The right place at the right time

The right place at the right time
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As with most hot topics in AdWorld, “real time marketing” is a huge source of confusion. So far, the conversation has been focused on the ‘now’ – using guerilla advertising to grab the attention of consumers, for example the Oreo Superbowl dunk in the dark and Ellen’s Oscar selfie. However, what is missing, and what is becoming increasingly possible and important is the link to both the 'where’ and ‘how’.

This is the less showy, but still buzzword-worthy real time analytics and response mechanisms. The things that big data experts do to help your brand deliver personalized content to consumers in ‘real time’, as they browse the web.

For real time marketing to work, and work well, marketers need to combine both of those disparate sides of the definition and have the systems and processes to react to what’s happening in the real world, and the data and analytics to identify the consumers and present them with a relevant brand message.  

Mobile adds another element – it has become the primary medium with which we connect with the web, and each other, and location is a key feature of mobile. The Internet of things is already beginning to change how people interact with their world around them. Wireless and Bluetooth powered beacons and technology are already reaching the stage of mass-market viability – and wearable technologies can be expected to create yet another layer of transformation change.

Mass technologies now available in the market can help us track consumers in their online activities, and help us respond to incoming traffic in real time, helping us connect with customers of a given profile in a given area. Much in the way that the Google algorithm or the supermarket loyalty card database try to anticipate the consumers next desire, you need to have the knowledge of what people want to see in real time.

Yes, it is fantastic if you have your process and team in place, have identified those high level communities that will take your content and make it viral. But as every competitor starts to do the same, it becomes a zero-sum game. It’s not just the direct brands competing for your market, it’s any business that is watching the same spaces as you. Eventually, there simply are too many voices competing for too little space.

A similar equation applied to the data and response mechanics that typically underpin the alternative definition of real marketing. We are seeing increasingly sophisticated tools developed to track consumers in their online activities, and help us respond to incoming traffic in real time. But again, noise is becoming an increasing challenge. And this does not just apply to brands trying to reach their audiences, but for consumers who are being inundated with conflicting and confusing messaging at every turn.  

To be able to cut through the noise you need to know the consumer better than you know yourself. You need to be able to anticipate their needs and position your brand in the right way, in the right place, and at the right time. The key, is using data, both behavioral and locational, to solve the challenge of relevance. Then you truly can put the right marketing in front of the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

That for me, is the true future for real time marketing.

Michael is speaking on a panel discussion on real time marketing at ad:tech Sydney 2014 today. Stay tuned to B&T for more from ad:tech.

Michael McKeon is director at Vivant 

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