Failed at real-time marketing? Try right-time instead | DMA

Filter By

Show All

Connect to


Failed at real-time marketing? Try right-time instead


Have you failed at Real-Time Marketing yet?

If yes, then that’s great – because it means that you’ve tried it out. Despite all the industry buzz, articles, and World Cup tweets, you’d be surprised at how many brands and marketers still haven’t jumped on board. Or, only try it once, and then give up. The excuses are numerous: it’s just a fad, Facebook is a waste, we don’t have the resources, legal is getting in the way, we haven’t seen any ROI in social, newsjacking feels corny, etc. I’ve heard them all.

But digital is not a medium where you can wait on the sidelines to master something. Wait too long and you’ll miss the boat. It’s about trial and error; learning what works for your audience and your organization, and what doesn’t. Because the truth is, no matter what the medium, be it online or offline, truly great content has never come without at least some level of risk.

Let’s look it another way. If real-time sounds too over-used / too time-consuming / too reactive, then call it Right-Time Marketing instead. It may sound like a buzzword, but Right-Time means that when an audience interacts with the content it feels fresh and appropriate for them. It’s relevant to what they have going on, and where they are consuming the content. And hopefully it is valuable – something that they can then share with their community or something to make their existence better, even if it’s just a big laugh.

So, with all that said, here’s a few things that brands should consider when launching a right-time strategy:

People don’t share ads

Today, the mobile feed is the new portal. It’s where people consume their news, entertainment, and participate in life. When you have compelling content, it entices people to touch and go deeper, rather than swiping it away. People will engage with content when it grabs their attention and gives them a reason to participate. But they swipe ads away.

Unfortunately time and time again you see brands pushing out ads into their feeds. And in their paid social media. They may not call it an ad, but if it doesn’t have anything to do with a consumer and it’s all about the brand, then it’s an ad.

Events make great content – but to a point

Events have proven to be a good, successful way for brands to get started in right-time marketing. It gives them a focal point, and at times marketers can almost lay it out like activating around a traditional campaign so it provides comfort.

The problem starts when you solely rely on an event-only strategy. Audiences exist beyond events. They have a life; and for brands where the purchase cycle isn’t defined, staying relevant 365 days is more important than a few spikes during the year.

Data prevents waste

The traditional marketing approach has been to push out all your content everywhere, based on a pre-determined budget defined at the beginning of the month. But not all content belongs everywhere on a loop. Test out your content so that you can continuously promote the best performing pieces based on data. . Let the data drive your decisioning on which content and where.

Big caveat here: in addition to data, brands need to have a great editor or producer to stop them from joining in where they don’t belong or have credibility. Focus on the consumer - let the brand take a back seat. Your audience will reward you if you are authentic and real.

Content comes from everywhere

Don’t just rely on one source for content. Instead, source it from multiple places, from creating something completely original on your own, to working with content partners (BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, the wide spread of emerging YouTube stars – the list is endless); from user generated to aggregated and licensed (as an example, Newscred is great for this).

And the great thing about working with content partners is that you are also buying their audience; so, when they create content on your behalf, let them do it. Avoid the urge to try have them work in five features, a unique selling and proposition, and reasons to believe.

The Entire web is social

Strive to make all the content in your ad containers something that an audience would want to share or use. Right-time content appearing in unexpected places with participatory or entertaining features can really grab an audience’s attention. Think about that the next time you write search text.

Ultimately, whether you call it real-time, or right time, everything in your strategy needs to tie back to this: content that feels right in the moment that it is consumed.

Hear more from the DMA

Please login to comment.