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At the BMA: Real-time marketing takes center stage

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Chicago—Real-time marketing isn’t simply about automated ad bidding and retargeting—it’s a mindset and a way of doing business in the age of social media, according to presenters Friday at the Business Marketing Association’s “Blaze” conference. “The idea of real-time communications—the intersection between Big Data and instant communications—is the most interesting thing going on in b-to-b marketing right now,” said marketing consultant David Meerman Scott, in the session, “In the Moment: How and Why to do Real-Time B-to-B Marketing.” “Social media is the tool, but it’s the mindset that’s important,” he said. “If you spend all your time focusing on the future, on campaign planning, you’ll forget what’s going on right now.” Automatic Data Processing processes payrolls for about 25 million workers. According to session presenter Matt Petitjean, VP-corporate marketing at ADP, the company’s real-time marketing initiatives use this large data set to create monthly reports about employment trends in the U.S. ADP’s employment report beats the federal government’s monthly unemployment statistics release by two days, he said. “We’ll release these numbers on CNBC, our website and social channels simultaneously,” Petitjean said. “We do lots of different things at ADP besides payroll and, by producing this content, people know more about us. We become part of the consideration set.” The Inland Real Estate Group of Cos., which creates and operates a network of real estate and financial companies, hires journalists to develop stories pertaining to its various member companies in response to breaking news. The stories are rapidly distributed in social media and delivered to member companies for their own marketing use as well. “Now we run the event-marketing team like a newsroom,” said panelist Rich Jurek, CMO. “Everyone shares stories and recent events that can be pushed out.” GolinHarris is taking this approach internationally. The agency has developed central news commands, which it calls “The Bridge,” in 13 sites around the world, with access to multiple types of news feeds. The Bridge employees—former journalists, publicists, social experts and visual artists—monitor the news affecting agency clients and suggest time action plans to them in near real time. “A myth about real-time marketing is it’s a seat-of-your-pants, extemporaneous thing,” said presenter Jeff Beringer, global practice leader at GolinHarris. “The opposite is true. You need to plan with clients in advance, thinking about fundamental stories you want to and should tell, and the things you want to stay away from.” Beringer noted this year’s 30-minute Super Bowl power blackout and the tweet from Nabisco’s Oreo cookie brand, “You can still dunk in the dark,” that became a viral sensation. “But the real impact of real-time marketing isn’t when you get lucky once during the Super Bowl,” Beringer said. “It’s all the other days where you show up with relevant content. It’s lots of singles, not so much home runs.”
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