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

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If you've failed in real-time marketing, then that's great, as it means that you've tried it out, says Anne-Marie Kline, founder of BrandLive, DigitasLBi.

Despite the industry buzz, articles, and World Cup tweets, you’d be surprised at how many brands and marketers are yet to jump on board or have tried it once, and given up. The excuses are numerous: it’s just a fad, Facebook is a waste, no resources, legal barriers, newsjacking feels corny… I’ve heard them all.

But digital is not a medium where you can wait on the sidelines to master something. It’s about trial and error; learning what works for your audience and your organisation, and what doesn’t. 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.

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.

So, what should brands consider when launching a right-time strategy?

People don’t share ads

The mobile feed is the new portal where people consume news and entertainment. 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. Unfortunately time and time again you see brands pushing out ads into their feeds and paid social media.

Events make great content – but to a point

Events are a 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 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 decision making on which content and where.

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.

Content comes from everywhere

Don’t just rely on one source for content. Source it from multiple places, from creating something completely original on your own, to working with content partners such as BuzzFeed, from user generated to aggregated and licensed such as Newscred. 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.

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

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