MindFire Communications, Inc.
Are you ready for real-time marketing?
August 30, 2011 | Inga Rundquist

Just recently, HARO founder and entrepreneur Peter Shankman, was boarding a flight to New York City after a long day of meetings. Shortly before shutting off his phone for the flight, he jokingly tweeted about how much he wished he could have Morton’s steak when he landed at La Guardia.


When he touched down he was greeted with this:

"Alex, from Morton’s Hackensack walks up to me, introduces himself, and hands me a bag. He proceeds to tell me that he’d heard I was hungry, and inside is a 24 oz. Porterhouse steak, an order of ColossalShrimp, a side of potatoes, one of Morton’s famous round things of bread, two napkins, and silverware.”

A few hours later, Shankman posts an article on his personal blog, cleverly titled "The greatest customer service story ever told, starring Morton’s Steakhouse” and before you know the story takes off. By the next morning, the name "Morton’s” is everywhere. The story is all over the web and is even featured on the Today Show and in publications like Forbes and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Needless to say, the folks at Morton’s are VERY happy campers. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have just as much to do with this as Shankman himself. It took a forward-thinking company that is quick on its feet, along with lots of organization to pull this off.

And that’s what real-time marketing is all about.

The concept of real-time marketing is pretty straightforward. The idea is that you have to be able to recognize an opportunity to promote your brand and be able to communicate instantly when the time is right. Not tomorrow. Not an hour from now when this, that and the other guy have had a chance to mull it over, but instantly!

In today’s digital world, speed and agility are decisive competitive advantages. This type of real-time marketing approach can work for you, too. It doesn’t matter if you’re a B-to-B, a B-to-C or a non-profit organization. What it takes is an understanding of "real-time” and how instantly things are happening right now.

It isn’t so much about the new tools out there (it’s relatively easy to learn those) it’s about changing your mindset to "real-time” and instant action.

While this requires lots of trust in, and empowerment of, your marketing team, it can have HUGE payoffs.

Consider these examples:

  • Remember the Chilean miner incident? Well, did you happen to notice that all the miners were wearing Oakley’s when they emerged from the ground? That wasn’t a coincidence. Oakley saw the real-time opportunity to put sunglasses on these guys and donated 33 pairs of sunglasses worth $180 apiece. According to David Meerman Scott, someone estimated that it was worth $41 million because over a billion people saw those Oakley sunglasses emerge on the Chilean miners.
  • Have you heard of the United Breaks Guitars YouTube video? Here’s what happened: A musician flies United. United breaks his guitar. They fail to fix the problem for him. He posts a video about it. It goes viral. United doesn’t respond and faces viral backlash.

Bob Taylor, CEO of Taylor Guitars, heard of this and did something very clever: he posted his own YouTube video that provides tips on how to correctly ship your guitar so it doesn’t break. It probably took him less than an hour to do and resulted in 560,000 views. Pretty smart, ey?

So, we encourage you – our little firecrackers – to start thinking in real-time. Here’s how:

  • Start listening – build listening stations that make it easy to listen and spot opportunities that are out there.
  • Develop real-time guidelines that provide a framework for you and your team. Without this type of empowerment, real-time marketing won’t be happening in real-time.
  • Be willing to lose control of your marketing. With this type of real-time, who knows where your marketing will take you? Of course we don’t want you to lose your long term plans – just be willing to go with the flow from time to time.

Give us a shout for more info!

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