Was Your Brand In The Dark When The Lights Went Out?

Was Your Brand In The Dark When The Lights Went Out? image Super Bowl XLVII 2013 300x300

Image courtesy of Forbes

For the marketers at Oreo, Tide, Walgreens and a small handful of others, it’s high-fives all around this week. These teams triumphed during the Super Bowl’s half-hour blackout, and they’ve been basking in non-stop press ever since. Why all the hoopla? Because this past Sunday night, these marketers proved what many of us have known for awhile: Old school marketing leaves your brand in the dark. Real-time engagement is what makes you shine.

I won’t rehash the stories behind the winning Tweets from Oreo, Tide, etc. –there are excellent recaps here, here and here –but let me underscore the point. These examples show brands can use real-time engagement to:

● Become relatable and connect with target audiences,

● Showcase creativity, compassion, humor, etc., and

● Extend their reach.

Related Resource from B2CWebcast: PR Hacking: How Ideas Spread And What Marketers Need to Know

Of course, real-time engagement like this is quite do-able if you happen to have a mission control team already assembled to create content and optimize it during an event as huge as the Super Bowl.

But, what if you don’t have a social media command center at your disposal? Fortunately, technology can help.

Analytics and marketing applications-oriented software companies are today providing new solutions that enable marketers to target communications based on behavioral patterns revealed in data from social networks, customer loyalty programs, call centers or transaction histories. These tools capture customer preferences and other information from, say, Facebook – including personal interests, “Likes” and friends – and automatically integrate it with virtually any other data set or preexisting cross-channel data, to deliver unprecedented levels of personalization — and ultimately a timely and positive brand experience.

But, even before deciding how to allocate marketing spend, even before adopting any kind of new technology, marketers will have to change their mindset.

Success today requires re-thinking outdated practices, and it requires re-inventing the customer experience. As Bill Lee who is president of the Customer Reference Forum, Executive Director of the Summit on Customer Engagement and author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers: Realizing the Untapped Value of Your Most Important Asset, advised readers here a few months ago, “You actually need to build an organization that creates happy customers who are delighted to advocate for you.”

Most of all, however, success depends on being agile and responsive –and by that I don’t mean being agile and responsive to whims or (only) once-in-a-Blue-Moon Super-Bowl-blackout-type events. I mean being agile and responsive to testing and data.

After all, at this point, the jury is still out on how all the engagement surrounding Oreo’s blackout Tweet will actually impact Oreo sales. But, we do know the customer experience overall can be directly related to revenue, and we do know that marketers who equip themselves with big data analytics will be able to better understand the impact of their efforts. Sure, real-time engagement may make you shine for a moment or two, but it’s these big data insights that will truly light the way.

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