk to your influencers to really draw attention to your brand. However, there are more ways to really boost your real-time marketing efforts to collaborate and engage with your community on an ongoing basis. Listen to what they’re saying, and react with humor, information, and/or advice on a regular basis.

2. From Micro to Macro RTM: Stop Pushing and Start Sharing

Instead of pushing yourself into the conversation, listen to the stream of conversations. No matter how clever your brand is, you can be sure your audience is equally as witty! So, pick up on a piece of user-generated content similar to your brand’s beliefs. Instead of only pushing your own content, elevate your audience’s voice by starting to share their unique content.

What a great way to show off your human side, right? By giving the voice to that particular person, a brand can demonstrate its listening skills and lend support to their creativity within the community.

3. Macro RTM: Let Your Brand Advocates do the Marketing for You

In the macro real-time marketing stage, a brand continuously engages a group of targeted advocates in meaningful conversations about the topics and trends that matter to them IN REAL TIME. Just to be clear: it’s not just about specific events, it’s a continuous and ongoing process. Don’t just think it’s about random, witty replies that go viral. It goes far beyond that!

It is to be acknowledged that finding and joining the conversations in real time is still somewhat challenging. But once you’ve reached that level, you already have the foundation of a strong brand community. It’s a massive opportunity for modern marketers, and it introduces a much more relevant and engaging way of building a brand.

In short, real-time marketing is a great way to activate brand ambassadors. It’s essentially about two major things: listening and engaging. Move beyond pushy marketing tactics, and elevate the value of RTM to build a consistent and strong brand message. Deliver on real-time engagement, and make RTM part of the ongoing conversation. Real-time marketing is the future!

Or is it already part of our reality?