The evolution of real-time marketing

The right content at the right time.

Published by 

Alexis Pratsides


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Through real-time marketing, brands aim to reach consumers at the right time with relevant content that impacts each of them.

Not only is it beneficial for brands to stay up to date with current events and trends, but it also deepens their engagement with their audiences. Engagement helps build relationships with a brand and their consumers and actually creates marketing success. Thus, over 76% of brands have increased their audience engagement.

With engagement, comes consumer insight. Consumer insight tells a brand their audiences’ opinions and thoughts about their brand. When consumers are able to contact a brand direct via social media or other platforms, brands gain more insight about their consumers wants and needs.

Real-time marketing can also show a friendly and fun side to a brand. Like people, brands make mistakes and by acknowledging the mistake in a fun and witty way, brands gain more customer engagement and most importantly, trust.

Top Five Tips:

  1. Always keep customer front of mind – When you create the content always ask “why?”

When you’re creating content, it’s imperative to always keep the customer front of mind so that you resonate well with your audience. Ask “why?,” why would your customer want to buy this?

  1. Embrace the natural language of your audience – don’t talk at/talk with

It’s important to embrace the natural language of your audience; always talk with them and not at them. You must allow real conversation between your audience and your brand which means listening to your consumers.

  1. Monitor the transient conversations of your audience for content they would like to see

By monitoring the transient conversations of your audience, you’re able to produce content that they would like to see. If you’re able to track what consumers are saying about your brand, both good and bad things, you’re able to alter your brand to best fit the wants and needs of the consumer.

  1. Know social content signals can affect your search audience

Social content signals refer to the number of social visibility your brand receives; i.e. likes, shares and comments. These signals directly impact your search audience. If your brand has a low number of likes, shares and comments, newer audiences are less inclined to purchase your product.

  1. Know the keyword and SEO tactics that help improve your audience effectiveness in social channels

Keyword and SEO tactics will help improve your audience effectiveness in all of your social channels. Keyword and SEO tactics will bring more visibility to your brand’s social channels and ultimately increase brand awareness.

Brands that have successfully used real-time marketing:

Beats by Dre

At the MTV Video Music Awards in 2013, Beats by Dre made an appearance by editing the new Beats Pill speaker into a photo with Lady Gaga. Beats by Dre then posted the photo on it’s Twitter account, with the caption reading “Lady Gaga just showed up on the #VMAs Red Carpet! Can Tina be one of her Little Monsters?” (Tina referring to the name of the animated Beats Pill speaker).

The post soon received numerous shout-outs from celebrities like Miley Cyrus, who laughed and then retweeted the post (Miley Cyrus had 13 million followers at the time).


After a manufacturing mistake with ASOS’s shopping bags in 2018, ASOS released a witty statement— “Ok, so we *may* have printed 17,000 bags with a typo. We’re calling it a limited edition.” The shopping bag misspelled ‘online’ and instead spelled it ‘onilne.’

Their response brought attention to the error and actually promoted ASOS more. The post received almost 50,000 likes and over 8,000 retweets and consumers confessed that they mainly wanted to purchase a product online just to receive the ‘limited edition’ bag.

The Sun

With the birth of Prince George, The Sun created an image of Prince George playing with a group of celebrity babies (hinting at their famous parents) and the caption “Your Royal Highness, Meet your fellow future rulers of the world.”

The photo-shopped picture showcased the babies, Harper Beckham, North West, Elijah Furnish-John and Blue Ivy Carter along side Prince George. All the babies were born within a few months of each other and it’s apparent that they will be in the spotlight for the years ahead. The public found the picture hilarious and it gave a fun-twist on real-time marketing.

Grey Poupon

In 2013 (later overruled in 2015), the US Supreme Court overturned the Defence of Marriage Act which prohibited married same-sex couples from collecting federal benefits. Several brands, including Grey Poupon, spoke out to support gay marriage by posting on social media platforms. Grey Poupon released an ad which showed two men holding hands and the caption “Spread good taste.”

The ad was risky because not everyone would agree with the matter but it showed Grey Poupon’s support for same-sex marriage rights. It proved that real-time marketing doesn’t always need to have a playful and fun-twist on real-life events but it can also be emotional and highlight current political issues. In the end, the ad was successful and resonated well with the public.

KFC – FCK campaign 

One of the most hilarious examples of real-time marketing was with the KFC, ‘FCK’ Campaign. KFC received consumer backlash after they were incapable of supplying chicken for a period of time. They received numerous hate comments on all of their social media channels until KFC responded with the ‘FCK’ campaign. The ‘FCK’ campaign was a creative mix of the letters in ‘KFC’ hinting towards a curse word; it was KFC’s way of apologising for their mistake.

The campaign later received a large number of laughs and positive responses online.

Ikea Balenciaga Bag

The viral Ikea Balenciaga Bag incident was not an error by Ikea but instead, a hilarious response to the £1,600 look-a-like Balenciaga bag. The two bags, which Balenciaga released recently, were extremely similar; so much so that the public took notice. Ikea responded to the viral incident by showing the public how to spot an Ikea bag with a comical advert that revealed that Ikea’s bags were simply just cheap shopping bags.

The advert was a success and their social media following absolutely loved it.

Real-time marketing has given brands the ability to interact with their audiences on a larger scale. The public has shown their appreciation for brands that respond to them with humour, highlight their own mistakes, and align themselves with current events and political issues. As I’ve said research shows that real-time marketing boosts engagement, customer satisfaction, reach, and conversion rates, so give it a go…


Have an idea of your own? Get in touch with our digital marketing consultancy team and see how we can get your project rolling.

Created by

Alexis Pratsides

Published at 

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