Three Keys to a Good Real-Time Marketing Process

Our world as marketers is intensifying every day. More demands are being thrown on us—by technology, by the competition, and by our audience—to act faster and create stronger content. As we’ve seen here on this blog, becoming more real-time can create a huge advantage for brands that are ready to jump on trends.  But how can we keep up with an always-on social media world? We’ve got day jobs—we can’t be sitting around, hitting ‘refresh’ on Twitter every 30 seconds, hoping for a trending topic to surface and send our performance metrics skyrocketing.

RTM doesn’t require a huge investment or shift in how your team operates. But it does require a plan.

Don’t worry—I totally understand. I’ve spoken to marketers from all sorts of different verticals who can see the shift to real-time, but are concerned about what that time commitment looks like for their team. For many, the pressure can lead to ditching real-time marketing all together, or hastily posting content that falls flat.

Today, we’re going to turn that problem on it’s head and spin the challenges of real-time into opportunities.

Your Content Should be Real-Time, Your Game Plan Should Not

Believe it or not—that great social content you see every day—those posts that jump on trending conversations—they don’t just appear in the mind of some young copywriter in a stroke of genius. I mean sure, some of them do, but most actually have a decent amount of planning and process behind them.

Today I’d like to share some high-level tips that can help you start that process and planning. I don’t have space in a blog post to dive into every detail of what makes a good RTM program and team (for that, you can check out my new book, Trendology).  But today we’ll look at three key tips for building out a real-time marketing program.

You'll be surprised, it’s actually not that hard.

1) First, Figure Out What Type of RTM You’re Doing

As we’ve discussed previously, not all RTM is built the same, and each type of content creation requires it’s own set of rules, structure, and plan. If you’re wanting to create Planned RTM, you should be able to do so without a ton of new scaffolding around your team. But other types of real-time content creation take a lot more process and team support to get the ball rolling. Opportunistic RTM, the type that jumps on micro-events within worldwide moments like the Super Bowl, takes a war room mentality and the infrastructure to go along with it. Watchlist RTM, which keeps an eye on topics that could potentially trend, requires a listen-and-react process, as does Everyday RTM.

So make sure you’re not just saying “let’s be more real-time”—pick your battles and plan accordingly. Don’t build out too much, or too little, to get your desired result.

2) Remember the Four Pillars of Real-Time

You’ll need a method to your planning and execution. In Trendology, I map out RTM planning around four key pillars (People, Process, Technology, and Data) at every step of the program. Make sure you’re keeping all four in mind as you create your process, and understand that each plays a key role with every real-time marketing team.

3) Your Team Needs to be Constantly Learning

How did your last real-time effort perform? How did other brands perform that jumped on the same trend, and what can you learn about how each of them approached the topic? After each RTM post, make sure your team has the bandwidth and expertise to look at past performance. Using a data-driven approach to RTM can give your team a huge advantage, but you need to stay on top of what works (and what doesn’t) across every new trend and tactic. A team that is learning is a successful team.

A Team Plus a Plan at All Times

There, that wasn’t so bad right? Three short tips that will go a long way for your brand. It doesn’t take a creative genius to have strong real-time engagement—the trend is already posted for you. Have a team, establish a plan, and the content will come. And once it does, you’ll be able to evaluate and adjust your future plans speedily and according to your brand.

Want a deeper dive into RTM process and performance? Get a free copy of the introduction to Trendology.

Chris Kerns's picture

Chris Kerns

Chris Kerns has spent more than a decade defining digital strategy and is at the forefront of finding insights from digital data. He currently leads Analytics and Research at Spredfast. His research has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes, USA Today and AdWeek, among other publications.