technologyDid you know that the term “real-time marketing” has already been around for twenty years? In 1995, the marketing expert Regis McKenna published an article in the Harvard Business Journal using the current buzzword as the title.
However, did we make much progress since then? Well, I am not so sure, only that people are by now used to having search delivered in real time, news the second they happen, instant updates on their friends’ status, video on demand, among many other instantly expected actions.

The world is simply getting used to want everything right now, especially since technology is steadily speeding up the ways consumers receive information and interact with each other.

That is a bit of a worry to marketers and their constant struggle to keep up with customer expectations. Undeniably, they face a competitive environment, where being slow to respond or perceived as disconnected from real life can be deadly for them. Anyway, it is nowadays essential for any brand to be able to respond fast and have a real-time conversation with consumers via social media. Only that way it is possible to produce personalized, real-time content in a timely, relevant, and valuable way. Here are three useful tips how you can achieve that:

1. Be authentic: People crave for authenticity and do not want to be fooled, so never risk losing their trust. Rather invite them to join the communication and to contribute relevant content in real-time. Invest a lot of effort in platforms where you can find, curate, aggregate, and manipulate content to fit consumers’ need and deliver targeted real-time messages.

2. Keep it simple: Data is easy to capture and store, but using it in smart and efficient ways is still a major marketing challenge. Consumer data can be quickly outdated and it can be an overwhelming task to sort, analyze, and utilize it, therefore keep it simple by focusing on the basics, like age, gender, location, interest, and persona first.

3. Don’t bore: Content on the web is short-dated. A tweet generally has a life span of only a few minutes and a Facebook post only a few hours. Make your message count on social media to extend the typical life span by making it awesome, remarkable, and easily shareable.

In short, most real-time marketing takes place in social media because the path to publishing is much more streamlined than in other media. Here, people expect to find real and authentic stories, therefore they value and believe more what fans say about a brand than what the brand says about itself. Certainly, compelling content will not only have a longer life cycle and greater reach, but also will be shared and spread enthusiastically in real-time. Therefore, the key to real-time marketing is not necessarily to produce more social media content more quickly; it is more to curate real and authentic stories that are relevant to consumers and which encourage them to share and participate.

The obvious next step in real-time marketing is video coming along with the tweet or status update. That too will become standard procedure as more brands embrace the activity in the near future, as social media platforms add more video capabilities such as for instance Twitter’s Vine application.

By Daniela La Marca