Image via Jon Thomas at Post Advertising
Is 2013 the year of real-time marketing (RTM)? Befitting such a buzzword, it had a few good months, but the backlash to it has been picking up steam.
“It’s herd mentality, and for a lot of brands, it’s really just embarrassing,” said Britton. “It’s actually hurting the field of social media marketing. You have brand marketers who have spent 50 years crafting their brand and now all of a sudden they are dumbing it down with clipart trying to replicate magic that happened once.”
In Ad Age, Mike Proulx of Hill Holliday compares RTM to a predatory weed:
Driven by the myopic goal of increasing engagement, many brands are unscrupulously on the hunt for likes, shares, followers and retweets without an overarching strategy based on core business objectives. This blind yearning for social currency is leading to incredibly irrelevant and unavailing branded content (a.k.a. advertising) that's preying on social media. Just because #Sharknado is trending, a royal baby is born, the "Breaking Bad" finale is on, or it's "Talk Like a Pirate Day," doesn't mean your brand has to flippantly post about it.
Even 360i exec Jared Belsky has been heard dismissing claims of Oreo's 'super' tweet being something that just magically appeared in seconds (via Ad Age):
Seem we can't talk about real-time without mentioning Oreo's Super Bowl tweet. But that was actually 3 yrs in the making- J Belsky 360i #awx— Jade Mangahis (@jade_mangahis) September 24, 2013
And then at my OMMA Social panel about Vine and Instagram during Advertising Week, moderator Carree Syrek of Kinetic Social put a glass on the stage and said anyone who mentioned real-time marketing or Oreo had to put in a dollar fine. We somehow avoided the penalty.
Real-time marketing is not a bad word. Or a bad thing. Like any other kind of marketing, it needs to be used strategically. There's often value in it, and it's much, much bigger than community management. Real-time marketing is happening in search, display, online video, digital out of home, mobile marketing (in various guises), and even at times in traditional channels such as TV and radio. Harness it, not because it's a buzzword, but because it often is the best way to reach your target audience.