Real-Time Reveals Business’ Weaknesses

Source: stock.xchng

Source: stock.xchng

It’s been nearly two months since the #Blackout at the Super Bowl, and marketers have been scrambling to figure out how they can follow in the footsteps of Oreo, Audi and others by creating viral success stories as they join in consumer conversations.

The reality is the brands with #Blackout success stories have already explored that territory, and brands attempting to do the same thing are bound be criticized for being unoriginal and, worse, annoying users. Instead of trying to copy what brands like Oreo did, brands should be asking what real-time means for them (e.g., social customer service, proactively responding to brand mentions, newsjacking, etc.), which first means doing some digging to figure out if your organization can handle it. It will likely be a very revealing exercise.

Are You Ready?

The biggest thing changing in marketing is the speed with which it is done. new technology and tools have lowered the barrier for marketers to quickly monitor, respond and create content for consumer consumption. The vast majority of organizations however are net set-up internally for speed. No tool can change that as much as a brand may want to be real-time. Technology and social media is revealing just how slow companies are as they’re encumbered by processes, protocols and internal politics.

Real-time marketing has a way of showing an organization’s structural weaknesses and hurdles beyond the perspective of social media, so ask yourself:

Why aren’t we real-time now? It might be because your company culture demands perfection, and in a real-time environment employees need to be empowered to move quickly and given permission to fail. Moving quickly and having everything work to perfection are not necessarily compatible goals. There are certainly tools, training and processes that can lower the risk of failure but never mitigate it completely. Another reason might be internal hurdles and review processes. The more review time and layers an idea needs to go through before becoming a reality, the less impact it will have. Opportunity and time are inversely related in a real-time environment.

What do we need to do? This comes down to having an honest conversation about what exists now that is holding back success and speed. Whether it’s legal, a lack in tools or an unclear, cumbersome process, brands need to be honest with themselves if the hurdles that exist can be overcome and, if so, how.

What is real-time for our organization? Every brand trying to emulate Oreo would polute the social space. No one wants every brand out there jumping in with a forced POV on every world event. There’s no value in that, so marketers should take steps to evaluate what they could be doing faster that would be valuable to consumers. If it fills a void for consumers, then it’s worth pursuing further.