GolinHarris was proud to lead a panel discussion on real-time marketing alongside senior marketers from McDonald’s and the Dow Chemical Company at the South by Southwest (SxSW) 2012 interactive marketing festival.
The session – The Promise and Pitfalls of Real-Time Marketing – focused on a hot topic in the communications world: how companies can better reach their targets in the moments and media that matter most.
Consider this: Americans now engage with seven different sources of information every day – from traditional TV and radio to mobile, social media, online video and more. The flow of news has accelerated dramatically – what’s happening around the world or across a crowded restaurant is now shared in seconds, not hours or minutes. Information gathering isn’t just faster, it’s also far more collaborative than ever before. Americans spend one out of every four minutes online in social networks where news and opinions are delivered by trusted brands and contacts. Time spent with “traditional” media has become a team sport too, with more than half of adults surfing the Internet and 40 percent visiting a social network while watching TV.
Today’s consumer is skilled at finding information across a whole host of sources, and for marketers to break through, they must be prepared to engage their targets more nimbly, sharing relevant content around the clock in earned, owned, shared and paid media channels simultaneously.
Real-time marketing (RTM) – that is, systematic, multi-channel engagement based upon real-time insights – is grabbing more attention as a must-have for any modern marketing mix.
But what’s the real value of RTM to the brands that embrace it?
Recently, GolinHarris interviewed 3,200 U.S. consumers to learn about RTM’s value. We explored the impact of real-time marketing on how people think and act in relationship to diverse products and brands. Because RTM marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum, the research also investigated the effect RTM on other marketing activities.
Learning #1: Real-time marketing delivers what marketers want most.
Our research measured the likelihood of communication with and without RTM to deliver positive outcomes most marketers seek, such as an increase in positive perceptions; interest in a product; likelihood to seriously consider, choose or try a product or brand; and to recommend it to others.
When it’s added to the marketing mix, real-time marketing provides a dramatic lift to each of these five coveted outcomes. Marketers who serve as the stewards of brands should consider RTM strategies as part of any communication program intended to capture attention, drive WOM, increase preference, or bolster the likelihood to try or buy.
Learning #2: RTM turbocharges your other marketing efforts.
Marketers today employ many different methods to share their stories. From publicity and paid media to brand websites, social channels, search marketing and WOM programs, marketing investments are more diverse than ever before.
RTM makes these investments work harder, amplifying each activity’s effectiveness. Our research shows a significant lift in likelihood to seek out, pay attention to, and participate in brand communications delivered in common channels when RTM is added to the mix. Marked increases were found regardless of channel including websites, Twitter, Facebook and other popular social media, recommendations from trusted contacts, and PR or advertising-generated stories delivered through “traditional” media.
Learning #3: From coffee to cars, RTM increases positive behaviors.
To understand RTM’s effect on different brands and product categories, GH compared before/after RTM impact scores for market leaders, legacy brands, and challengers in several product categories- lower cost, lower involvement products such as coffee and higher cost, higher involvement products such as cars.
While RTM delivered a significant uptick in desirable behaviors across every brand and product category investigated, we saw a more dramatic impact for challenger brands and for higher-involvement categories in which consumers have more inherent “skin in the game.”
For market leaders, RTM can play an important role keeping loyal customers engaged. Legacy and challenger brands, on the other hand, can leverage RTM to help level the playing field against competitors and enhance consumer receptivity to their stories.
Average increase in 10 positive behaviors after brand-specific RTM added to the mix
Learning #4: Brand matters.
Communication delivered through real-time marketing activities is dramatically more impactful when a brand is clearly defined. Marketers who apply RTM to their marketing mixes shouldn’t be bashful to associate their brands with relevant content.
Average likelihood of 10 positive behaviors when brand-specific RTM added to the mix
Real-time marketing provides demonstrable value for companies that apply it. No matter your brand or product category, RTM helps reach customers at the right place, at the right time, with the right message. In so doing, marketers can create meaningful connections that help move consumers closer to purchase.
RTM should no longer be regarded as “icing on the cake” for modern marketing plans, but rather an integral ingredient for lean-forward communication with impact.
Download a high-resolution PDF of the Real-Time Marketing Infographic and the entire Real-Time Marketing Overview below:
If you’re ready to make real-time marketing a part of your communications strategy, GolinHarris can help. We’ve pioneered real-time marketing techniques with The Bridge™, a network of holistic engagement centers that help clients convert fleeting opportunities into results – all in real-time. PRWeek named the Bridge its 2012 “Innovation of the Year” this March. To learn more about the Bridge, click here.
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