Is your RTM effective?

There are companies that tend to have fun with real-time marketing, as we saw recently with the infamous biting incident at the World Cup and the legions of corporate tweetersdisplaying their quick wit. But marketers curious to learn real-time marketing’s nuances will soon discover it is much more serious than that.

Ironically, the concept of immediately triggering a message at the right time to the right audience is hardly a spur-of-the-moment endeavor. In fact, it requires great advanced planning to do it right and make it relevant and appropriate. The payoff for that planning is bringing a high volume of consumers closer to your product at the height of need or desire.

As longtime advocates and practitioners of real-time marketing, we were glad to see it in the news again recently in a way that could benefit many marketing professionals. UM, a division of IPG Mediabrands, and AOL Platforms have combined forces to build a real-time, moments-based marketing initiative to enable the real-time concept for advertisers. So real time, in marketing parlance, has taken a step forward via technology to help brand messages reach consumers at moments most impacting their behaviors to spark purchases or calls to action.

While real-time marketing has applications in many media, we have employed the strategy countless times primarily through radio, whose gigantic listener base is suitably primed and available for short, timely, catchy messages and not far from the point of purchase. Real-time marketing on the radio is able to attract many buyers with a common buying need.

For example, when CRN was asked to position Theraflu with more immediacy of need, the power of radio and RTM were used to help nudge consumers to go out and buy the product  as flu season kicked into gear with signs of coughing, sneezing and the blahs.

It’s amazing, but you could make the case for real-time marketing for so many product categories and changing conditions:

* Pollen count rises, think allergy medications.

* The UV index changes, enter sunscreen products.

* Snowstorms trigger the need for food, gas, snow tires, shovels, thermal gloves, indoor games, you name it.

* Fluctuations in the stock market, depending upon the direction, provide incentive for financial service companies, insurance companies, luxury purchases like jewelry, or discretionary spending on remodeling or home improvement.

* When a sports team advances in the playoffs, its fans think chips, dips, wings, and pizza at next week’s game party.

We could go on. So remember the key takeaways: planning; relevance; timing for urgency of need; proper media to engage a large volume of common buyers; short, catchy content; and a call to action.

Merging the right content with the right timing to gain maximum impact is a simple marketing maxim. But there has to be a right place as well. Radio is a natural for real-time marketing campaigns. We only know because we have the proof. Time and time again.

Rob O’Mara is Managing Director, Strategy and Development, at CRN International.