What is Real Time Marketing?

Real Time Marketing (RTM) and new trends tend to be synonymous for marketers these days. For two excellent examples of RTM, let’s look at how two industry giants cashed in on the 2014 and 2013 Super Bowls, respectively, in two unique ways:

  • Coca Cola Chase: The soda giant aired a controversial commercial showing a race across the desert pitting fictional movie characters against each other in pursuit of their beverage. They asked the live audience to vote on who the victor would be and later aired the results. Later reposting the campaign on YouTube gained millions more views.

  • Lights Out Oreo: Nabisco took to Twitter when an unexpected blackout interrupted the XLVII Super Bowl with what is now an award-winning Tweet, showcasing their popular Oreo cookie and the slogan “You can still dunk in the dark.” The short message was retweeted 10,000 times in just one hour and exploded on Facebook with 31 million likes.

Hype or Hope - Trending Now

Critics argue that real time marketing is not worth the hype, but the figures above readily dismiss that claim. A well-planned commercial campaign from Coke and a timely Tweet from Oreo performed well for such industry leaders, but what about the “little guy” (and gal)?

A well orchestrated campaign by HomeShop18 which centered around their jingle, “shopping makes me happy” and paired with a hashtag (#MakesMeHappy) asking others to join in on their topic generated similarly impressive buzz. The campaign exploded on social media, trending for over 24 hours and gained millions of followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Climb Aboard, Plan and Be Creative

One of the reasons for HomeShop18’s tremendous success was that many other brands, celebrities and ordinary people connected with their topic. For a different yet similar example, Red Cross promoted #NPM13 (National Preparedness Month in 2013) and sold hand-cranked radios to raise money for their non-profit work. Although it is unclear how many units were actually sold, the campaign still resulted in millions of views, likes and gained even more online exposure.

By planning ahead and being creative, marketers can capitalize on upcoming events, even obscure ones like National Blame Someone Else Day which happens on the first Friday the Thirteenth each year. The next celebration is on February 13, 2015 in case you were wondering.

Recognize the Moment

Some critics claim that RTM is a “winner-takes-all” approach and that there will never be another blackout moment for Oreo to shine so brightly once again, but this is simply not true. Social trends and topics, the big ones that endure for weeks or even the weaker subjects that fizzle out over a few hours, still present tremendous marketing opportunities. The key is for marketers to recognize trends as they occur and learn how to capitalize on them.

There are still many worthy moments to come and sites like Google Trends  can help marketers uncover trends relatively quickly. Or promoters can go to an individual social media platforms (think Facebook or Twitter) and search for trends that are relevant to their industry.

With a little planning, some research and a touch of creativity, marketers can use the internet to successfully promote in real time.


Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.