Patrick Tripp[Posted by , Senior Prod­uct Mar­ket­ing Man­ager, Neolane, Inc.]

The Oreo PR and social media cam­paign from the recent Super Bowl in Feb­ru­ary has been all the rage in mar­ket­ing cir­cles. For those that are not aware, there was a power out­age and the lights went out dur­ing the game. The Oreo cookie brand (Mon­delez Intl.) and their con­glom­er­a­tion of PR agen­cies very clev­erly took advan­tage of the sit­u­a­tion and tweeted an ad to thou­sands of fol­low­ers famously stat­ing “You can still dunk in the dark.” This cre­ated a lot of buzz, 15,000 re-tweets, and pro­vided the Oreo cre­ative team with count­less acco­lades that pro­vided for a resur­gence of the agile mar­ket­ing con­tent trend.

David Meer­man Scott’s book and the evan­ge­lists of speed and agility in mar­ket­ing have been try­ing for a while to re-invent the phrase “Real-Time Mar­ket­ing” as an agile approach to devel­op­ing effec­tive mar­ket­ing and PR con­tent. They view this as a busi­ness process, hav­ing an oper­a­tional team ready to react and engage with con­sumers with mes­sages that are rel­e­vant to cur­rent events, sports, tele­vi­sion, and even envi­ron­men­tal issues like in Sin­ga­pore. The ben­e­fits of being a rel­e­vant and timely brand are pow­er­ful, but do leave some major ques­tions about how these tac­tics can scale and be deliv­ered in a unique and con­sis­tent way to opti­mize the cus­tomer experience.

As clever and rel­e­vant as the Oreo ads and oth­ers react­ing to cur­rent events have man­aged to be, they have still not addressed the fun­da­men­tal need in mar­ket­ing to go beyond sta­tic, and broad segmentation-based con­tent. Mar­keters need to look to an approach that not only relates to cur­rent events quickly, but places empha­sis on the indi­vid­ual con­sumer, and takes into account coor­di­nat­ing a con­sis­tent expe­ri­ence across mul­ti­ple channels.

Imag­ine if Oreo was able to send indi­vid­ual text mes­sages to fans with one-to-one mes­sages and allow them to com­ment and share this infor­ma­tion in dif­fer­ent chan­nels. For exam­ple, since the power went out in the sta­dium, maybe con­tact­ing in-stadium fans later on a dif­fer­ent chan­nel like email would be more effec­tive. Or per­haps a mes­sage that drove fans to a spe­cific Face­book page that con­tained per­son­al­ized offers and anec­dotes, which then could be redeemed in store or in another chan­nel. This could be the next level of sophis­ti­ca­tion that dri­ves more mar­ket­ing effec­tive­ness and ties more directly to rev­enue for the business.

As to the scale issue, real-time mar­ket­ing needs to hap­pen in large vol­umes for every dif­fer­en­ti­ated con­sumer.  Every con­sumer has their own tastes, inter­ests, needs, and behav­iors (or quirks). This can­not be achieved by a brand agency or ser­vice cen­ter. This con­sumer data is not frozen in time either. As cus­tomers engage with brands in dif­fer­ent chan­nels, pro­vide com­men­tary, share and exchange infor­ma­tion, this con­text should be absorbed and used to imme­di­ately enhance the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence at every touch point.

At the Neolane Evo­lu­tion Con­fer­ence last week, a num­ber of key brands like Yves Rocher, PMU, and Bax­ter Credit Union talked about how they are lever­ag­ing real-time mar­ket­ing con­cepts across chan­nels. I was also priv­i­leged to present a ses­sion on real-time mar­ket­ing, and based on research we had con­ducted with the Direct Mar­ket­ing Asso­ci­a­tion, defined what real-time mar­ket­ing solu­tions need to pro­vide including:

  • Speed and Agility. Fun­da­men­tal to real-time is doing things as fast as pos­si­ble at the very “moment of truth” when engag­ing in real-time with a con­sumer. This also needs to be an auto­mated and dynamic process.
  • One-to-One Per­son­al­iza­tion. Every mes­sage or touch point deliv­ered by a brand should mat­ter, pro­vid­ing a unique and mem­o­rable expe­ri­ence for each con­sumer, includ­ing per­son­al­ized mes­sages for anony­mous prospects and known customers.
  • Cross-Channel Opti­miza­tion.  Add the abil­ity to carry con­tex­tual infor­ma­tion with con­sumers wher­ever they go, across chan­nels, ensur­ing that infor­ma­tion is rec­on­ciled and avoid­ing chan­nel conflict.

Key Ele­ments of Real-Time Marketing

Real-Time Marketing

Tak­ing these prin­ci­ples into con­sid­er­a­tion when plan­ning for real-time mar­ket­ing will pro­vide mar­keters with a much more sig­nif­i­cant path­way to suc­cess. Kudos to the Oreo team for all of the great work they have done, but we as mar­keters and brands can do much bet­ter than this. What are your thoughts on the Oreo campaign?