In-the-Moment Marketing

Social media has forced marketers into a new lean forward, at-the-ready position to anticipate and respond to online behavior. When anyone can take a brand or a topic, publish a piece of content and garner the attention of his or her peers, there’s literally no telling what the next moment will bring, and it may be an opportunity.

Marketing was once carefully planned, meticulously executed and micro-managed to the last detail, but we really can’t get away with that anymore. And if we try to, we’re really missing out on fleeting moments of opportunity.

The topic of conversation shifts on a moment-to-moment basis from community to community. The news, a piece of content or an online conversation can start driving the conversation in a direction relevant to a brand or its category. That’s on opportunity to jump in, be part of the conversation and garner some attention, a practice dubbed ‘Newsjacking.’

Oreo executed this very well no matter where you stand on the issue when they posted an image on their Facebook Page of an Oreo cookie filled with rainbow-colored frosting in support of gay pride. The post initiated  a high degree of passion on both sides of the debate and generated a lot of attention for the Nabisco snack. The conversation erupted within certain online communities, and as the zeitgeist grew, other brands had the opportunity to take part.

Latching onto opportunities doesn’t just happen, however. Brands have to be prepared if they’ll every hope to participate.

Give permission to the people running your brand’s social media channels to identify opportunities and capitalize on them. There will probably be moments of failure, but there will certainly be moments of success. The people running your brand’s social channels should already be well-trained and well-versed in the brand. Empower them to market in the moment by giving them the freedom to experiment.

Initiate processes that allow the brand to be part of conversations. Have your pulse on what your community is discussing. Look for relevant intersections in what they’re discussing and where your brand sits and produce content to be part of the conversation. You can’t be a part of what you can’t hear.

Plan with flexibility, so you aren’t held back by rigid guidelines. Some industries require it, but give yourself as much freedom to be flexible with your planning as possible. This includes setting some budget aside for in-the-moment marketing, allowing some efforts to be rescheduled and not letting yourselves be bogged down with approval processes. We like to be prepared and buttoned-up, but in-the-moment marketing doesn’t always allow for that.

We’re bombarded with opportunities everyday. Some are worth pursuing and most aren’t. But we should strive to be ready because at the right moment with the right message, we can do something powerful.