What Is Real-Time Marketing? Best Practices & Examples

What Is Real-Time Marketing? Best Practices & Examples

Would you believe that making your prospects fall in love with your brand without investing in paid campaigns is within your reach? With real-time marketing, you can communicate with your customers and mark your online presence without breaking the bank. How to nail it?

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No matter if you are a big fish or run a small local business, your marketing strategy must be creative, memorable, and on point. Otherwise, what is the sense of spending your budget on ads that fade into oblivion even before getting noticed by anyone?

To reach the top of your marketing efforts, you probably use the latest consumer data – rightfully so! After all, you need to move at the speed of prevailing trends to stay relevant and show your audience that you’re up-to-date with what matters to them.

You need to grasp your prospects’ attention in the right place, at the right time.

One way to achieve this goal, which is getting closer to your customers and making them create positive associations with your brand, is by going for powerful and impactful real-time marketing.

If you’re not 100% sure what real-time marketing actually is and how it can benefit your business, keep reading!

What Is Real-Time Marketing?

Real-time marketing is a type of dynamically created content derived from major news stories or prevailing trends. It’s one of the content marketing strategies that combine wit, creativity, and a quick reaction to ongoing events.

Using an image (e.g. memes), video, or short text (e.g. tweets) as the means of creating a quick response to a current event or consumer trend is what characterizes real-time marketing. By doing so, you adjust your communication and throw your brand into a particular context – the one everyone talks about.

The modern understanding of real-time marketing is a bit wider. It also depends on taking immediate action when a customer interacts with your brand. Look how Spotify nails it:

real-time marketing spotify example

Real-time marketing requires you to customize your audience’s experience, often trying to predict what is on their minds. To do so, think about the latest sports event, upcoming national holiday, or a word’s premiere of a longed-for movie. Then, put your brand in that very context.

Do you need help with your content marketing efforts? Try our content plan services!

Why would you spend your marketing team’s time and energy on that? Here is why.

Real-Time Marketing Benefits

Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions. – The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Even though changing people’s perceptions is like wringing water from a stone, it doesn’t mean it’s unachievable.

Luckily, using real-time marketing for shifting the way your prospects think about products by making your brand look funnier, smarter, or simply more “human” than the other brands is what you should definitely go for.

When done wisely, real-time marketing will give you the following benefits:

1. Boost Visibility & Recognition

It’s not actually about the type of content you produce, but rather what it does with your audience. If your real-time response to a current event evokes b emotions in your prospects, the content you prepared will go viral. This works like automatic advertising that spreads without your interference – totally for free.

This way, you develop your brand recognition, reaching the people you wouldn’t normally be able to reach. If your real-time comment on a current event is REALLY GOOD, your brand name will be featured on the internet media. This, in turn, significantly increases your chances of getting more backlinks!

2. Increased Users Engagement

Have you ever wondered why people comment or share information online?

Mostly because an image or a piece of text makes them laugh, angry, or feel touched. There is also a group of people who are quick to share hot news because they want to be perceived by others as well-informed, always one step ahead of the rest.

No matter which group of internet users your real-time marketing gets to (hopefully, all of them), they will be willing to engage with the content you created just because you made them feel something. Keep this in mind while trying to put your brand in a context revolving around some current event.

WARNING: Don’t try to evoke sadness in your audience. Sadness isn’t sharable. At least, according to Berger and Milkman’s report: What Makes Online Content Viral? (more on that below)

3. Higher Traffic & Sales

Achieving the two above benefits of real-time marketing will get you yet another benefit – more visitors. If you have more people going to your website, you increase the chances of higher sales and conversions. In two words: better ROI.

SEO TIP: Make sure your UX and UI are user-friendly. If the design of your website is off-putting for those who adore your real-time response to the latest news, all of your efforts may be completely wasted, bringing you zero results.

In case you need a specialist to take a look at your website to check if everything runs smoothly, let us know! Our team will give you clear instructions on how to improve the user experience on your website, turning your visitors into satisfied buyers.

4. Diversified Content

Real-time marketing is also an excellent opportunity to create diversified content. Even if you are focused solely on writing blog posts, you may try to create graphics with your logo placed somewhere in the foreground.

Alternatively, if your brand speaks to its audience with pictures, real-time marketing may push you to publish a witty tweet.

The power of diversified content is huge. Use it to your advantage, and reach the untapped audience that either forgot about your brand for a while or doesn’t know you exist (which, we truly hope, is not the case).

Real-Time Marketing Examples

Here are a few examples of how brands like Spotify, Ikea, or Hyundai use real-time marketing:

During a press conference, Christiano Ronald moved away bottles of coca-cola refusing to drink it. This move was virally commented, and Ikea decided to jump on that wagon naming similarly shaped bottles “Cristiano”:

real-time marketing ikea example

Another example from Ikea, which is well known for nailing its real-time marketing:

what is real-time marketing

Stranger Things season 3 premiere inspired lots of social media posts, like this one:

what is real-time marketing example

Holiday 2022 will be remembered as the holiday of flight delays. All across Europe travelers experienced delays and cancelations due to airport staff shortages and strikes. Heineken decided to join the conversation:

what is real-time marketing heineken example

Real-Time Marketing Best Practices

So far, you’ve learned what real-time marketing really is. You understand the potential it offers for online business owners like you. You also saw how big companies like Heineken, Ikea, and Spotify nail this content marketing strategy.

Now it’s time for you to learn the best practices of real-time marketing and use them to get more eyeballs on your content and increase conversion.

1. Create a Brand Connection

This is absolutely essential. You won’t succeed at nailing RTM if your message is completely disconnected from what you offer. While creating real-time marketing always keep in mind your brand values and stay true to them.

Otherwise, your audience won’t… well… buy it.

2. Evoke Emotions

As mentioned above, if you want your real-time marketing to spread like wildfire, it must trigger high-arousal emotions like anger, awe, or interest.

Here is a list of the emotions you may want to have a go at while creating RTM.

How high-arousal emotions affect transmission:

anger 34%
awe 30%
practical value 30%
interest  25%
anxiety  21%
emotionality 18%
surprise 14%
positivity 13%
sadness – 16%

Source: What makes online content viral?

3. Be Quick

Real-time marketing posted two days after the event/news it’s inspired by went live is barely RTM. The audience perceives such “late” content the same way you perceive a joke you’ve already heard a million times – not funny, boring, sometimes even irritating.

In real-time marketing is generally more beneficial to be the first, than to be the best.

A word of warning: it doesn’t mean that taking a slapdash approach to RTM is a good way to go. Creating real-time marketing that goes haywire may make your audience turn their backs on your brand. If you have nothing clever to say because the current affairs don’t resonate with your brand at all, better wait a bit longer for something more suitable to come up.

4. Encourage Action

When you manage to get viral with your real-time marketing, take this opportunity to provoke some action. If possible, add CTA that plays in tune with the message or idea you want to get across in your content.

Just think about ASOS and their bags with a typo. ASOS may have asked those who received items wrapped with the “limited edition” bag to take a picture and post it on social media, adding appropriate hashtags.

real-time marketing asos example

5. Prepare Graphics

In some cases like national holidays (see the Barilla’s RTM prepared for New Year’s Eve) or seasonal events (Nivea’s RTM created for the summer holiday season), it’s far better to prepare real-time marketing graphics a few weeks earlier.

real-time marketing holiday example

real-time marketing events example

This way you give yourself more time to get it right and nail it.

PROTIP: Grab a calendar and go through all the events and holidays to see which ones you can use for your content marketing strategy.

Don’t overkill it. The graphics you create must be easy to understand by everyone. If your RTM is excessively complex, it will go unnoticed. However, if there is no way to simplify your graphics, add hashtags to which your RTM drives.

6. Choose the Right Platform

Think which platform can help you reach your audience the quickest – after all, that’s one of the main objectives of real-time marketing, right?

Also, make sure your audience will have no problems sharing your content creation. Take into consideration which platform your target audience spends the most of their time on – is it your blog, FB, or a thread on Reddit? Don’t forget about the newsletter!

content marketing for seo

7. Avoid Controversial Topics

Your real-time marketing commenting on religion, politics or sexuality must be well-thought-out. Otherwise, it will ricochet back at your brand in a harmful way. It may be wiser to resign from getting your brand associated with a controversial idea.

Real-time marketing is also about getting invisible for a while in the event of a disastrous situation that involves your industry. This is what most airlines did after 9/11.

They halted broadcasting their commercials on TV and radio not to get associated with the terrorist attacks that used planes to carry out this horrific strike.

8. Know the Context

You absolutely must know what you’re commenting on. Having just a vague idea of what a certain campaign or news is about may get your brand into real trouble.

A word of warning: It’s also important to be aware of the latest events. Otherwise, you may do what Airbnb did a few years ago. They sent a newsletter promoting various water-themed homes as holiday destinations.

real-time marketing bad example

The thing is that they did it shortly after Hurricane Harvey had devastated some of the American states. Using “Stay above water” as the subheading of their email in such a terrible event was pretty unfortunate.

Real-Time Marketing – The Takeaway

With the rapidly-moving customer trends, real-time marketing seems to be one of those content marketing strategies that never changes its main principles: be quick, be relevant and be engaging.

Be the top player on the marketing pitch by learning as much as you can about your prospects. Communicate with them, cunningly mixing your brand with the symbols, elements of pop culture, and pieces of news that resonate with them and occupy their mind on a particular day.

If you want to ace real-time marketing, keep in mind the above pieces of advice. Do your best to maintain the connection between your brand and the news you refer to.

Better steer clear of controversial topics, know the context you’re putting your brand in and choose the right platform to reach your target audience. Last but definitely not least, be ultra-fast, whenever possible, ask your audience to take up some action, and make them feel something (not sadness, though).

In case you still have problems with wrapping your head around real-time marketing, let us suggest something to you. Break down the elements that make up real-time marketing of the brands you look up to. Naturally, don’t provide your prospects with a cheap or crude copy of your competitors’ works. Just look for inspiration.

Once you understand which techniques they use, you will be able to grip your audience by showing that you not only listen to them but actually are one of them.

If you need help with coming up with a successful real-time marketing strategy, contact us!

This is an update of an article published in 2021. 

FAQ

Real-time marketing is a form of communication that responds to a current event or trend. Brands use it to refer to their product ranges. RTM usually takes the form of a simple graphic with or without a witty caption.

Most often, RTM communication can be found on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Although real-time marketing is an appealing form of communication that can enrich your relationships with customers, it also has certain disadvantages. Below you can see some most popular pros and cons.

Pros of RTM:

  • The possibility to reach a lot of people without incurring any costs
  • Building brand awareness
  • Building relationships with recipients

Cons of RTM:

  • It might be hard to find a relevant topic so quickly
  • You may be unsuccessful despite preparing valuable content
  • Improper RTA can cause a brand crisis

Real-time marketing best practices include:

  1. Create a brand connection
  2. Evoke emotions
  3. Be quick
  4. Encourage action
  5. Prepare graphics
  6. Choose the right platform
  7. Avoid controversial topics
  8. Know the context
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Author
Copywriter - Gosia

Copywriter

A translator and copywriter that has been working in e-commerce for over 7 years. As a trained English teacher, she knows tricks to transform difficult topics into easily understandable articles. In her free time, she reads everything that is related to Scandinavia, looks for murals while riding on her bike, and from time to time shoots wedding/sports reportages.

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