eMarketer: What makes a good real-time marketer?
Noah Brier: People tweet about what they Instagram, literally. Ultimately, what allows all of us to create the amount of content that we do and create it in real time is that we pay attention in real time and we have interests.
To be a good content creator, you need to be a good content consumer. The challenge brands have right now is that they’re not used to that. They’re not used to consuming culture, content and ideas in real time. If you want to be creating real-time content, it means, by definition, you have to know what’s happening in real time, what’s relevant.
eMarketer: When you think of the term real-time marketing, how are you defining it? How quick is real time to you?
Brier: If it’s older than three hours, it’s not real time. Being a real-time marketer is being relevant within the day. It means moving from that world where we had a 21-week cycle to make a television commercial into a world where we’re going to be closer to zero.
“If it’s older than three hours, it’s not real time. Being a real-time marketer is being relevant within the day.”
Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t. We work with clients who have an approval process that’s four weeks, others, four days, and some that don’t have an approval process at all, who don’t need to go through legal and can push things out in a moment. [Certain] structures within brand marketing need to change for a brand to be able to get to be real-time.
eMarketer: Do you think that the current model of developing creative for this is broken? Too slow?
Brier: The current model as it exists, which was primarily developed for creating offline traditional media creative, certainly doesn’t work. It requires rounds of approvals and “focus-grouping.”
Now, many people are thinking through different models for creating content in real time. It still involves a lot of people touching it and opinions. That’s all for a good cause because we want to make sure that we stay true to the brand and create content that’s relevant to the consumer. But a lot of it is vestigial to where we came from and not necessarily for the platforms themselves.
eMarketer: What are the key risks when developing creative in real time?
Brier: The most obvious risk, and what everyone is scared of, is when something goes out that wasn’t approved. Remember the Kenneth Cole incident a couple years ago, where they tweeted something offensive during the Egyptian uprising? That’s definitely the fear.
Whenever those things happen the whole industry backs away a little. All the sudden everybody puts their foot on the brake and says, “Whoa. How do we know that this won’t ever happen to us?” Those situations are inevitable, and the blips happen as anybody experiments with a new medium. We’re getting past the point where Facebook and Twitter and social in general are experimental.
“The most obvious risk, and what everyone is scared of, is when something goes out that wasn’t approved.”
eMarketer: What’s the advice you would give to brands as they consider whether it makes sense for them to speed up their creative process?
Brier: Real time is something that is happening. There’s not much of a choice. Right now, consumer attention is in social and it’s real-time.
Great content lives at the intersection of brand voice and cultural relevance, so it’s about how you’re putting systems in place to help understand what it really means to be culturally relevant. Also, how are you monitoring that all the time and how are you understanding what cultural relevance is right this minute? If you’re not ready to start creating real-time content, you should definitely be ready to start understanding real-time content.
Second, community management needs to be integrated more into the rest of the organization. For a long time, brands gave community management to the person who knew the most about Facebook or Twitter. We’re shifting away from that and we’re now saying, “Facebook is our most strategic digital asset. Maybe we should make sure that the community manager is aware of the strategic and business goals of the brand.”