Real-time Marketing Calls for Being Nimble and Opportunistic

“Perfect is the enemy of good.”

You’ve probably at least heard this proverb, even if you don’t know what it means. I’m simplifying things here, but the basic idea is that pursuing perfection can keep you from achieving good things. And this saying has been on my mind a lot lately as it relates to public relations.

Let’s be real, our industry has changed dramatically in the past decade. Heck, it’s changed a lot in the past year. It’s become increasingly important to be quick, nimble, opportunistic and take chances. Look at some of the most talked about campaigns and you’ll see brands that took these behaviors to heart. In fact, in most cases they’re not campaigns or big ideas at all, but quick-hit engagements. These brands have found the right formula for what many people today are calling real-time marketing.

For instance:

  • Oreo is the current gold-standard when it comes to speed-to-market. One of the best examples is the brand’s tweet and twitpic that “you can still dunk in the dark” during this year’s Super Bowl blackout.
  • When Cone heard Jennie Garth talking about Greek yogurt, we worked with client Yoplait to send her Yoplait Greek Yogurt. She responded by tweeting @yoplait with the product name and protein messaging, reaching her 190,000 followers.
  • Recently, HBO/True Blood posted a fanged version of the marriage equality symbol during the Supreme Court hearings. There were 11,000+ shares and 60,000+ likes on Facebook within 40 minutes.

It seems obvious, and easy, to jump on the bandwagon and reap the benefits of opportunistic marketing. But it’s not. There are many reasons, but in my mind these are a few that rise to the top:

  • Paralysis by Analysis – Organizations – and their agency partners – spend too much time thinking about and rationalizing an idea rather than just pitching it.
  • Overcomplicating the Idea – Brands get caught up in the kitchen sink approach and try to make the idea too big.
  • Getting Stuck in Bureaucracy – Organizations are so concerned with risk or failure that they put too many obstacles in the way to getting the green light.

So, what’s the solution – how can marketers ensure that golden opportunities don’t fall by the wayside? First of all, it requires an honest and open dialogue about the opportunity and why brands need to move faster. From there preparation is key – think about the types of opportunities that make sense for the brand to leverage, and set basic guidelines for how ideas should be developed and pitched. Finally, establish a simple protocol for vetting these types of ideas so they can be executed quickly.

What other examples of real-time marketing campaigns have you seen?


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