Real-Time Marketing Is Not A Strategy, Sorry

Posted by: in CaaS, Content on May 6, 2014

The madness of real-time marketing continues to plague the headlines of blog posts, white papers, research reports, case studies videos and event topics. If you don’t believe me and have 43 minutes to spare, you’ll find enough real-time goodness to last a lifetime in the above video.

We can thank Oreo for making real-time marketing part of the mainstream conversation.

And since then, agencies have been creating newsrooms. Brands are creating newsrooms. Models are being developed, redeveloped and new approaches are being tested daily. Some brands are successful. Others are struggling.

A study by Evergage, fielded by Researchscape International provides additional clarity to this topic. According to the report, 76% of marketers globally defined real-time marketing as personalizing content in response to consumer interactions; and 68% defined it as responding to trends and cultural events in social media (graph re-created from eMarketer).


According to the same report, more than one-third of marketers globally viewed real-time marketing as extremely important to their organizations in 2014.

Yay, that’s great news.

Real-time marketing is surely important. I mean, how else are we going to interrupt consumers as they scroll through their news feeds during the Super Bowl halftime show? After all, relevance does have a deadline because after the game, no one will actually care anymore.

The reason brands are struggling with real-time marketing is because they are viewing it as a strategy; and not an approach that fits within a larger framework.

Your content strategy should not be anchored in real-time marketing.

In other words, brands and agencies can’t just sit around and wait for the news cycle before they create compelling pieces of content. They should be telling amazing stories every single day. Real-time is sexy, yes. Everyone is talking about it, yes. Every brand should have a newsroom, yes. We even build these for clients at WCG. But it’s one very small piece of the strategy, that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

A content strategy enables and positions a brand to tell a very consistent story across the media landscape. It helps draw parallels between what’s important to customers and what the brand stands for. It enables marketing teams to create more relevant content based on analytics and insights; as well as what the brand is comfortable talking about online and what it’s not comfortable talking about. It allows employees and customers to also participate and be a part of the story too.

At WCG, we call this Content as a Service (CaaS) and it consists of 5 strategic pillars – Social Narrative Development, Social Channel Strategy, Participatory Storytelling, Content Performance & Analysis and the Content Operational Framework that holds all these pieces together. Real-time marketing is a tactic that sits within Social Channel Strategy and it’s so much more than just being clever and news jacking the Emmys.


Yes, real-time marketing has a deadline – a very short one indeed. But when a brand can think beyond the “now”, they will have the ability to tell amazing stories daily without waiting for the news cycle.

By: Michael Brito

Been making things happen online since the mid 90s. Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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  1. Anonymous said

    That Oreo example made an impression on people in marketing, not consumers. Actual consumers were not scouring Twitter and genuflecting on a random’ glib quip as “marketing genius.”

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