How Agencies Should Start Preparing to Support Clients In the World of Real-Time Marketing
The phrase real-time marketing has been around for a while, and to date has pivoted around social media, probably most famously delivered by Oreo during last year’s Super Bowl blackout.
However, the massive data and technology-driven disruptions and the changing consumer behavior that has emerged as a consequence, is creating a new reality that has far reaching structural implications for marketers and will continue to change marketing practice over the next seven years.
Fundamentally, brands have to move seamlessly (and probably concurrently) from a world where they engage customers pro-actively “x” number of times per week, to a world where they have to be ready to engage every second of every day.
The challenge for marketers, and for their agency partners, is to be able to re-orient themselves to be part of that always-on world.
Some clients, such as Dell and Pepsi, are creating a social media “mission control” center as a first step on that journey. But this simply does not address the full marketing ecosystem requirement.
How do we get broader and deeper real-time consumer insight than just social commentary? How do we analyze that data and make decisions about future marketing channel investments? How do we create ads that cut through, address those specific consumer needs, are legally compliant and are time- and, critically, location-sensitive? How do we buy the relevant media space in real-time? How do we deliver across mobile and fixed platforms? And how do we collect the client business and sales data in real-time to correlate all of these other data variables in order to try and judge effectiveness?
And how do we make sure we do not do all of that at the expense of creativity and innovation?
The reality is that almost all of the tools and skills to deliver the real-time world exist today. They just don’t all exist in one place, and have not been interconnected and integrated in a seamless manner. It sounds like a simple task, but it really is not. The skills and technology required often sits in different and competing companies and on conflicting tech platforms, and often in different countries.
I think the only answer is for agencies to behave like partners, work with clients to identify a roadmap towards jointly building the infrastructures, and start taking the steps (one at a time) towards a truly integrated and always-on marketing world.
It will require collaboration, agility, integration, alignment, transparency and many other qualities that don’t always come easily.
The companies that will succeed in 2020 are the ones who are geared towards living in a world of constant motion. Survival and success will be determined by the ability to keep pace with the change that surrounds you.
In 2020, the ability to think quickly and act nimbly will be the greatest competitive advantage that a company can have.
Agility will need to become a total cultural experience throughout the organization, from the types of people that get hired to the kinds of behaviour that gets rewarded.
Keeping pace with change and the pursuit of agility – by definition – require a state of constant renewal.
The standard today is not an elaborate media plan filled with an alphabet soup of CPMs and GRPs. Nor is it a clever advertising execution. It is how to make the most of all the moving parts and pull them together into a customer-relevant, all-embracing, up-to-the-minute, real-time experience.