Collaboration’s impact on real-time marketing

When Oreo placed its Dunk in the Dark ad in social media channels immediately following the power outage during the Super Bowl, real-time marketing was brought to the forefront of the marketing community. David Berkowitz, then-director of emerging media at Oreo agency 360i (and now CMO at MRY), stressed that care must be taken to properly collaborate with key decision makers in order for real-time marketing efforts such as Dunk in the Dark to be successful.

To move at the speeds required by real-time marketing, you need fast-moving teams powered by key decision makers and you need collaboration tools firmly in place. There is no time for lengthy approval processes.

When asked about specific collaboration requirements for real-time marketing efforts, Adam Kleinberg, CEO of San Francisco agency Traction, said, “When you are marketing in real-time, there’s a deeper need for trust and partnership. When you’re developing campaigns, the agency goes off and does work. Then they come back and present an idea. They throw it over the wall to the client who sits with it for a few days. They share it with stakeholders and then come back with feedback. This goes on two or three times until you have something approved. Throwing it over the wall doesn’t work in real-time. It doesn’t work when you’re managing conversations. Brands and agencies need to develop a workflow where they make decisions in a snap. Otherwise, by the time you get something out, you’ve missed an opportunity.”

Collaborating at real-time speed isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible. Kleinberg ensures all-inclusive collaboration by “building calendars that include both planned and opportunistic marketing content in them.” While real-time marketing has, as Tom Cruise would say, a need for speed, it also requires planning.

Kleinberg explains this need for planning, saying, “You can plan ahead and be real-time at the same time. For instance, one of our clients is a regional paint company, Kelly Moore Paints. When the SF Giants were in the World Series, we created pictures with custom color palettes for different players each night and referenced that night’s game. We also regularly monitored what’s trending on search and social media to identify topics to create content around. It’s easier to market in real-time when you have a general sense of what you’re trying to do.”

Having well-defined processes for real-time marketing prior to engagement is key to success. Digital and social marketing strategist B.L. Ochman follows five strict tenets when she takes on real-time brand work: strict scheduling, well-defined guidelines and standards, measurement tools, frequent contact among participants and adherence to budget.

Success also depends on the people involved. Kleinberg says it’s more about empowerment than it is about job titles, though. “To be successful in real time, you need to have fewer stakeholders. The people doing the work – on both the agency side and the client side – need to be empowered. The agency needs to be empowered to bring ideas to the client without the usual rigmarole of internal reviews. The client needs to be able to approve it without going through layers on their end as well. The good news is that cutting all the fat out of the process also makes the work less expensive to develop.”

Collaboration in marketing has always been important. But when you have a form of marketing such as real-time marketing that, for the most part, does away with formal approval processes and layers of bureaucracy in favor of quick and efficient decision-making, collaboration moves front and center.

Post by Steve Hall

Steve Hall is a marketing professional, publisher, writer, community manager, photographer and all-around lover of advertising. Steve has held management positions in media and account service at Leo Burnett, Starcom/Mediavest and others, working on such accounts as Reebok, Marriott, and Marshmallow Fluff.