How Real-Time Marketing is Connecting Brands with their Customers.


Real-time marketing (RTM) is where brands interact directly with their target audience in the right place at the right time based on ‘live’ information or events, usually through social media or email marketing. This form of marketing is instant and allows for a more personalised approach that is highly targeted with messages that are more likely to convert.

In this piece, I’ll explore the effect RTM is having on the industry and how four brands are already hitting the nail on the head when it comes to optimising the customer experience online.

Ever since Oreo’s heroic real-time reaction to the 2013 Superbowl Blackout, brands have been scrambling to make sure their digital teams are nimble enough to stay relevant by engaging with customers and using the right content at the right time. But how did Oreo manage it... Luck?

Nope. It was quick thinking by their then agency, it was easy to get live because they had the right people in the room at the time and the team saw an opportunity but if it wasn’t for this, the tweet, which has since been cited as one of the most buzz-worthy adverts of the event, might never have happened!

So how can we be sure we’re making the most out of every opportunity?

Oreo’s throw in the dark really wasn’t just about being in the right place at the right time but about the team’s swift reactions. You can’t ‘make it happen’ but you do need to be ready when it does and this means being creative, accurate and most importantly quick; the faster you react the bigger the impact.

So how can you keep your ear to the ground without living in a social media hole? Listen to your audience. There are so many tools out there that allow you to track discussions about your brand, current events or even topics that you’re interested in, that way when a brand or user mentions one of these, you can jump straight on it and qualify the opportunity ahead of your competitors.

Another brand that’s always listening is KitKat, their Twitter is renowned for funny quips at current events with the most memorable being their reaction to Apple’s #BendGate dilemma back in 2014, the Tweet racked up even more likes and retweets than Oreo’s Superbowl response!

It’s impossible to foresee these events, they’re unexpected BUT you can anticipate others that are scheduled or that you are at least are aware of. Events such as a movie premiere, the birth of the Royal baby or political events can be predicted exactly or at least estimated. We’re seeing more and more brands considering these events as part of their RTM strategy, because whilst you might not be able to prepare for the exact outcome, you can ensure that your marketing team has prepared content for every possible eventuality and that these are poised and ready to go when required.

RTM aims to connect brands with current and potential customers through trending topics via social, however, it’s important for brands to maintain consistency with their general values and industry interests. Quality of message is so important and making sure that your reactions are reflective of your overall brand image is crucial if you want to make the right impression, otherwise, risk making the complete opposite.

For ASOS this opportunity arose when one girl Tweeted about a rude message she’d received on her outfit from a potential Tinder date. Needless to say, Twitter was enraged and the Tweet went viral. This gave ASOS the platform to stand up in the name of body-positivity and the retail brand didn’t disappoint; they made her the official model for the dress in question, biting back at the shameful comments whilst ensuring their brand image is one that is aligned with female empowerment.

But how do brands that aren’t gifted with glorious viral opportunities do to keep in the loop and at the forefront of current events? Well, like Google, some have to make their own RTM wins. Earlier in the year, Marvel fans were going crazy in the run-up to the release of Avengers: End Game and Google jumped on the Gauntlet by ensuring that every time users searched for “Thanos” via their search engine they would see a small infinity gauntlet in the top right corner of the knowledge panel. When users clicked on it, half the search results disappeared. The result? Buzz for Google and their almighty greatness. Major news outlets and blogs from to Unilad wrote about it and everyone who talked about Marvel or Thanos that week also talked about Google.

If movie premieres and current political events are topics your brand would like to steer clear of, there are other ways of getting involved in the real-time marketing hype. For Global brewery, Carlsberg, this was to stand up in the name of environmental protection and more specifically marine life. They recently launched a new way to keep their 6-pack of beers together that doesn’t involve plastic in a bid to reduce waste that negatively affects the environment; supporting a global cause whilst showcasing a great brand message… a win-win for Carlsberg.

I hope this blog has helped you in your bid to align your brand with what’s going on in the world and has given you the insights you need to ensure your marketing team are at peak performance as they try to find their own real-time marketing opportunities!

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Tracy-Ann Lee
Marketing Manager
Tracy-Ann is the agency’s Marketing Manager with a strong background in Marketing and Brand campaigns, Event Management and Business Development. Tracy-Ann joined Sagittarius in June 2021 to deliver exceptional external brand experiences, engaging communications and driving the development of relationships with key strategic partners across the UK, Middle East and United States.

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Tracy-Ann Lee

07 Aug 2019 - 5 minute read
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