The Academy Awards Ceremony is coming up soon! While you’re guessing the winners and losers, your brand can be also be awarded… by making the most of real time marketing.

Winning the  “successful marketing campaign” game is not at all easy, especially nowadays. It’s simply not enough to just manage underwhelming activities or follow what your competitors are doing. To win your audience’s heart, you need to do something outside the box. Many events spread throughout the year offer perfect opportunities for you to flourish. One of them is the Academy Award Ceremony (taking place this year on February 26, the Red Carpet starting at 7pm Eastern Time|4pm Pacific Time and the Ceremony itself at 8:30pm Eastern Time|5:30pm Pacific Time), but others include the Super Bowl, big movie premieres, or even Halloween. Some of them you can’t plan ahead for though, since they happen at unpredictable moments.

From this article, you’ll learn how to prepare for unique events in the world of social media marketing.

 

What is real-time marketing?

We think David Meerman Scott puts it best:

Real-time marketing can be truly beneficial for your brand and help engage your current followers and attract some new ones. Like most things, the sooner it happens, the better – but being a few hours late with some adverts doesn’t mean automatic failure.

What events should you keep an eye on?

As we mentioned above, there are a number of events that could help your brand get ahead of its competitors. You can divide them into several categories:

  1. Events that happen every year or regularly (every 2-4 years), such as:
  • Super Bowl final (every year, early February for the last few years)
  • Academy Award Ceremony (every year)
  • Grammy Award Ceremony (every year)
  • Sports World Cup tournaments (or smaller ones, like EURO, Africa Cup of Nations etc) depending on your target group and country of choice (usually every 4 years)
  • Easter/Christmas
  • Festival in Cannes (every year)
  • Music festivals (every year)
  • Special nights (e.g. Night of Shooting Stars)
  • Special days throughout the year – Coffee Day, Mother’s Day (depending on country, again!), International Dog Day
  • Halloween
  • Black Friday, Cyber Monday
  • New Year’s Eve
  1. Some irregular events:
  • Cinema premieres
  • Games/TV series releases
  • Events in TV series
  • Events in celebrity world
  • Sport games
  • Election
  • Events on social media
  1. Some events you can’t predict, and you shouldn’t even try – because they could be so abstract that they would never cross your mind (e.g. The lights going out during Super Bowl final, that was wisely used by Oreo). But they do happen and can do a lot of good for your brand – that’s why keeping an eye on what’s going on is so important!

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What do you need to do and know?

1. Answer a question – Can your brand really benefit from it?

Real time marketing is a big opportunity. But that doesn’t mean that your brand should partake in it. Before thinking about RTM, consider if it’s suitable for your brand and audience. Will your followers appreciate a forced tweet about the Academy Awards Ceremony? If you sell natural, Asian cosmetics – should you refer to the Super Bowl? Brands can work wonders given the right context, but if something doesn’t come to your mind automatically, don’t force it. It might just not be a perfect match for your company. So if it doesn’t meet your business goals, doesn’t add any value, your target group isn’t interested, don’t do it.

If your answer to the previous question is yes, time to get prepared.

2. Make a strategy with KPIs

RTM is definitely not about finding a funny picture on the Internet and getting some attention for it. If you really want to achieve success, you need to create a mini-strategy where you’ll cover the platforms you’re going to use, how you’ll use advertising, a timetable (for events you can predict!) and KPIs (not sure what that means? check out our article about marketing acronyms).

3. Identify possible threats or a crisis

Even if you think that your campaign is bound to go well, you can be wrong. If you don’t define your potential threats, the outcome may surprise you – you can start a storm in a teacup without a clue how to react. Establish your crisis management before it is even needed.

4. Read about regulations

It’s great to refer to the Oscars, but did you know that you actually can’t do too much if you’re not a sponsor or if your brand doesn’t have any connections to it? You also can’t show the award on your graphic materials, as it is highly restricted. You can read about the Oscars here, but we also covered how it looks like with the Olympic Games and Rule 40. It requires you to be very careful in what you’re planning, but it can also positively impact your creativity. Who knows if you’d come up with some of your great ideas if not for limits and regulations.

5. Take into account cultural and political differences

Something that is funny for many is often offensive to others. If you run a marketing campaign for a global brand, think twice before launching. Examples? A tick or check mark means “yes” in many countries. But in Japan and Scandinavian countries, it actually means “no”. You need to keep an eye on these differences not only for real time marketing, but your whole online strategy. But engagement for RTM is usually higher – so it’s more likely to get these kinds of comments.

6. Be sure you have a team that can get into this project

There are events you can plan communication for ahead. But if prediction isn’t possible, try to have someone on your team to always have “on call”. Want to prepare some graphics at midnight since the next morning is just too late for you? No problem. Community management after launching a mini-campaign? It’s all here, no worries. Ensure that you have a team who is in charge of supporting campaigns and think about it a before the event happens.

Just for inspiration, here are a few great cases of real time marketing:

“Dunk in the dark” is still one of the most popular examples of real time marketing done right. It was created as an answer to power being cut during the Super Bowl final in 2013.


The birth of the Royal Baby was also a great opportunity to shine for brands – and Delta Airlines made the most of it:


Do you remember “Dress Gate”? We still have some quarrels in the office what the actual the colour is. Tide found a solution.


Observing Coke and Pepsi on social media is really exciting – and they play the real time marketing game well. What’s more – they even encourage each other to respond!

There are some other brilliant examples that appeared in our Trends – just take a look and see how brands can win over their target groups.

What about you? Do you have any favourite cases of RTM, or maybe you used some buzz for your own brand? We’re awaiting for your comments.

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