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Why You Should Stop Real-Time Marketing (And What to Do Instead)

Real-time marketing has gotten a lot of attention since Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” Tweet, but not in the positive way that was first expected.

Most real-time marketing ads haven’t recaptured Oreo’s magical moment. Instead, the bad jokes and strained relevance of real-time marketing have become the marketer’s food for fodder. And we’re about one Super Bowl pun away from being completely cynical.

In a previous blog post, we discussed how marketers should shift to right-time marketing. As a follow up, we’ve listed three reasons why you should ditch real-time marketing with tips on how to refocus your efforts on right-time marketing.

3 reasons why you should ditch real-time marketing

If you’re thinking about giving up the real-time marketing dream—or need some convincing—here are some reasons that may help you along:

1. It makes bad ideas acceptable

When bad real-time marketing ads slip through the cracks, it’s often because marketers have sacrificed quality in the name of being “relevant” to a news event. This mindset can lead great brands to do (bad) marketing that they wouldn’t otherwise do.

For example, during the 2013 Oscars, New York Life tweeted the question: “In the movie of your life, who’s your co-star?” As marketing expert Jay Baer points out, this Tweet is not only a poor attempt at relevance, but it also doesn’t really make sense either.

2. It can go wrong real fast

In the pressure to jump on every trending discussion, there’s greater room for error. Unfortunately, a lot of real-time marketing attempts have placed more emphasis on speed than quality—and that can lead to some pretty brand-damaging content. For example, DiGiorno Pizza’s “#WhyIStayed You had pizza” Tweet accidentally made light of domestic violence by taking a hashtag out of context. This mess up shows why the pressure to newsjack can be destructive when it hasn’t been backed by proper research and care.

3. It’s usually pretty forgettable

When real-time posts lack any real meaning or substance, they usually don’t get much traction and aren’t very memorable. Didn’t you love that corny joke made at the Oscars? No, probably not. Which is why stuff like “Spaniel Day-Lewis” got almost no traction.

How to shift from real-time to right-time marketing

Right-time marketing involves analyzing your data in greater depth and going for long-lasting impact. Here are some ways you can get there:

1. Serve your customers, not the news

Be targeted in your approach. It doesn’t really matter if your message is in real time or not, as long as it’s relevant and useful to your customer. If it doesn’t make sense for you to tweet during the Super Bowl, then don’t.

2. Stay on brand and on tone

Avoid jumping on trends and trending conversations that have nothing to do with your brand. If you’re throwing around “bae” and “fleek” in your posts, you’re struggling for relevance (which we’ve talked about, in this blog post).

3. Use more time to your advantage

Develop a long-term strategy where you can spend time interpreting customer data and creating meaningful content. This will allow you to deliver your message at the optimal time for your customer, whether that’s in real time or not.

Place your bets on a more practical approach

When real-time marketing is done well, it can be really fun. But more often than not, resources and time get drained on ads that have little to no value for your brand.

Shifting to a right-time marketing approach will have a bigger impact on your customer and create a brighter future for your brand.

If you’d like to learn more about right-time marketing, watch our webinar: Social Marketing: From Real-Time to Right-Time.

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