An Intro to Real-Time Marketing

October 9, 2014
October 9, 2014 Rachel Poor

I think it’s safe to say that real-time marketing (RTM) is the official buzzword of 2014.

Ever since that famous Super Bowl tweet, RTM has been a hot topic of discussion among agency and brand marketers alike. But, well-timed tweets aren’t just for fun; research from Monetate and Econsultancy found RTM is producing real business results. Businesses executing RTM found a 26 percent lift in conversion rates. Additional benefits included:

  • Better customer experience
  • Increased customer retention
  • Improved brand perception


I had the opportunity to attend a discussion on real-time marketing at FutureM & INBOUND 2014. It was clear the topic was more than just a hot buzzword, as the room was packed to hear Ekaterina Walter share her insight on the topic. 

If you’re not already integrating RTM into your traditional marketing, there are two key things to consider before you get started.

Define what real-time marketing means for your organization.


Begin by identifying the right opportunities for your brand to engage RTM initiatives. What types of engagements are authentic to your brand? This can include the following:

  • Holidays
  • News – from celebrities to current events
  • Pop culture trends
  • Responses to negative feedback

It’s important to understand what topics are not appropriate for your brand to engage. Use extreme caution (and common sense) when integrating controversial and/or trending topics in the news into your RTM efforts.

Once you’ve considered what the right (and wrong opportunities) are, you’re ready to develop a plan for execution – including how you will measure success. 

Foster an environment of urgency internally

RTM requires good interdepartmental communication and a culture that understands the sense of urgency (hence the name: real-time) needed to execute. For many organizations this is easier said than done, but as Ekaterina explains, it is critical for success.

Here are a few internal departments and marketing functions Ekaterina mentioned (and we added a few) that may be important to consider for RTM success:

  • Product development
  • R&D
  • Customer service
  • Human resources
  • Brand strategy/planning
  • Events (online and off)
  • Public relations

While there is tremendous opportunity in real-time marketing – as Ekaterina said, “It’s not a strategy or tactic, it’s a mentality,” which requires a level of preparedness and planning beyond the marketing department.   

It’s fine to think on your feet – just make sure your feet are firmly planted in strategy first.


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