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?