Exploring the Shift From Content Marketing to Real-Time Marketing

Exploring the Shift From Content Marketing to Real-Time Marketing. The problem isn’t with the tavern’s technology: It has all the latest coolers. As the leader of a public relations agency, I’ve seen too many content marketing strategies out there continue to reflect the culture of a 30-minute beer when the market expects a two-minute beer. Writing about the trend in Harvard Business Review in 1995 — long before the emergence of social media — McKenna suggested that close communication between brands and their customers, driven by technology, could dramatically increase the pace at which new products are developed and radically improve their adoption. What’s lacking, rather, is management’s understanding — and more importantly, management’s commitment — to the power of real-time content marketing. It’s more useful to think of “real-time content marketing” as a strategy that’s based on getting useful information into the hands of customers — and prospective customers — before they even know they need it. That requires personalization in real time, or at least something close to real time. It requires delivery of personalized messages shaped to meet the needs of the customer, wherever in the customer lifecycle they may be. Most of all, this sort of effective real-time content marketing requires that the insightful content is delivered immediately — right at the time that customer or prospect is engaged with the brand. Instead, they stay close to customers in the moment, evolving with them and shaping messages based on the constant flow of feedback from the market.

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For the love of running (and beer)

Let’s say you walk into your favorite tavern and order a bottle
of your favorite craft beer. Almost by magic, an open bottle
appears before you — except it arrives 30 minutes after you placed
your order.

The problem isn’t with the tavern’s technology: It has all the
latest coolers. And the problem isn’t with the tavern’s supply
chain, either: Every few days, a big truck blocks traffic while a
guy wheels kegs of beer into the cooler.

The problem, instead, clearly rests with a management culture
that sees 30-minute deliveries to your table as acceptable — even
though you were expecting something more along the lines of two
minutes.

As the leader of a public relations agency, I’ve seen too many
content marketing strategies out there continue to reflect the
culture of a 30-minute beer when the market expects a two-minute
beer. We’re now more than two decades into the era defined by
Apple’s legendary marketing guru, Regis McKenna, as “real-time
marketing.”

What Is Real-Time Marketing?

Writing about the
trend in Harvard Business Review in 1995 — long before the
emergence of social media — McKenna suggested that close
communication between brands and their customers, driven by
technology, could dramatically increase the pace at which new
products are developed and radically improve their adoption.

Clearly, McKenna was right on the mark.

But, he added, continuous dialogue with customers, suppliers and
distributors would deliver on this promise only for organizations
willing to learn how to effectively use information technology and
think about their relationship with customers in new ways.

That’s the point where many content-marketing strategies remain
stuck in 30-minute Beer Land.

It’s not that we don’t have access to the technological tools
that are right for the job. From Facebook to Pinterest and
LinkedIn,…

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