Real-time marketing requires real talent

My employer iCrossing has been collecting digital executives. Thought leader Roger Wood joined the company’s digital media practice in May. Former Jupiter Research analyst Gary Stein joined the strategy team in June. And, as announced today, former NBC Universal executive Tarah Feinberg has been appointed head of the Live Media Studio. So what do all these hires add up to?

Real-time marketing.

Real-time marketing is all about sharing content that engages people instantly. As I recently discussed with PSFK, brands ranging from Facebook to Toyota are practicing real-time marketing because they can become more nimble and relevant to their customers – a good example being Toyota’s use of a live-streamed event to promote the Prius.

As a senior executive at a Fortune 500 firm recently told me, “I became a believer in real-time marketing because I got tired of spending months formulating ideas for brand campaigns only to see that consumers had changed by the time I had launched the campaign.”

I believe practicing real-time marketing on an ongoing basis requires more than commitment but also:

  • Analytics-based insights to understand consumers and communities.
  • People who can create great content – such as Todd Pruzan, who recently joined iCrossing as a Live Media Studio editorial director following a career in journalism.
  • Strong media and publishing savvy – an understanding of how to develop compelling content on an ongoing basis (the publishing part) and an understanding of how to synthesize different media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, your company blog, etc.) to engage people with the right content at the right time.
  • Community managers to manage and grow an audience receptive for real-time content.
  • An ability to measure results.

Real-time marketing has had a tremendous impact at iCrossing. On May 31, we announced the launch of the Live Media Studio, the interactive ad industry’s first resource dedicated to real-time marketing. And people like Roger Wood, Gary Stein, Tarah Feinberg, and Todd Pruzan provide the mix of content, community, media savvy and analytics needed to help CMOs become real-time marketers.

As head of the Live Media Studio, Tarah will lead the executional arm of the iCrossing real-time marketing capability (which also includes a proprietary playbook for helping CMOs manage the real-time publication of branded content). One of his near-term assignments is to formalize iCrossing’s real-time marketing measurement capabilities.

Tarah recently described real-time marketing to me this way: “The creation of real-time content is determined by segmenting your audience based on her behaviors throughout the day. For example, let’s say you are trying to match content to the soccer mom. You have to reach that soccer mom with different content in real time at distinct stages throughout her day — when she’s on the phone at the supermarket, when she’s commuting to work, or at home planning the next family vacation.”

You’re going to be hearing more about real-time marketing, and not just from iCrossing. Shiv Singh, head of digital for PepsiCo, has been talking a lot about the topic, most notably in a recent blog post about why he’s staking his career in real-time marketing. Shiv does an excellent job explaining the topic, as seen in this excerpt from a June 7 MediaPost article:

“What is real-time marketing?,” [Shiv Singh] asked. “Imagine you are in my shoes walking down Fifth Avenue. Walking toward you, you see Lady Gaga. I’d be all excited. I’d be totally crazy. But now imagine something else.  Imagine she has a Pepsi in her hand. I’d be floating. Now hopefully I would pull out my iPhone or BlackBerry and take a shot or photo of her.

“But now is where it gets interesting. Imagine I take the photo, and email it back to Purchase, N.Y. [PepsiCo’s headquarters] and within two minutes, a team is mashing up the photo into engagement ads in social, TV, everywhere. Imagine then instead of launching it on TV, it launches with 10,000 consumers, then is shared with tens of millions of other people. Imagine we went through this whole exercise in a manner of minutes. That for me is real-time marketing and that’s the future.”

Well said.

CMOs who can master real-time marketing will own the future of marketing.

Stay tuned.

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